Program Leadership

Program Co-Leaders:

Yon Rojanasakul, PhD, - is the Robert C. Byrd Distinguished Professor & Benedum Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Patrick Ma, MD, MSC, - is a Medical Oncologist and Associate Professor in the School of Medicine.

The Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Comprehensive Lung Cancer Program at the West Virginia University Cancer Center Institute is co-led by Yon Rojanasakul, Ph.D., and Patrick C. Ma, MD, MSc.

Dr. Rojanasakul is a Professor in the WVU Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cancer and fibroproliferative disorders. His research has led to the discovery of key molecular targets and signaling pathways involved in cancer cell death and chemoresistance. The overall goal of his research is to develop more effective strategies for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Another important area of Rojanasakul's research involves nanotechnology with an emphasis on the health effects of engineered nanoparticles. His research develops exposure models and assay methods for nanosafety evaluation, identifies key properties of nanomaterials influencing their bioactivities, and elucidates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis. Dr. Rojanasakul is principal investigator of several NIH-funded projects and is part of a global task force focused on the complexity of cancer. He is a Robert C. Byrd Professor and Benedum Distinguished Scholar at   WVU. He is also an American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Fellow. Rojanasakul earned his PhD in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Science degree in pharmaceutics at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Dr. Ma came to WVU from the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, where he was Director of Aerodigestive Oncology Translational Research and a clinician-scientist. His special clinical and research interest in lung cancer includes personalized precision therapy, cancer genomics, proteomics and metabolomics profiling, omics biomarkers for response prediction and mechanism of drug resistance. He has considerable expertise in MET targeting therapy and played a pivotal role in defining MET genomic alterations as a therapeutic target in lung cancer. He was named Best Doctor in medical oncology by Cleveland Magazine in 2013-14. At the Cleveland Clinic he was principal investigator or co-investigator in several lung cancer clinical trials investigating novel targeted therapeutics in lung cancer. He's been awarded a number of competitive awards and research grants, most recently, the Department of Defense Lung Cancer Promising Clinician Research Award, and the 2013 Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute Chair's Innovative Research Fund Award. Dr. Ma is a member of the editorial board in a number of peer-reviewed journals including "Translational Lung Cancer Research",   and is author of the "Lung Cancer" chapter in the "Cecil's Essentials of Medicine" textbook. He completed his medical degree at the University of Toronto, Canada, where he also earned a Master of Science degree in biochemistry and completed a family medicine residency. The remainder of his postgraduate training was in Boston, where he completed an internal medicine residency at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center; a hematology/oncology fellowship at Tufts Medical Center; and a thoracic oncology research fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Ma is an Associate Professor in the WVU Department of Medicine and Department of Clinical and Translational Science.