A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation (ABOH) has invested nearly $1.5 million in U.S. lung cancer research projects over the past ten years. ABOH is committed to being a key contributor to the science that will lead to lower mortality rates, and as such, has added a national expert committee to help us vet our applications.

The newly formed Scientific Advisory Committee will begin operating in early 2020.

Mary Jo Fidler, M.D.

Dr. Fidler is an associate professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Cell Therapy.

Dr. Fidler attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York for undergraduate work. She received her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx , New York and then went on to complete her internal medicine residency at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago and Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Fidler specializes in the treatment of thoracic and head and neck cancers.  Her translational research interests focus on mechanisms of chemotherapy and radiotherapy resistance, predictors of response to immune check point inhibitors, and cancer cachexia.  She has enrolled patients on several clinical trials testing both immune checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies.  Dr. Fidler has authored and co-authored several manuscripts, publications and abstracts.

She has served on the Boards of Trustees for the Chicago Medical Society and the Illinois State Medical Society and has chaired various advocacy groups through these organizations.


Shirish Gadgeel, M.D.

Dr. Gadgeel is co-leader of the Thoracic Oncology Research Program as well as the Mary Lou Kennedy Research Professor of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is a medical oncologist by training whose area of interest is lung cancer research and, more specifically, drug development in lung cancer. He currently leads the Thoracic Research Team as well as the Multi-Tumor Experimental Therapeutics Research Teams at the Rogel Cancer Center/University of Michigan. He is also the Associate Director of Cancer Care at Network and Affiliated Centers. He has  conducted and participated in many lung cancer–specific trials, and in phase I trials, including investigator-initiated trials based on laboratory research. Dr Gadgeel has also been a principal investigator (PI) of a Southwest Oncology Group trial, S0528. Currently, he is a PI of several ongoing trials, including national PI of S1507. He has also engaged in many epidemiologic studies in the field of lung cancer, publishing on features of lung cancer in African Americans and young patients. He has served as a PI of multi-PI R21 to identify ‘driver’ genetic alterations in African American patients with lung cancer.

Dr Gadgeel served as the co-leader of the Molecular Therapeutics Research Program of the Core Cancer Center Grant of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit before joining the University of Michigan. He was also the site PI for the NO1 grant, awarded to the California Cancer Consortium. His clinical research experience spans 19 years. He is also a member of the steering committee of the Lung Cancer Committee of Southwest Oncology Group. He is a member of the editorial board of Clinical Lung Cancer and a reviewer for many journals, including Clinical Cancer Research, Lancet Oncology, and Journal of Thoracic Oncology. He has served as faculty for the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and as a member of the education committee of ASCO. He is the Chair of the ethics committee and member of the education committee of the International Association of Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). He was awarded by the National Cancer Institute the Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award in 2012.


Ramaswamy Govindan, M.D.

As a medical oncologist interested in thoracic malignancies, Dr. Govindan has led a number of institutional and multi-center phase II and III studies in lung cancer over the past decade.

Working with The McDonnell Genome Institute at the Washington University School of Medicine and with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project (as a co-chair) sponsored by the NCI, he is actively involved in sequencing the whole genomes and exomes of several hundred patients with lung cancer.

Dr. Govindan is also leading the efforts to move personalized therapies in early stage and locally advanced lung cancer. Dr. Govindan is the Principal Investigator for the NCI funded ALCHEMIST trial to study the role of erlotinib in patients with early stage EGFR mutated lung cancer and the Principal Investigator of an NCI sponsored multicenter trial to evaluate the role of targeted agents in locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Dr. Govindan is also the principal investigator for the NCI funded R25 STRENGTH program to train senior fellows and junior faculty members in patient oriented cancer research and is the Program Director of the Washington University Paul Calabresi K12 Oncology training program funded by the National Cancer Institute.

He is keen on translating genomic discoveries from the laboratory setting to clinical setting to improve the outcomes of patients with lung cancer.


Julian R. Molina, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Julian Molina is a professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, MN. He received his medical degree from Pontifical Bolivarian University and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Dr. Molina’s lung cancer research focuses on cancer stem cells and clinical trials. The goal of his research program is to use current knowledge of the molecular bases of thoracic malignancies and translate that understanding into clinical trials.

Dr. Molina has a strong background in molecular genetics and drug development for thoracic malignancies. He is the principal investigator of several clinical trials looking at new agents for patients with lung cancer and driver mutations.

Dr. Molina also serves as chair of the Mayo Clinic Oncology Hospital practice.


John Nitiss, Ph.D.

Dr. John Nitiss received his PhD degree in Biology from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he specialized in the genetics and biochemistry of DNA metabolism. He joined the laboratory of Dr. James C Wang, at Harvard University where he carried out studies that demonstrated how drugs that target DNA topoisomerases exert their anti-cancer effects. Topoisomerases are an important class of enzymes that are targeted by anti-cancer drugs such as etoposide, doxorubicin, and irinotecan. Understanding the workings of these enzymes and the drugs that target them is important for achieving optimal patient outcomes with current topoisomerase-targeting drugs and developing the next generation of these anti-cancer drugs.

Dr. Nitiss has held faculty positions at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and the internationally renowned pediatric research institution, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, TN. In 2011, Dr. Nitiss joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, Chicago where he is a Professor of Pharmacology, Assistant Dean for Research for the UIC College of Pharmacy, and Associate Head for Research of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department.

Research in the Nitiss lab continues to focus on topoisomerases as targets for cancer chemotherapy, targeting DNA repair with cancer therapeutics, and mechanisms of repairing DNA damage. He has a long record of support from the National Cancer Institute, and in 2018, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Luis Raez, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P.

Luis E. Raez, MD, FACP, FCCP; is the Chief of Hematology/Oncology & Medical Director of Memorial Cancer Institute (MCI), and Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program.

Dr. Raez is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Florida International University (FIU) and Visiting Professor of Medicine at Cayetano Heredia University in Peru.

Dr. Raez is also an Affiliate Associate Professor of Clinical Biomedical Science for Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He was an Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health, and a Co-Director of Thoracic Oncology at Sylvester Cancer Center/University of Miami for 10 years (2001-2011).

Dr. Raez has expertise in medical oncology in the areas of lung cancer, and head and neck cancer. He designs phase I-III clinical trials with new chemotherapeutic agents and combinations. He conducts translational research in the area of cancer vaccines. Dr. Raez’ projects have received funding from NCI and the pharma industry, and he often lectures at national and international meetings in the U.S., Europe, Latin-America and Asia. 

Dr. Raez has served as the International Chair of the IASLC-Latin-American Meeting (LALCA) since 2014; Chairman for the “Miami Best of ASCO” since 2014, Chair and Founder of the “Miami Cancer Meeting (MCM)” since 2002, Co-Chairman at the “Puerto Rico Fall Cancer Symposia (FCS)” since 2010. He is one of the founder members of Oncology Latin-American Association (OLA), and is American Board Certified in: Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. He is board eligible in Hematology.

Dr. Raez is a member and serves in several committees at: AACR, OLA, ESMO, ASCO, IASLC, ALLIANCE, NCCTG, ACCP, ACP, ACSG, SLACOM, FLASCO among other institutions.