Innovators in AYA Cancer Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Portrait of Theresa Beech

Theresa Beech
President and co-founder, Osteosarcoma Collaborative 
President and co-founder, Because of Daniel

Theresa Beech is the mother of two kids, Daniel and Sara. When Daniel was 11, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an extremely aggressive and deadly form of bone cancer. Two years later he was dead. While Daniel was on hospice, Theresa taught herself genomics and started doing research into osteosarcoma genetics. She was able to identify two drugs which corresponded to mutations in Daniel’s tumor and prolonged his life. Since Daniel’s death on August 28, 2016, she has continued her patient advocacy and genomics research and is the Principal Investigator of POWR, the Patient/parent Osteosarcoma genome-Wide Registry, believed to be the largest genomic and medical history registry of osteosarcoma data in the world. She has presented her research findings at numerous scientific conferences in the US and internationally, and has been invited to speak at a variety of forums. A TV long-story on Daniel and her work won the prestigious 2018 June L. Biedler Award for TV journalism. This year, she started a closed Facebook group called the Osteosarcoma Information Group to provide scientific and medical information and explanations to osteosarcoma patients and their families. Today, there are well over 500 members and doctors and researchers are now joining the group as well. She is the founder and President of “Because of Daniel”, a charitable foundation dedicated to osteosarcoma research and clinical trials. She is also a co-founder and the President of the Osteosarcoma Collaborative, a charitable foundation dedicated to promoting collaboration in osteosarcoma. In her day job, Theresa is a space engineer (aka rocket scientist) for NASA.


Portrait of Elana Simon in lab

Elana Simon
Machine Learning Engineer, Reverie Labs
Teen cancer survivor

Elana Simon is a recent college graduate who researches fibrolamellar liver cancer. She is also a teen cancer survivor. 

Elana was an invited speaker at the Vatican International Cancer Conference in Rome, where she received a Pontifical Hero award from Pope Francis and introduced Vice President Biden before his speech about the cancer "moonshot" program. She participated in the 2014 White House Science Fair, and the 2016 White House Science Fair, both hosted by President Obama.

Named the inaugural winner of the Young Champion in Cancer Research award, a Davidson Institute Fellow, and a US News Next Generation of STEM honoree, Elana was the first author of a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and a co-first author of an article in Science magazine  (Editors' choice, Clinical Research Forum Achievement Award). At Google Accelerated Science, she used machine intelligence to advance methods of therapeutic drug discovery.

Portrait of Sanford Simon from Rockefeller University

Sanford Simon, PhD
Professor, Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics
The Rockefeller University

Professor Sanford M. Simon is head of Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics at The Rockefeller University, New York. A main focus of the Simon lab is studying pediatric cancer, studying how individual genomic changes in a single cell results in transformation. The work focuses on a usually lethal pediatric liver cancer, fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, identifying the alterations in the genome responsible for tumorigenesis, characterizing the molecular pathology, identifying potential therapeutics, and designing clinical trials.

In addition, Dr. Simon develops new technologies that can improve the spatial or temporal resolution of images obtained through microscopes and other modalities using imaging techniques and other tools to examine individual events in the living cell or animals. This includes studying how proteins cross membranes, how bacterial toxins are secreted, how viruses, such as HIV-1 assemble and the functioning of the nuclear pore complex.

Program Speakers

Julia Glade Bender, MD
Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Pediatrics
Member, Sarcoma Service, MSK Kids
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Michael Dunphy
Senior Manager, Count Me In
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Michael Egge, JD
Founding Member, Counsel and Patient Advocate, Osteosarcoma Collaborative
Managing Partner, Latham & Watkins

David Freyer, DO, MS
Director, Survivorship and Supportive Care Program, Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Professor, Clinical Pediatrics and Medicine
Co-Medical Director, Adolescent and Young Adult Program
University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Mark Kieran, MD, PhD
Pediatric Clinical Trial Lead
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Danielle Leach, MPA
Chief, Community and Government Relations
National Brain Tumor Society

David Loeb, MD, PhD
Professor, Pediatrics, Developmental & Molecular Biology
Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Nicola Mason, PhD, DACVIM
Paul A. James and Charles A. Gilmore Endowed Chair Professorship
Associate Professor of Medicine
PennVet Cancer Center
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Susan K. Parsons, MD, MRP
Founding Director, Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adult Program for Cancer and Hereditary Blood Diseases
Director, The Center for Health Solutions at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies
Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Tufts Medical Center

Peter Scacheri, PhD
Professor, Genetics and Genome Sciences
Member, GI Cancer Genetics Program, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Jacob Scott, MD, DPhil
Associate Staff, Translational Hematology and Oncology Research and Radiation Oncology
Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute
Member, Developmental Therapeutics Program, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

Jason Yustein, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology
Co-Associate Director of Education, Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, Faris D. Varani Ewing Sarcoma Center, Texas Children's Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine