Team

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Azraa Ayesha

Clinical Research Assistant

Azraa works as a part of the Clinical Operations. As clinical research assistant, she supports the operations team with clinical trials management and leads direct communication with clinical sites. Prior to joining Oncoceutics, she worked at University of California’s Nutrition Policy Institute where she oversaw data collection for a state-wide validation of a novel survey tool. She has a variety of experience in public health and laboratory science. Azraa received her BSPH in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019.
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Daiyan Aziz

Clinical Research Associate I

Daiyan is a part of the clinical operations team. He works closely with the clinical sites to monitor the clinical trial data. Before joining Oncoceutics, Daiyan worked at Amarex Clinical Research where he supported a multitude of studies. He worked closely on Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III oncology and immunotherapy clinical trials. He has also completed internships at the National Institute of Health and Mayo Clinic where he studied the role of the Ubiquitin-proteasome system in the pathogenesis of cancer. Daiyan completed his B.S. in Neurobiology & Physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is currently working on his M.S. in Clinical Research Administration from George Washington University.

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Michael Chiarella

Vice President, Clinical Operations

Michael is responsible for the oversight, management and guidance of Phase 1 – Phase II clinical programs for Oncoceutics to ensure quality, timeline and budget goals are met. Prior to joining Oncoceutics, he led clinical operations from IND to NDA through approval and marketing for Vyxeos® at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Michael draws on a strong scientific background and extensive project management experience with more than 20+ years in oncology drug development. He completed his B.S. in Chemistry from Montclair State University.
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Sebastian Franzinger

Vice President, Finance and Business Development

Sebastian joined Oncoceutics in 2017 and is responsible for finance, business development, corporate functions, as well as investor and public relations.  Immediately prior to joining Oncoceutics, Sebastian developed marketing and sales strategies for KREATIZE, a Berlin-based technology startup providing a platform for 3D printing companies. After earning his Master of Management from the University of Mannheim in Germany,  he worked at BASF, a global chemical company, in various roles, including Corporate Finance, Controlling and Internal Audit. While obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Sebastian worked at a local savings bank in several corporate and retail banking roles.

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Justin Kim

Associate, Finance and Business Development

Justin supports business development, finance, and corporate functions. He further supports senior management with investor and public relations. Prior to joining Oncoceutics, he was in the Pipeline and Launch Strategy group at ZS Associates, where he performed commercial due diligence, developed commercial strategy, and built financial models for biotech/pharma clients of all sizes. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his B.A. in Biology from the College of Arts and Sciences and his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School through the Vagelos Life Sciences and Management Program.

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Guangrong Lu, MBBS

Associate Medical Director

Guangrong Lu brings neuro-oncology expertise to the study team, which he gained through years of direct clinical study/patient care experiences working with an investigator team of neuro/medial/radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, neuropathologists and radiologists at UTHealth. Dr. Lu has managed more than 20 clinical trials and clinical research projects and has published a number of clinical research papers. Dr. Lu obtained his medical degree with honor from Wannan Medical College and earned two master’s degrees from Capital Institute of Pediatrics and Baylor University. Dr. Lu’s medical degree was certified by ECFMG, as equivalent to a US medical graduate.

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Krystal Merdinger

Director, Clinical Operations and Data Management

Krystal manages the clinical trial data within various Electronic Data Capturing platforms, provides end-user support and training for the REDCap Cloud EDC System, creates reports for leadership, and manages regulatory documents for new and ongoing clinical trials. She joins Oncoceutics having most recently been a Clinical Research Systems Manager at Fox Chase Cancer Center in the Office of Clinical Research overseeing the clinical data for over 1300 clinical trials. She completed her B.S. in Public Health from Temple University minoring in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and her M.S. in Health Informatics from Temple University in May 2019. Krystal has worked in several clinical research settings such as behavioral and emergency medicine with Fox Chase Cancer Center and The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Sara Morrow, MS

Associate Scientist

Sara works as a part of the research and development team to manage ongoing nonclinical studies as well as pursue research collaboration and grant opportunities. Prior to Oncoceutics, Sara worked at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she collaborated with medicinal chemists to develop proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) for the treatment of lymphoid neoplasms. Additionally, she developed and characterized patient-derived models of leukemia and lymphoma for the Public Repository of Xenografts (PRoXe). Sara received her B.A. in Chemistry from Wheaton College and her M.S. in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania. At UPenn, Sara consulted for local healthcare companies through Penn Biotech Group and conducted research at the Wistar Institute. She joined Oncoceutics in 2019 while finishing her degree.

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Reyes Osuna

Associate Director, Clinical Data Management

Reyes manages clinical trial data management including database setup, data management activities\close out and vendor management. He brings over 15 years of clinical experience in data management and electronic data capture system implementations. He joins Oncoceutics having recently designed and implemented data capture systems at the pharmaceutical and CRO level at Veeva Systems, Oracle, Covance, Allergan and Boehringer-Ingelheim pharmaceuticals. He is focused on consistent data collection and QC to ensure the highest level of trial data deliverables. Reyes received his BS in Biology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

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Chelsea Pacleb

Senior Associate, Clinical Research

Chelsea is a part of the Clinical Operations team, acting as a primary site contact for ONC201 and ONC206 studies. She has worked in a variety of clinical research settings since graduating with her B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She has extensive experience monitoring drug and medical device studies in the US and internationally, primarily in in-vitro diagnostic and ophthalmologic trials. She enjoys working with other clinical research professionals to improve research methods and processes, and submitted her first poster presentation for ACRP’s Annual Conference in 2020.
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Varun Prabhu, Ph.D.

Vice President, Research and Development

Varun manages translational medicine activities including mechanism of action and pre-clinical efficacy studies, GLP toxicology studies, IND submission, Phase I and Phase II clinical protocol development, clinical biomarker development, CRO relationships, academic collaborations and grant submissions. He has worked collaboratively with Oncoceutics since 2012, as a researcher in the lab of scientific founder Dr. Wafik El-Deiry. Dr. Prabhu was the first to demonstrate the anti-cancer stem cell efficacy of ONC201 and is co-inventor on patents for the use of imipridone small molecules for targeting GPCRs and treating gliomas. He completed his B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Institute of Chemical Technology in India, received a M.S. in Biotechnology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY and earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from Pennsylvania State University. He has previously held research positions at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals and has co-authored several peer-reviewed publications. He has received awards for research and leadership including the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award, an Innovation Award from MedImmune and was featured by the Philadelphia business journal among young executives in life science.

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Rohinton Tarapore, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Clinical Operations and Research

Rohinton manages the non-clinical studies and clinical trials, and drafts reports and communication material targeted for the FDA.  Dr. Tarapore received his PhD. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and did his postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. While at Penn, he was co-chair of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council, conceptualized the idea of hosting vendor shows & raised $65,000 for postdoctoral-related activities, and drafted several policies for enhancing the post-doctoral training at the institution. Dr. Tarapore has authored several research publications in cancer signaling, small molecules, inflammation, diabetes and toxicology and has a deep knowledge on signaling pathways that are de-regulated in oncology. Dr. Tarapore joined Oncoceutics at the beginning of 2015.