Medical Advisory Board

Suresh Chari,, MD, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Suresh Chari has been a member of our medical advisory board since 2016. Dr. Chari is a Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He is also a consultant in the Division of Gastroenterology. He is Head of the Pancreas Interest Group in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Dr. Chari has a broad interest in diseases of the pancreas and his NIH-funded research focuses on the role of diabetes and hyperglycemia as a marker of undiagnosed pancreatic cancer. Additional areas of clinical research involve understanding the clinical spectrum of autoimmune pancreatitis and he is also interested in cystic tumors of the pancreas including their classification, prevalence, and natural history. Dr. Chari received his medical degree from B.J. Medical College - University of Pune in India, and has completed residencies and fellowships at University of Delhi, India University Hospital of Heidelberg at Mannheim, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center and VA Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic.

Martin E. Fernandez-Zapico,, MD, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Fernandez-Zapico is a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic. His research program seeks to understand of the molecular mechanisms regulating pancreatic cancer, a devastating disease predicted to be the second cause of cancer death in 2030. His thematic interests include: (1) the discovery and characterization of new epigenetic pathways regulating pancreatic tumor microenvironment, in particular the inflammatory and pro-fibrogenic response within this cellular compartment; (2) define the role of nuclear organization in the aberrant activation of oncogenic gene expression and its impact in the development pancreatic cancer; and (3) identification of new transcriptional complexes mediating KRAS induced pancreatic carcinogenesis.

Dr. Fernandez-Zapico's program is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Department of Oncology, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and the Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the NIH-funded Mayo Clinic Pancreatic Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), the NIH-funded Mayo Clinic Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation.

Marcus S. Noel,, MD, James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute, University of Rochester Medical Center

Marcus S. Noel, MD is a medical oncologist at the Wilmot Cancer Institute in Rochester, NY. He received his bachelor of arts in biology from Case Western Reserve University and Medical Degree from Rutgers Medical School formerly Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency and Oncology Fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2013. He specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, and has a research focus in novel drug development for upper gastrointestinal cancers.

Paul E. Oberstein,, MD, MS, Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health

Dr. Paul Oberstein is Director of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Assistant Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center in the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health.

His practice is focused on the management and treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies with a primary focus on pancreatic cancer. His research focus is on developing novel therapeutics and he leads clinical trial efforts in the GI group at the Perlmutter Cancer Center. Dr. Oberstein has designed and initiated innovative translational and clinical trials including studies evaluating the impact of epithelial-stromal interactions in pancreatic cancer. This work, as well as ongoing studies of tumor cachexia, have been funded by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the NCI.

Susan O’Brien,, MD, UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Susan O’Brien, MD is Associate Director for Clinical Science for the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical Director of the Sue and Ralph Stern Center for Cancer Clinical Trials and Research, and the Chao Family Endowed Chair for Cancer Clinical Science at the University of California Irvine. She earned her medical degree and completed her residency in internal medicine from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Medical School. Dr. O’Brien completed her fellowship and spent 30 years at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

Dr. O’Brien has been principal investigator for more than 40 funded clinical research protocols and has authored more than 800 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 30 invited articles, and numerous book chapters and abstracts. She is the hematology representative to the Southwest Oncology Group Executive Committee, and the Hematology Editor for the journal Cancer. She serves on the Medical Scientific Advisory Board for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Year after year, she has been repeatedly ranked nationally as top in her field by America’s Top Doctors, Super Docs, and America’s Top Doctors for Cancer.

Allyson J. Ocean,, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

Allyson J. Ocean, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, medical oncologist and attending physician in gastrointestinal oncology, Solid Tumor Division, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and practices medical oncology at The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health. Board certified in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology, Dr. Ocean’s primary interest is in the biology and treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies. She has published numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, and abstracts and is an active member of several professional societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team. Dr. Ocean is currently leading numerous clinical trials investigating radiolabeled antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, oncolytic viruses, and targeted therapies in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Ocean is a co-founder and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Let’s Win Pancreatic Cancer (, a unique digital platform and crowdsourcing organization to deliver up-to-date, science-driven treatment information. Dr. Ocean is a co-founder and Medical Advisory Board Chair of Michael’s Mission (, a non-profit focused on improving quality of life for colorectal cancer patients through research, education and patient support.

