Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)

PROF. LUCIO LUZZATTO
President of the External Scientific Committee

He graduated from the University of Genoa School of Medicine in 1959. He specialised in hematology in Pavia and at the University of Columbia, New York. He was the Scientific Director at the Tumour Institute of Tuscany (Florence) and Professor of Hematology at the University of Florence.

He was the founder of the Hematology and Blood Transfusion Society of Nigeria, of which he has been honorary member since 1968. Amongst other posts Dr. Luzzato was Director of the International Genetics and Biophysics Institute at the National Research Centre (CNR) in Naples (1974-1981). He was also the Director of the Hematology Department at Hammersmith Hospital in London (1981-1994) and President of the Human Genetics Department at Cornell University, New York (1994-2004). From 2000 until 2006 he was the Scientific Director at the National Cancer Research Institute in Genoa. Since 2006 he has been the Director of the Instituti Toscani de Tumori in Florence. He is currently developing his scientific work in Tanzania. 

PROF. ROBERT SACKSTEIN
Member of the External Scientific Committee

He graduated summa cum laude in Medicine from Harvard Medical School where he also qualified as a Doctor in 1985. He was Internal Medicine Resident at the University of Miami (Jackson Memorial Hospital) where he also served his Postdoctoral Fellowship.

He is currently Professor at the Department of Dermatology and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Program of Excellence in Glycosciences. Prof. Sackstein is a international specialist in bone marrow transplantation and its complications as graft versus host disease.

Prof. Sackstein is also a hematologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Director of the Translational Research Program and Bone Marrow Transplant Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, and member of the International Scientific Committee of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Foundation from 2016. Prof. Sackstein has been actively involved in the development of the Institute since its inception.

PROF. ALBERTO ORFAO
Member of the External Scientific Committee

He holds a degree in Medicine from the University of Salamanca and from the New University of Lisbon. He obtained the title of Doctor in 1987 from the University of Salamanca. Currently he is Titular Professor and Director of the General Cytometry Service of this university.

His activities are focused on research in the clinical area and, above all, in the field of the immune system and cancer, about which he has contributed more than 100 articles to international
publications over the last five years.

Amongst other posts Prof. Orfao was president of the Iberian Cytometry Society (1995-1999) and he was president of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry Clinical Flow Cytometry Standardisation Committee (1994-1997). At the present time he is a member of the European Group for the Characterisation of Leukaemia. At the present time he is Professor of the Department of Medicine of the University of Salamanca, Member of the European Leukaemia Characterization Group and Scientific Director of the National DNA Bank of the Carlos III Health Institute.

PROF. BRIGITTE SCHLEGELBERGER
Member of the External Scientific Committee

She studied medicine at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich and at Kiel University. She was the deputy-director of the of Kiel University Human Genetics Institute. Her research and studies have taken Prof. Schlegelberger to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the University of Chicago, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the British Columbia Cancer Center of Vancouver and the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, United States.

Her studies have focused on the identification of recurrent chromosome alterations in leukaemia and malignant lymphomas. In 2001 she was appointed Director of the Hannover School of Medicine Cellular and Molecular Pathology Institute, Germany. The Institute has, in collaboration with many study groups, integrated the cytogenetic and molecular analysis of pilot clinical studies into myelodysplastic syndromes and leukaemia in children and adults.

At the present time, she is Professor and Director of Hannover Medical School Genetics Institute.

PROF. MARIA LUISA TORIBIO
Member of the External Scientific Committee

Maria Luisa Toribio has a Bachelor in Biology and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the Complutense University of Madrid. She trained for her Ph.D. at the Department of Immunology, Puerta de Hierro Hospital, Madrid. M. Toribio did postdocs at the Center for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (CBMSO) from the National Research Council (CSIC) and the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), at the Pasteur Institute (Paris, France) and the Basel Institute for Immunology (Basel, Switzerland).

She is a Full Professor of the CSIC since 2003, and Head of the Department of Cell Biology and Immunology at the CBMSO/CSIC-UAM since 2014. She was Visiting Professor (2006-2007) at the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA). Her research has contributed to the current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of T lymphocytes in the human thymus, and to the identification of the signaling pathways whose deregulation is involved in the pathogenesis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Her group has recently pioneered the development of unique models of de novo generation of human T-ALL and preclinical models of immunotherapy, as a proof-of-concept for novel therapeutic developments. Her research has been funded by several National and International Agencies, and her group has maintained a productive scientific activity, with relevant publications in international journals of high impact, national and international collaborations, and important training activity.

PROF. CHRISTOPH PLASS
Member of the External Scientific Committee

Dr. Plass started his scientific career with studies in Berlin (Diploma in Biology) and Lübeck (Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics, 1993). Following his Ph.D., he accepted a postdoctoral position at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Here he established, in collaboration with Dr. Hayashizaki (RIKEN), the first screening platform for DNA methylation changes in whole genomes. In 1997, Dr. Plass began his independent career as Assistant Professor in Cancer Genetics at The Ohio State University in Columbus, USA, where he worked for ten years and moved up in the ranks to Full Professor with an endowed chair. In 2007. Dr. Plass joined the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, where he heads the Division of Cancer Epigenomics.

Dr. Plass’s research focus is on cancer epigenomics in leukemia as well as other human malignancies. Together with his collaborators, he provided the first genome-wide screens for DNA methylation patterns in human cancer samples. This work culminated in a frequently cited landmark paper by Costello et al. in Nature Genetics describing tumor-type specific DNA methylation patterns in different human malignancies. This manuscript represented the inauguration of global DNA methylome screens in cancer genomes and efforts that ultimately led to sequencing-based whole-genome bisulfite sequencing, currently the state-of-the-art technology to decipher DNA methylomes at the single CpG level.