Florida Cancer Network

University of Miami (UM)


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Stephan Schürer, PhD

Stephan Schürer, PhD is a Professor at the University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine, Associate Director of Data Science at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC), and Director of Digital Drug Discovery at the UM Institute for Data Science & Computing (IDSC). He has over 20 years of management experience in industry and academic institutions, and has served in leadership positions in several interdisciplinary geographically distributed research consortia. He has been serving as investigator in the national NIH Molecular Libraries Program (MLP) (de Souza et al. 2014; Austin et al. 2004), and as PI in the Library of Integrated Network- based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) (Evangelista et al. 2022; Pilarczyk et al. 2020; Shamsaei et al. 2020; Keenan et al. 2018), Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) (NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) 2022; Jagodnik et al. 2017), Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG) (Illuminating the Druggable Genome 2022; Sheils et al. 2021; Oprea et al. 2018A,B; Cannon et al. 2017; Nguyen et al. 2017), and Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) (NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) 2022; Sharkey et al. 2021). In these research consortia, he has been developing data standards (Vempati et al. 2014), ontologies such as BioAssay Ontology (BAO) (Abeyruwan et al. 2014; Visser et al. 2011) and Drug Target Ontology (DTO) (Lin et al. 2017), and informatics tools such as the LINCS Data Portal (LDP) (Koleti et al. 2018; Stathias et al. 2020) and metadata management infrastructure, tools and processes to support standardized formal descriptions, integration, and dissemination of digital resources (Stathias et al. 2018).

Recently, his group has been developing the Sylvester Data Portal (SDP) informatics platform, which is the foundation of this research infrastructure project. Schürer has worked with Dušica Vidović PhD for 15 years including in the MLP, LINCS, IDG and RADx programs. Dr. Vidović will support Schürer in managing and coordinating this project across the 6 sites. For the last 6 years, Schürer has worked with Vasileios Stathias PhD to develop the LDP, metadata management protocols, and various bioinformatics tools. Dr. Stathias is the product owner of the SDP, coordinating customer requirements, software engineering, bioinformatics processing pipelines and analysis tools, user interface design, and external data resources. In this project, Dr. Stathias will oversee the technical and scientific implementation of the PAC3R platform, working closely with Schürer. As PI of this project, Prof. Schürer will be responsible for the overall conduct, governance, and management of the project including scientific direction, technology development, ethical conduct of the project, data and software sharing, maintaining the highest standards and integrity of the performed work in the Florida CARES network, the PAC3R technology platform, presentations, progress reports, and publications. He will work closely with Dr. Kobetz, George Grills, and the other performance site PIs to advance the scientific and technology vision of the Florida CARES Network and the PAC3R technology platform.

George Grills

George Grills is Associate Director for Shared Resources at the SCCC at the University of Miami (UM). He oversees the Cancer Center’s research core facilities, to ensure that investigators have the cutting-edge technologies and services needed to catalyze basic, translational, clinical, and population science research. He is also the chair of the University Research Council (URC) Research Cores and Facilities Committee (RCFC), which includes all the research core facilities at UM. His responsibilities include driving improvements in research services, supporting the evaluation and implementation of new research technologies, and facilitating research rigor and reproducibility. He has extensive experience with translating research needs into strategic plans for research resources and ensuring their successful implementation. His primary responsibility in this project is in facilitating the development and implementation of the PAC3R platform and ensuring coordinated, multidisciplinary use of this infrastructure by the shared resources at the University of Miami as well as at collaborating institutions. Prior to his current position, Grills served as Assistant Dean for Research Resources at Weill Cornell Medicine, Director of Operations for Core Facilities in the Life Sciences at Cornell University, and Director of DNA Sequencing at the Genome Center of the Harvard Medical School-Partners Healthcare Center for Genetics and Genomics.

Erin Kobetz, Ph.D, MPH

Erin Kobetz, PhD, MPH serves in multiple roles at the University of Miami. As the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship, she works with University affiliates, community stakeholders, and industry partners to advance the University’s research enterprise, leading to scientific breakthroughs and research innovation that can effectively address societal challenges. As the Associate Director for Population Science and Cancer Disparity at the SCCC (Sylvester) and Chief of Population Health and Cancer Disparities for the UHealth Oncology Service Line, she facilitates the interdisciplinary integration of population science within the basic, translational, and clinical research conducted across the University, as well as Sylvester’s three research programs. She also oversees center-wide community outreach and engagement efforts, including working with Sylvester leadership to identify research priorities and setting the focus and direction of Sylvester’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. She leads programs that deliver Sylvester’s resources to communities across South Florida, including the Game Changer mobile clinics, which bring cancer screenings, health information, and research opportunities to undeserved communities and individuals to mitigate barriers to cancer screening. As part of her community – based research program, Dr. Kobetz has led several successful initiatives to reduce the disproportionate impact of gynecological cancers on minority and marginalized women, particularly the excess burden of cervical cancer within South Florida’s Haitian community. Most notably, she and her team were among the first to translate HPV self-sampling from a clinical to a community setting, eliminating multilevel barriers within communities disenfranchised from healthcare opportunity, to increase participation in cervical cancer screening. Dr. Kobetz will lead the integration of population-level data in SCAN360 with the PAC3R infrastructure to link data across molecular-, cell-, clinical-, and population-levels, enabling new directions in health disparities research and mitigation in Florida.

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