scientific advisory board
Keith L. Black, M.D.
Dr. Black is Chairman of our Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Black serves as Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. An internationally renowned neurosurgeon and scientist, Dr. Black joined Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in July 1997 and was awarded the Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neurosciences in November of that year. Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Black served on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) faculty for 10 years where he was a Professor of Neurosurgery. In 1992 he was awarded the Ruth and Raymond Stotter Chair in the Department of Surgery and was Head of the UCLA Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program. Dr. Black serves on the editorial boards of Neurological Research, Gene Therapy and Molecular Biology, Neurosurgery Quarterly and Frontiers In Bioscience. He was on the National Institutes of Health's Board of Scientific Counselors for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and was appointed to the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council of the National Institutes of Health from 2000 to 2004. He was also selected as a committee member of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Independent Citizens Oversight Committee from 2004-2006.
Dr. Black pioneered research on designing ways to open the blood-brain barrier, enabling chemotherapeutic drugs to be delivered directly into the tumor for which he received the Jacob Javits award from the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council of the National Institutes of Health in June 2000. Other groundbreaking research done by Dr. Black focused on developing a vaccine to enhance the body's immune response to brain tumors, use of gene arrays to develop molecular profiles of tumors, the use of optical technology for brain mapping, and the use of focused microwave energy to noninvasively destroy brain tumors.
Dr. Black has published extensively and has five patents issued or pending. Dr. Black was featured on the cover of Time magazine in the Fall 1997 special edition "Heroes of Medicine" and was profiled in 1996 on the PBS program, The New Explorers, in an episode called "Outsmarting the Brain."
John Boockvar, M.D.
Dr. John Boockvar is Co-Director of the Brain and Spinal Tumor Program at Weill Cornell Medical College and is Co-Director of Surgical Neurooncology at Weill Cornell. Dr. Boockvar heads the Brain Tumor and Stem Cell Research Laboratory and directs the institution's Brain Tumor Research Group. Dr. Boockvar's laboratory interests have focused on studying brain tumor formation and brain tumor and stem cell survival, and he has a particular interest in improving how drugs are delivered to the brain and spinal cord. Dr. Boockvar's laboratory is funded by the National Cancer Institute. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Current Stem Cell Research and Therapy and is an editorial board member of the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, Journal of Neurosurgery, and Recent Patents on Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery, and is an ad-hoc reviewer for Neurosurgery, Brain Research and Human Gene Therapy.
He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Joint Section of Brain Tumors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons and was recently appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neurooncology. He also serves as a Scientific Program Committee member for the Society of Neurooncology. Dr. Boockvar received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.D. from SUNY Brooklyn-Downstate Medical Center, and did his surgical internship and neurosurgical residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Boockvar did specialized NIH/National Cancer Institute supported fellowship training in Neuro-oncology (Brain and Spinal Tumors) at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center.
Peter Brooks, Ph.D.
Dr. Peter Brooks recently joined the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, where he is focused on studying mechanisms that regulate angiogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis. Prior to joining that Institute, Dr. Brooks served as associate professor and director of Angiogenesis and Radiation Research at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. Before his association with NYU, Dr. Brooks was an assistant professor at the USC School of Medicine, during which time he also co-founded Cell Matrix Incorporated, a biotechnology company focused on anti-angiogenic drugs targeting cryptic ECM epitopes. Dr. Brooks' studies have led to a recent clinical trial to evaluate the effects of D93, a humanized antibody directed to a cryptic collagen epitope for the treatment of malignant tumors. Dr. Brooks obtained his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Cohava Gelber, Ph.D.
Dr. Gelber is President and Chief Executive Officer, Caerus Discovery, LLC., a monoclonal antibody company. Her professional career spans the areas of infectious disease, immunology, molecular biology and vaccines. Prior to Caerus, she was Chief Scientific and Technology Officer of ATCC, which she joined after serving as Vice President, Research and Development for MannKind Corp., where she was responsible for nonclinical development and clinical immune safety of drugs from pre-IND through phase III clinical trials. Dr. Gelber received her PhD from the Weizmann Institute, her MBA degree from Cornell University and post-doctoral training at Stanford University. She has published numerous scientific manuscripts and textbook chapters and is the inventor of 12 granted patents and 56 patent applications. Dr. Gelber is an inventor of several monoclonal antibodies that ImmunoCellular is developing, including ICT-69 and ICT-109.
Sherie Morrison, Ph.D.
Dr. Sherie Morrison is a distinguished professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Morrison joined the faculty of UCLA in 1988 and acted as department chair for 10 years. Prior to that, Dr. Morrison served as professor in the Department of Microbiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, which followed various post-doctoral fellowships at Columbia University, University of California, Berkeley and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her long-time research interest has been the functional properties of antibodies and novel antibody-related proteins, and she is well published in this area. Dr. Morrison holds Ph.D. and B.A. degrees from Stanford University.
George Peoples, MD
Dr. Peoples is the Director of the Cancer Vaccine Development Program and Deputy Director of the United States Military Cancer Institute. Prior to being appointed to that position, Dr. Peoples held positions as Chief of Surgical Oncology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Director of the Cancer Vaccine Developmental Laboratory. He received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine prior to receiving surgical training at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was also a research fellow. In addition to his appointments at some of the military’s most prestigious cancer research institutions, Dr. Peoples has significant research experience in the oncology field, with multiple peer-reviewed publications to his credit, including co-discovery credits on HER2/neu vaccines and a number of other anticancer vaccines from his time at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he completed training in surgical oncology.
Zvi Ram, M.D.
Prof. Zvi Ram serves as the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Tel Aviv Medical Center in Israel. After completion of his neurosurgical residency at Sheba Medical Center in Israel in 1991, Prof. Ram had joined the Surgical Neurology Branch at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, where he led a variety of basic and clinical research projects, including paving the way and leading the first gene therapy trial for patients with brain tumors, as well as other innovative approaches for brain tumor therapy. Upon his return to Israel in 1994, Prof. Ram has launched an active clinical and academic career with emphasis on brain tumor therapy, pituitary surgery, and technology development projects with various companies, including the development and implementation of intraoperative MRI technology, High-Intensity Focused MRI-guided ultrasound for tumor ablation, spectroscopic brain mapping, novel drug distribution systems, and the use and modeling of convection-enhanced drug delivery systems.
Prof. Ram is the Chairman of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) Neurooncology Committee, member of the Executive committee of the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors, member of several Steering Committees and lead PI for various pharmaceuticals companies conducting multicenter international phase III clinical studies, scientific advisor for biotechnology groups, and a member of editorial boards and reviewer for leading scientific journals in his areas of expertise.
Prof. Ram's main clinical interests include surgery for complex brain tumors, including performance of Awake Craniotomies with intra-operative cortical mapping and white matter tracking when tumors are within or near functional brain regions, resection of pituitary tumors and complex benign tumors of the brain.