2020 Symposium Faculty

Ghaith Abu-Zeinah, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

Dr. Abu-Zeinah is an instructor in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and an Assistant Attending Physician at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Abu-Zeinah earned his M.D. with academic distinction from the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in 2013. He completed his residency training in Internal Medicine (2016) and fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology (2019) at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

Dr. Abu-Zeinah is a hematologist and oncologist with a specialty practice in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). His laboratory and clinical research is focused on identifying and developing therapies that target the malignant stem cells in patients with MPN. He received several awards for his work and presented at national conferences including the International Congress on Myeloproliferative Neoplasms and the American Society of Hematology. He has joined the Richard T Silver MPN Center as a physician-scientist, both treating patients and conducting resea

Hans Hasselbalch, MD, PhD, Roskilde Hospital, Roskilde, Denmark

Dr. Hasselbalch is Consultant Hematologist at the Department of Hematology, Roskilde Hospital, University of Copenhagen. His main research projects are integrated molecular and immune cell studies in MPN patients before and during treatment with pegylated interferon-alpha2 (IFN) and novel targeted therapies, including the JAK1-2 inhibitor ruxolitinib.  Prof. Hasselbalch is Principal Investigator on a Danish multi-center study on low-dose IFN in the treatment of MPNs (DALIAH). In 2012, Hasselbalch published his hypothesis on chronic inflammation as the trigger and driver of clonal evolution, premature atherosclerosis and second cancers in MPNs.

Hasselbalch’s hypothesis prompted a Danish multi-center trial, the COMBI-Trial, in which patients with polycythemia vera (PV) and hyperproliferative myelofibrosis (MF) are treated with a combination of IFN and ruxolitinib. The preliminary results were published in Cancer Medicine and have opened the avenue of a recently launched COMBI II Trial in newly diagnosed PV patients.  He and his team are currently conducting the first vaccination trial in CALR mutated patients and will soon launch another trial using immune therapy in patients with MPNs. Most recently, in a large general population study, they have screened for the JAK2V617F and CALR mutations, showing that MPNs are underdiagnosed. They envisage that screening target populations at risk of having MPNs may reveal a large number of patients, thereby integrating preventive MPN-medicine in these patients’ future care.  

Ronald Hoffman, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY

Dr. Hoffman is Director of the Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Research Consortium at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Hoffman is also the Albert A. and Vera G. List Professor of Medicine at the Tisch Cancer Institute.  His research and clinical work concentrateson diagnosing and treating patients with MPN. In addition to his extensive history of stem cell lab-based research and as a physician who actively provides care to MPN patients, Dr. Hoffman has held the position of President for the American Society of Hematology and The International Society of Experimental Hematology. He was awarded the 2017 American Society of Hematology Mentor Award for his continuous efforts in mentoring medical hematology/oncology fellows, Assistant Professors and colleagues as they advance in the field of MPN and hematological malignancies. Furthermore, he has co-authored the textbook, Hematology Basic Principles and Practice, as well as numerous publications on MPN, thrombocytosis, myelofibrosis, and safety and efficacy of medications for MPN.    

Ellen Ritchie, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

Dr. Ritchie is assistant professor of medicine and a member of the Leukemia Program at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University and the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Ritchie graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University and received her medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City. She was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia campus. Dr. Ritchie completed her fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia campus. Dr. Ritchie’s research interests are in the treatment of older patients with anemia, cytopenias, myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative disorders and acute leukemia. She is interested in finding better therapies and supportive care strategies for older patients. Dr. Ritchie is the principal investigator on clinical trials investigating new diagnostic techniques, supportive care strategies and therapeutics aimed at the older patient. She collaborates with investigators in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology. She has been the author or co-author of many publications. She is interested in improving the medical care of older patients with hematologic malignancies.

Joseph M. Scandura, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

Dr. Scandura received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell Ithaca in 1987, and an MS in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He completed the MD/PhD program in Biochemistry at Temple University in 1997. His doctoral work investigating critical interactions between platelets and coagulation factors led to three first-authored papers in Biochemistry.

Following his residency in internal medicine-research track at Weill Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital from 1997-1999, Dr. Scandura did a Fellowship in Medical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from 1999-2003. Dr. Scandura was appointed Instructor on the Leukemia Service at Memorial in 2003, and an Instructor in Clinical Medicine at Weill Medical College in 2004. He served as an inpatient attending on the Memorial Leukemia Service and outpatient Leukemia Clinic.

In 2006, Dr. Scandura joined the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Weill/Cornell to serve in the Leukemia Program. He is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Physician at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Scandura contributes as attending physician on the inpatient clinical services for the Division and as covering physician for the Hematology/Oncology inpatients. He also maintains an ambulatory clinic in the Leukemia and Myclodysplastic Syndromes Program in the outpatient department of the Division. Working collaboratively with other faculty members of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, he is helping to develop both sponsored research activities and the Leukemia Program.

Andrew I. Schafer, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

Dr. Schafer received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Chicago, and his fellowship in hematology at the Brigham and Women’s  Hospital. He was Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School before moving to Houston in 1989 to become Chief of Medicine of the Houston VA Medical Center and the W.A. and Deborah Moncrief, Jr. Chair of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, where he was subsequently appointed The Bob and Vivian Smith Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Baylor as well as Chief of Medicine at The Methodist Hospital. In 2002 he was appointed the Frank Wister Thomas Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2007-2013 he was the E. Hugh Luckey Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Schafer was appointed to his current position as Director of the Richard T. Silver Center for MPNs at Weill Cornell Medicine in 2013.  

His clinical expertise is in the area of hematology, coagulation, thrombosis, and the MPNs, and he has been clinically active in both outpatient and inpatient care on a continuous basis since his training.  He is currently studying the role of different blood cells and plasma proteins in the cerebral microcirculation of transgenic mice with MPNs, using novel imaging methodologies.  In addition to serving as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the MPN Research Foundation, he is currently Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Richard T. Silver, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY

Dr. Silver is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and an attending physician at The New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is also the Emeritus Director, Richard T Silver Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Center, Weill Cornell Medical College. He received his AB and his MD degree from Cornell University and completed an internship and residency (hematology/oncology) at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He also was a Clinical Associate at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. As a Visiting Fulbright Professor at the University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil, Dr. Silver helped establish a residency program, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. His research included the study of blood groups of the primitive Indians of the Upper Xingu River region, which led to his discovery of the third allele in the Kidd blood subgroup, among other findings.

Dr. Silver is internationally recognized as one of the pioneers in clinical cancer chemotherapy and clinical and translational investigations in the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and chronic myeloid leukemia. He is particularly known for the broad clinical application of the interferons for treating these diseases and is widely credited with developing and popularizing the use of the bone marrow biopsy technique used worldwide for the diagnosis of hematologic disorders.

He is a prolific author and lecturer at many national and international meetings and has held many distinguished visiting professorships. He has co-chaired 12 international congresses on MPNs. His many honors include the Career Achievement Award for Clinical Research in Hematology from Celgene Corporation; Gedalio and Sonia Grinberg/Nathaniel Wisch, MD, Endowed Visiting Lectureship Award, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; the European Leukemia Net Merit Award; the Levine Cancer Institute/University of North Carolina, Charlotte Outstanding Achievement Award; and Honorary Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Israeli Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Richard T Silver Distinguished Professor of Hematology and Oncology and the Richard T Silver MPN Center at Weill Cornell Medical College have been named in recognition of his contributions to the understanding and treatment of MPNs.