Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD
Director, Preclinical Translation and Regulatory Support
Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, is a professor of molecular pharmacology and toxicology in the USC School of Pharmacy, with a joint appointment in biomedical engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and in neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She directs the USC Science, Technology and Research (STAR) Program, for which she received the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal, one the nation’s highest civilian honors.
Her research focuses on translating discoveries into therapeutics for treating and preventing Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. The principal investigator on several major, cross-disciplinary research projects, she leads the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation Laboratory for Neuroscience Research and is a founder of the USC Neuroscience Program.
Professor Diaz Brinton’s work with the STAR program has engaged inner-city Los Angeles students in science and engineering, including experience in USC labs, over 20 years. She serves on scientific review boards for the National Institutes of Health and Institute for the Study of Aging. Professor Diaz Brinton co-founded a biotechnology company, holds several patents for therapeutics, and was named one of US News and World Report’s “Best Minds.”
She earned her PhD in psychobiology and neuropharmacology from the University of Arizona and postdoctoral training in neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University. Her passion is mentoring the next-generation scientists, who she often can be found advising in her labs.
Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, MD
Director, Clinical Translation
Anthony El-Khoueiry, MD, is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He has extensive experience in clinical and translational research through his roles as medical director of the Clinical Investigations Support Office and director of the phase I drug development program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is the recipient of the National Cancer Institute Cancer Investigator Team Leadership Award in 2011.
Dr. El-Khoueiry has established a national reputation in clinical research-related hepatobiliary (liver, gall bladder and bile duct) and pancreatic cancers. He is a member of the National Cancer Institute Hepatobiliary Cancers Task Force and chair of the Southwest Oncology Group hepatobiliary cancers subcommittee. In addition, he is the principal investigator of several phase I, including first-in-human, clinical trials aimed at developing novel therapies for solid tumors. Dr. El-Khoueiry works with several basic scientists at USC on joint translational projects designed to identify molecular predictors of outcome and survival for patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancers.
Dr. El-Khoueiry completed his medical degree, residency in internal medicine and fellowship in hematology and oncology at USC. He unravels scientific and non-scientific mysteries in four languages: English, Arabic, French and Spanish.
Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD
Director, Research Development
Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD, chairs the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the USC School of Pharmacy. She is the Department’s Gavin S. Herbert professor and the School’s associate dean for research affairs. Professor Hamm-Alvarez also holds appointments in physiology and biophysics, and in ophthalmology, at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
An expert in cell membrane trafficking and high-resolution imaging, Professor Hamm-Alvarez is recognized internationally for work on certain fundamental cell mechanisms. Her membrane-trafficking research has sparked new clinical diagnosis and treatment protocols for SjÖgren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease. Other research programs focus on protein-targeted drug delivery and on characterizing nanoparticle interactions with cells.
Professor Hamm-Alvarez was awarded a PhD in biochemistry from Duke University, where she completed a cell biology postdoctoral fellowship. She has authored numerous papers, served on editorial boards and grant review committees, and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Kalmar in Sweden. She also explores cellular changes outside the lab by whipping up ethnic cuisine from her panoply of international cookbooks.
Michele D. Kipke, PhD
Director, Community Engagement
Michele Kipke, PhD, is a professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She is also vice-chair of research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ (CHLA’s) Department of Pediatrics, and directs the Community, Health Outcomes and Intervention Research Program within The Saban Research Institute at CHLA.
An expert on child, family and community health, Professor Kipke is the principal investigator for several studies, including HIV prevention among young African American men. She works in community participatory research with overweight children in Los Angeles, launched the Boone Fetter Clinic for children with autism spectrum and other neuro-developmental disorders, and received a $5 million endowment to support autism spectrum diagnosis and intervention.
Professor Kipke serves on the South Pasadena Unified School District's Governing Board and is an advisor to the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, among other leadership roles. She received her doctorate from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. She is the proud mother of two daughters.
Wendy Mack, PhD
Director, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Resources
Wendy Mack, PhD, is a professor of biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She also co-directs the department’s Division of Biostatistics graduate programs.
Professor Mack has more than 20 years of experience directing biostatistical and data coordination activities, primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her expertise includes design, conduct and analysis of multiple single-centered and multi-centered clinical trials and observational studies. She also directs biostatistical activities for the USC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and for other basic and clinical research programs.
She has served on numerous NIH study sections for biostatistical expertise and has recently completed a term on the NHLBI Clinical Trials Review study section. Professor Mack received her doctorate from the University of Southern California. Her home is open to needy animals wandering by, and she dabbles in competitive dog obedience in her minimal spare time.
Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS
Director, Education, Career Development, and Ethics
Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS, is a pulmonary physician, epidemiologist and professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where he chairs the Department of Preventive Medicine. An internationally recognized public health expert, Dr. Samet also directs the USC Institute for Global Health.
He has investigated diverse issues using epidemiological approaches, including risks of indoor and outdoor air pollution, and active and passive smoking. His research also spans cancer epidemiology and outcomes, sleep-disordered breathing, and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Samet chairs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. A member of the National Cancer Advisory Board, he received the Surgeon General’s Medallion twice. Dr. Samet is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, among many other honors.
He earned his MD from the University of Rochester and his MS in epidemiology from Harvard University. In his rare non-working moments, Dr. Samet enjoys jazz, photography and California’s outdoor lifestyle.