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Program Leadership

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EZRA COHEN, MD

Professor of Medicine
Associate Director, Translational Science
Chief of Division of Hematology-Oncology
Moores Cancer Center

Phone: 858-822-5800
Email: ecohen@health.ucsd.edu

EZRA COHEN, MD

Dr. Ezra Cohen is co-Director of the San Diego Center for Precision Immunotherapy and an internationally renowned translational researcher. Dr. Cohen is Associate Director for Translational Science and leader of the Solid Tumor Therapeutics research program at Moores Cancer Center. He brings his expertise and preeminent reputation in head and neck cancer research and patient care to solid tumor therapeutics. Among other roles, he is chair of the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee (PRMC) and serves as a member of the Cancer Council, and the Cancer Center’s Executive Committee. Prior to joining UCSD, Dr. Cohen was at University of Chicago where he was Director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship; Associate Director for Training and Education for the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Chair of the NCI Head and Neck Cancer Steering Committee. Dr. Cohen recently served as editor-in-chief of Oral Oncology, the highest impact specialty journal in head and neck cancer, and has recently chaired two Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposia—the largest international meeting of its kind—sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Head and Neck Society. He has been the principal investigator on multiple studies of novel agents in head and neck cancer and other solid tumors in all phases of development including chemoprevention, phase I, II, and III trials. Dr. Cohen has authored more than 170 papers and has presented his research at national and international meetings. In addition, he has served as a grant reviewer for the NIH, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

ACADEMIC PROFILE

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JUDITH VARNER, PHD

Professor, Pathology and Medicine
Director, Faculty Mentoring for the Department of Pathology

Phone: 858-822-2703
Email: jvarner@health.ucsd.edu

JUDITH VARNER, PHD

Dr. Judith Varner, is Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, Director of Faculty Mentoring for the Department of Pathology and co-Leader of the Solid Tumor Therapeutics program in the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. She joined the Department of Medicine in 1997 and the Department of Pathology in 2012. Dr. Varner received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Duke University, where she was an A.B. Duke and National Merit Scholar, and received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where she was a Fulbright Fellow. Prior to coming to UCSD, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied integrin signaling in cancer. As a member of Moores Cancer Center, her research has focused on mechanisms regulating the tumor microenvironment and inflammation in cancer. Her work, which appears in journals that include Cancer Cell, Nature, Nature Communications and Cancer Discovery, has identified novel mechanisms by which macrophages promote tumor growth and has developed new approaches to treat cancer patients by targeting tumor macrophage signal transduction, with a focus on inhibition of PI3Kinase gamma. The novel therapeutic eganelisib (IPI-549) was developed by Infinity Pharmaceuticals in conjunction with the Varner lab and is currently in testing in five Phase II clinical trials as an immune/oncology agent for cancer therapy. Dr. Varner is a recipient of the V Foundation Award for Translational Research, the AACR-Landon Foundation Innovator Award for International Collaboration and the Lustgarten Foundation Innovator Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research for her work on immune oncology therapeutics. Dr. Varner is active in the American Association for Cancer Research and the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer. 

ACADEMIC PROFILE