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World-Leading Tumor Immunologists Nina Bhardwaj and Elizabeth Jaffee Appointed Associate Directors of the Cancer Research Institute Scientific Advisory Council

Cancer Vaccine Experts Join Other World-Renowned Immunotherapy Leaders at CRI to Advance Novel Immuno-Oncology Research Worldwide

NEW YORK – February 1, 2023 – The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), the world’s first nonprofit dedicated to advancing the science of tumor immunology to discover and develop powerful immunotherapies for all cancers, announced today that two members of its Scientific Advisory Council (SAC), Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, and Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, of The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, have been appointed SAC associate directors, joining other leading luminaries in the fields of immunology and cancer immunotherapy. Both pioneers in the development of cellular therapies and therapeutic cancer vaccines, Drs. Bhardwaj and Jaffee will advise CRI on key matters involving the organization’s overall research strategy and program evolution.

“Drs. Bhardwaj and Jaffee have long been very active members of the CRI Network of scientists as advisors, funded grantees, fellowship sponsors, and speakers at scientific conferences and immunotherapy patient summits, both giving generously of their time and expertise to advance CRI’s mission to save more lives with immunotherapy for all cancers, and their appointment to associate directors of CRI’s prestigious Scientific Advisory Council is well-deserved and is certain to serve the organization and the field well,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute.

Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and urology, director of Immunotherapy, medical director of the Vaccine and Cell Therapy Laboratory, and co-director of the Cancer Immunology Program at The Tisch Cancer Institute as well as a faculty member of the Icahn Genomics Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she holds the Ward Coleman Chair in Cancer Research.

Dr. Bhardwaj has made numerous seminal contributions to human dendritic cell biology, specifically with respect to their isolation, subset discovery, immunobiology, and antigen-presenting function as well as the use of vaccine adjuvants in human patients. Dr. Bhardwaj developed Toll-like receptor agonist- and dendritic cell-based vaccines for the treatment of cancer and infection and has pioneered neoantigen vaccine studies. Named one of Scientific American’s “Top 50 Researchers,” Dr. Bhardwaj has received numerous awards including the Award for Medical Research in 2004 and the Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology from the Cancer Research Institute in 2015. She has been the recipient of multiple CRI grants, with CRI providing substantial support to Dr. Bhardwaj and her laboratory for many years, dating back to her first CRI award as a postdoctoral fellow in 1985. She joined the CRI Scientific Advisory Council in 2013 and sits on various grant review committees.

“CRI has led the effort to transform cancer care for many decades through its support of novel and emerging technologies in cancer immunotherapy,” said Dr. Bhardwaj. “I am honored to be appointed to the CRI Scientific Advisory Council as an associate director and to have the opportunity to engage in furthering its scientific and clinical trajectory in the coming years.”

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, is the deputy director of The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins; the Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Professor of Oncology; co-director of the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care; deputy director of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Research; co-director of the Immunology Cancer Program; associate director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy; and a professor of oncology and pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is an international leader in the development of immune-based therapies for pancreatic and breast cancers.

Dr. Jaffee’s research is focused on the development of novel vaccine approaches that overcome immune tolerance to cancers. She has completed multiple studies testing an allogeneic tumor vaccine in pancreatic cancer patients, demonstrating the safety of the vaccine and identifying a dose that appears to stimulate immune activation associated with improved disease-free survival in these patients. She is also exploring genomic and proteomic methods for identifying new pathways and biomarkers associated with the development and progression of pancreatic cancers. CRI provided support to Dr. Jaffee in 2002 and again in 2015. In 2019, she received the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, CRI’s highest scientific honor. She joined the CRI Scientific Advisory Council in 2013 and is active in several CRI grant review committees.

“I have had the honor to work with CRI for years in many capacities, an organization that has developed generations of cancer immunologists through early career, innovation, and clinical research grant funding, all of which has had real benefits for patients with cancer,” said Dr. Jaffee. “I am honored to work with the CRI leadership to help continue CRI’s important mission to transform cancer care with immunotherapy and improve the lives of all patients with cancer.”

“We are extremely pleased to have these two phenomenal physician-scientists who have extensive records of contributions to the development of our field join the CRI Scientific Advisory Council,” said James P. Allison, PhD, director of the CRI Scientific Advisory Council and 2018 Nobel Laureate. “Both have been involved in CRI activities over the years, and we look forward to working with them to keep CRI the leader in tumor immunology research, clinical applications, and patient education.”

Other CRI Scientific Advisory Council associate directors include:

  • Glenn Dranoff, MD, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
  • Carl F. Nathan, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Ellen Puré, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Robert D. Schreiber, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine
  • E. John Wherry, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine

About the Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is a top-rated U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to saving more lives by fueling the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel laureates and 27 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $500 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to

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