Our Team - Leadership

Leadership

Gary K. Schwartz, MD
Contact Principal Investigator

Dr. Schwartz oversees the NCORP program, setting priorities for clinical trials, promoting and tracking research, coordinating with the Community Outreach board, as well as with scientific advisors and cooperative group investigators. He is Professor of Medicine and current Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology and Associate Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University School of Medicine. He is a recognized leader in the field of translational research and has been able to bridge the clinical and basic science elements of drug development. Previously he was an Attending Physician and Member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Chief of the Melanoma Sarcoma Oncology Service.  At MSKCC, he also directed the Jennifer Goodman Linn Laboratory of New Drug Development in Sarcoma and Orphan Cancers.  

Dr. Schwartz has successfully translated his preclinical discoveries into cancer therapy using cell cycle inhibitors.  The Principal Investigator on a series of phase I and II trials based on his laboratory studies, he has developed cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors with chemotherapy, evaluated combinations of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors of IGF-1R and PDGFR with inhibitors of mTOR in sarcomas, and developed the sphingosine kinase inhibitor safingol with cisplatin, as well as the botanical herb huanglian.  He has also developed imatinib for the treatment of patients with c-kit mutant melanomas.

In addition, Dr. Schwartz has been the PI on multiple CTEP studies in sarcoma, involving large group trials with 19 cancer centers from across the United States.   In 2000 and 2006 respectively, he received NCI K24 and K12 Clinical Oncology Research Career Development Awards to mentor of medical trainees in translational research.  Dr. Schwartz has served on numerous committees for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association of Cancer Research and for the NCI including the NExT committee established to assist the NCI in identifying new agents for drug development.  He is currently co-Chair of the Experimental Therapeutic Committee of the Alliance and has authored or co-authored close to 200 manuscripts in basic and clinical cancer research.

 Andrew B. Lassman, MD
Principal Director, Clinical Protocol and Data Management Office

Dr. Lassman oversees the staff, budget, strategic planning, and quality assurance for the clinical trial infrastructure that supports NCORP. Currently he is the John Harris Associate Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Neuro-Oncology Division in the Department of Neurology at CUMC/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. An internationally recognized brain tumor specialist and translational research investigator, Dr. Lassman came to Columbia in 2012 after 10 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, assuming the role of Medical Director of the Clinical Protocol and Data Management Office for the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2013, he was named Co-principal investigator of the minority-based clinical trials program at Columbia.

Alfred Neugut, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator, Cancer Care Delivery Research

Dr. Neugut works with Drs. Lassman to prioritize research and provide oversight for clinical investigators. He has been on the faculty at CUMC since 1983, and is now Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Myron M. Studner Professor of Cancer Research. As Associate Director for Population Sciences at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, he leads research programs in cancer epidemiology and prevention, and studies disparities in cancer treatment for racial minorities and the elderly. The author of more than 400 publications in peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Neugut is internationally recognized for his contributions to cancer prevention and was the first to recommend colonoscopy screening for average-risk adults. His research now focuses on quality of care for cancer patients and how it can be improved. He has served as president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology and led major cooperative grants. The first recipient of the NCI K05 Senior Scientist Award, Dr. Neugut also plays a major role in training and mentoring researchers at CUMC.

Melissa Beauchemin, NP, MSN
Program Administrator

Melissa Beauchemin started her career as a bedside nurse working with children receiving bone marrow transplants and with other oncology patients at CUMC. After completing her master's in nursing in 2010, she served as a Research Nurse Practitioner for the Pediatric Leukemia and Lymphoma program. As she grew more involved in supportive care studies, she became the CUMC individual responsible for Cancer Control Studies within the Children's Oncology Group. Beauchemin has also helped spearhead quality initiatives within the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation to improve outcomes for pediatric patients, reducing the time to administer antibiotics in febrile oncology patients, and increasing the overall influenza vaccination rate for children with cancer.