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Dr. Maris investigates the molecular and genetic mechanisms contributing to the development and progression of neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer. He also aims to develop new molecular diagnostic tests and less toxic, targeted therapies to treat relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma, including a major effort in immunotherapy discovery and development.
Dr. Maris investigates the molecular and genetic mechanisms contributing to neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer. He also aims to develop new molecular diagnostic tests and less toxic, targeted therapies for relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma, including a major effort in immunotherapy discovery and development. Together with his lab team, Dr. Maris uses a multidisciplinary approach to improve existing cure rates for neuroblastoma.
Ongoing studies use functional genomics, whole genome sequencing, proteomics, and single cell sequencing to define the landscape of major mutations and cellular changes that make up neuroblastomas at original diagnosis or at disease relapse. The primary goal of Dr. Maris and his team centers on identifying oncogenic vulnerabilities to be leveraged into new therapies. Tantamount to these efforts is identifying robust biomarkers of drug sensitivities and patient outcomes that can be implemented in the clinic.
Dr. Maris fosters teamwork to solve big problems in childhood cancer, leading two immunotherapy efforts spanning basic mechanistic work to clinical trials. The the first collaborative project, funded by NCI through the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot initiative, is the Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network, while the second is funded by the St. Baldrick's and Stand Up to Cancer Foundations.
Dr. Maris also co-leads a program grant on neuroblastoma and several others in diverse disciplines like mutational signatures, alpha-based targeted radiotherapy, modeling of genome-wide association study discoveries in zebrafish, and industry collaborations to test new therapeutic strategies. Thus, he and his team represent a dynamic ecosystem of cancer translational science with multiple training opportunities, including access to collaborators at many leading institutions.
In addition, Dr. Maris is deeply involved in clinical trials through the Neuroblastoma Developmental Therapy Program, founded by Dr. Maris and now led by Dr. Yael Mosse. Many therapies developed in the lab are tested in clinical trials, and the clinic serves as an extension of the laboratory as samples from the trials routinely flow back to the lab to help the team understand how to improve precision therapies.
Education and Training
BS, Wheeling College (Biology), 1983
MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1989
Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology), 1995
Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Cancer Genetics), 1996
Titles and Academic Titles
Giulio D'Angio Chair in Neuroblastoma Research
Professor of Pediatrics
American Academy for the Advancement of Science
American Association for Cancer Research
American Society for Clinical Investigation
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Children’s Oncology Group - Scientific Council
Society for Pediatric Research
Merit Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 1995
Seligson Award, Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Symposium, 1996
American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award, 1996
American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award, 1996
Molecular Aspects of Pediatric Science Scholarship, 1996
American Society of Clinical Oncology Career Development Award, 1997
American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Young Investigator Award, 1997
Ethel Brown Foerderer Fund Award, 2000
Oski Award Recipient, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, 2007
Outstanding Basic Science Abstract, Advances in Neuroblastoma Research, 2008
Eagles Fly for Leukemia Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009
Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, for integrating the basic and clinical sciences, 2009
William Osler Patient Oriented Research Award, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2010
Award of Excellence, Arms Wide Open Foundation, 2013
St. Ignatius Loyola Distinguished Alumni Award, Wheeling University, 2013
NCI Outstanding Investigator Award, 2017