Vincent J. Picozzi,, MD, MMM, Virginia Mason Medical Center

Dr. Vincent J Picozzi, MD MMM is Director for the Pancreas Center of Excellence, Virginia Mason Digestive Disease and Cancer Institutes, Virginia Mason Medical Center. A summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Yale University, Dr. Picozzi obtained his MD degree from Stanford University, did his internship and residency at Harvard University (Brigham and Women’s Hospital), and fellowships in hematology and oncology again at Stanford. He also holds a Master’s degree in Medical Management, Delta Omega, from Tulane University. Dr. Picozzi was an instructor in hematology and oncology at Stanford for two years before joining Virginia Mason, where he has been for the past 31 years. Dr. Picozzi has one of the largest pancreaticobiliary oncology practices in the United States. He has received numerous accolades as a clinician, including designation as one of Seattle’s Best Doctors and one of America’s Top Cancer Doctors for the last eleven consecutive years (2008-2018). He also directs an active, comprehensive clinical and translational research program in pancreaticobiliary cancer at Virginia Mason, and has published over 100 papers and abstracts. Dr. Picozzi is currently serving on the educational committees for the GI Oncology Symposium and ASCO for non-colorectal cancers, and served as Educational Chair for both in 2016. He has been a featured speaker at virtually every major clinical oncologic meeting in the United States, including ASCO (the American Society of Clinical Oncology), ASH (the American Society of Hematology), ASTRO (the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology), Digestive Diseases Week, AHPBA (The American HepatoPancreaticobiliary Association), ACOS (the American College of Surgeons), the Best of ASCO, the GI Oncology Symposium and the World Pancreas Symposium. Dr. Picozzi also has held a number of leadership positions with national and regional organizations, including ASCO, ASH, the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG), the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network where he is a past chairman and current board member for the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board chairing Clinical Initiatives, the Pancreas Cancer Research Team (PCRT-Executive Committee), and the Providence Hospice of Seattle (Executive Board). He also has proudly served on the Executive Board of the Washington State Medical Oncology Society since its inception 25 years ago, twice serving as president. Recently, Dr. Picozzi was named national clinical chairman and co-principal investigator of the new Precision Promise Clinical Research Consortium sponsored by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Diane Simeone,, MD, Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health

Dr. Diane Simeone is the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Surgery and Pathology at New York University and the Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center. She also serves as the Associate Director for Translational Research for the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU. An internationally renowned pancreatic surgeon and researcher with a long-standing career focus on the treatment of pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cystic tumors, she has performed over 1000 pancreatic resections using state-of-the art techniques. She has been an innovator in the development of therapeutic clinical trials for pancreatic cancer, and along with her team runs a large clinical research program dedicated to developing an early detection blood test for pancreatic cancer. She has been the recipient of numerous NIH grants (multiple R01s, U01, P50) investigating the molecular mechanisms driving pancreatic metastasis and the development of novel, more effective therapeutic strategies to treat pancreatic cancer patients. She is currently the principal investigator of Precision Promise, an exciting new national clinical trials consortium focused on next-generation clinical trials for patients with pancreatic cancer. Dr. Simeone has published more than 184 studies in leading peer-reviewed journals and currently serves as the chair of the scientific and medical advisory board of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and is a member of the scientific advisory board for Let’s Win (Sharing Science Solutions for Pancreatic Cancer). She has previously served as the president of the Society of University Surgeons and the American Pancreatic Association. Dr. Simeone is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Cancer Institute’s Pancreatic Cancer Task Force.

Andrea Wang-Gillam,, MD, PhD

Dr. Wang-Gillam is a medical oncologist and physician-scientist focusing on clinical and translational research in pancreatic cancer. Her research passion is fueled by the fact that pancreatic cancer patients have a very low life expectancy due to lack of early detection and effective treatments. One of Dr. Wang-Gillam's research interests is to translate preclinical discoveries into clinical settings by designing and conducting hypothesis-driven trials. Dr. Wang-Gillam is the principal investigator (PI) of multiple clinical trials in pancreatic cancers. In addition, her laboratory has been investigating the therapeutic potentials of various downstream effectors of the KRAS, the key oncogenic driver for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.