Scientific Advisory Board

Scott Plotkin, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder & SAB Chair

Scott is a Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and Director, Neurofibromatosis Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital(MGH).  Scott is also acting director of neuro oncology at MGH.  He provides clinical care for patients with NF1, NF2, Scwhannomatosis and other disorders.  He has led numerous clinical trial in the Neurofibromatoses.  Scott is currently Co-Chair of Research Endpoints in Neurofibromatosis and Schwannomatosis (REiNS), an NIH sponsored group focused on the development of trial and endpoint development for the Neurofibromatoses.  He is a key opinion leader in neurofibromatosis clinical trials and research and has published extensively on his work.

Kavita Sarin, M.D., Ph.D.

Kavita Sarin, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Stanford University. She received her undergraduate degree in computer science, graduate degree in genetics and medical degree at Stanford University. She subsequently remained at Stanford where she completed her dermatology residency and postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Khavari. Dr. Sarin joined the faculty at Stanford University in 2013 with an academic interest in employing molecular and genomic analyses to elucidate the development, progression and treatment of cutaneous diseases. Dr. Sarin has published over 50 original research publications in this area in top medical and scientific journals, including Nature, Cancer Cell, JAMA Oncology and NEJM. Her research has been featured in mainstream media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and NPR. She has received career development awards from the NIH, American Skin Association, and Dermatology Foundation to support her research. Relevant to NFlections, Dr. Sarin’s research helped identify the genetic mutations which cause the development of nevus spilus, Becker’s nevus, nevus sebaceous and other childhood birthmarks. Dr. Sarin is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Society of Investigative Dermatology, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford Children’s Health Research  Institute, and Stanford Population Health Sciences program. She serves as a contributing member of the REINS cutaneous neurofibroma working group and AAD Young Physician Telemedicine working group.  Dr. Sarin also sees patients in medical dermatology  and directs a specialized Precision Health and Skin Cancer Genetics clinic at the Stanford Cancer Institute.

Barbara Gilchrest, M.D.

Barbara Gilchrest, M.D., received her undergraduate and medical training from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), respectively. In 1977 Dr. Gilchrest joined the Department of Dermatology and Division on Aging at the HMS, where she established a tissue culture laboratory to study the aging process in human skin, with support from the National Institute on Aging. From 1985 until 2008, Dr. Gilchrest served as Professor and Chairman of Dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine, where she directed a large laboratory and an NIH-sponsored post-doctoral research training program. She remains as Professor on a part-time basis while devoting herself primarily to development of treatment concepts arising from her laboratory-based research effort. Dr. Gilchrest is the author of over 400 scholarly articles, reviews, abstracts, and textbook chapters; and author or editor of eight books. She has served in leadership positions for all the major dermatologic organizations; on the National Advisory Council on Aging and the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute; as associate editor or editorial board member of several major clinical and research journals; as a consultant or scientific advisory board member for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; and as a member of the MIT Corporation. In June 2012 she began a 5 year term as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Dr. Gilchrest became active in American Skin Association in 1994, chairing its Medical Advisory Committee since that time. In 2011 she assumed the role of ASA Acting President and Vice Chair of its Board of Directors. Dr. Gilchrest is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.

Amy Paller, M.D., Ph.D.

Amy Paller, M.S., M.D., is the Walter J. Hamlin Professor and Chair, Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the NIH-funded Skin Disease Research Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brown University and her medical degree from Stanford University.  Dr. Paller completed residency training in both Pediatrics and Dermatology at Northwestern University and her postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of North Carolina. She served as Chief of Dermatology at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago prior to becoming Chair of Northwestern's Department of Dermatology.  An author of 400 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Paller currently serves on the Council for the National Institute for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Her NIH-funded laboratory focuses on the use of nanotechnology for topically applied gene regulation in treating skin disorders and on the role of glycosphingolipids in regulating signaling. Dr. Paller also directs the Northwestern Pediatric Dermatology Clinical Trials Unit.

She has been a pioneer in discovery related to diagnosis and therapy of genetic skin disorders, as well as the lead investigator on several landmark papers related to inflammatory skin disease. Dr. Paller has served as President and on the Board of Directors of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, Society for Pediatric Dermatology, Women's Dermatologic Society, International Eczema Council, and Chicago Dermatological Society, and as inaugural co-Chair of the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance. She has been on the Boards of the American Academy of Dermatology and American Dermatological Association. She co-authors Hurwitz’s Clinical Pediatric Dermatology and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.  Among recently received honors are the Clarence S. Livingood, MD Memorial Award from the American Academy of Dermatology, the Mentor of the Year Award and Rose Hirschler Award from the Women’s Dermatological Society, the Founder’s Award from the Chicago Dermatological Society, and the Rothman Award from the Society for Investigative Dermatology.

Lu Le, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Lu Le, M.D., Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and his M.D. from the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He completed an Internship in Internal Medicine at UCLA/St. Mary Medical Center, residency training in Dermatology and a postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Biology from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  He is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology.  Dr. Le sees patients in the Dermatology clinic and at the UTSW Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis clinic.

As a principal investigator in cancer biology, his laboratory investigates how genetic and tumor microenvironmental events interplay to regulate carcinogenesis.  His research group utilizes Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1), a common tumor predisposition human genetic disorder, as a model to (1) identify the cells of origin of tumorigenesis and (2) elucidate the roles of tumor microenvironment in cancer development. His major research goals are to understand mechanisms that initiate Neurofibroma genesis and drive their malignant transformation as well as to develop novel therapeutic targets for Neurofibroma.  Research in Dr. Le's laboratory is supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health as well as grants from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Outside the lab, Dr. Le enjoys biking with his children, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Kenneth Tsai, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Kenneth Tsai, M.D., Ph.D., is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist leading a NIH funded research program focused on cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, signaling pathways in melanoma and responses to therapy, and biomarker development for skin cancer risk and prediction of therapeutic responses. Dr. Tsai is affiliated with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. He leads a new translational research effort to address unmet needs in high-risk non-melanoma skin cancers within the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center of Excellence.

Dr. Tsai received his Ph.D. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.  He completed an internship in Internal Medicine and clinical residency training in Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a clinical fellowship in dermatopathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.

Karl Beutner, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Karl Beutner, M.D., Ph.D., is leading NFlection Therapeutics’ drug development efforts. He brings more than 30 years of experience in various leadership and executive roles, most recently as Chief Medical Officer at Anacor Pharmaceuticals (acquired for $5.2B in 2016 by Pfizer). Karl has had a major leadership role in the development of over a dozen approved drugs, has helped create the clinical development plan for well over twenty new molecular entities, and has participated in or managed hundreds of clinical trials through the FDA process. He brings a track-record of unparalleled leadership and success in topical drug development. Karl is a practicing dermatologist and a member of the clinical faculty of the Department of Dermatology at UCSF.

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