New Hope for Women’s Reproductive Cancers


March 2, 2022
4:00 PM ET



How can we overcome the numerous challenges in treating women’s reproductive cancers?

Read a summary of the discussion here.

Hear from our panel of experts Ursula Matulonis, MDSohrab Shah, PhD, and Laura Andres-Martin, PhD, on how the latest advances in cancer and stem cell research are now being applied to develop precision therapies for women with reproductive cancers. This discussion was moderated by NYSCF’s Raeka Aiyar, PhD.

What you’ll learn:

  • What new therapies are on the horizon for treating women’s reproductive cancers including cervical, ovarian, and uterine
  • How years of neglect in funding and public attention to women’s cancers has hindered research and patient care
  • How we can overcome gender and racial health disparities in cancer outcomes
  • How NYSCF is using the power of stem cells to create opportunities for more effective, tailored cancer treatments

About Dr. Ursula Matulonis (Chief and Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

  • Dr. Matulonis is a world-recognized leader in gynecologic cancers, leading multiple clinical trials and translational research projects in ovarian cancer 
  • Dr. Matulonis’ research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic cancers


About Dr. Sohrab Shah (Chief of Computational Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

  • Dr. Shah uses computational methods, including machine learning, to understand tumor progression and varying patient responses to treatments 
  • Dr. Shah has made pivotal contributions to understanding tumor evolution and variability in ovarian cancer


About Dr. Laura Andres-Martin (Research Investigator in Oncology, The NYSCF Research Institute) 

  • Dr. Andres-Martin leads the NYSCF Women’s Reproductive Cancers Initiative, which aims to shift paradigms in the way women’s cancers are studied and treated
  • Dr. Andres-Martin’s team has built a biobank of ovarian cancer patient samples to fuel the discovery of personalized therapies

Speaker Bios

Ursula Matulonis, MD
Chief and Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Professor, Harvard Medical School

Ursula A. Matulonis, MD is Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the first recipient of the Brock-Wilson Family Chair at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She co-leads the Gynecologic Cancer Program within the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Ovarian Cancer Specialized Program in Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute. Her research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with a specific interest in ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Dr. Matulonis has led several PARP inhibitor, anti-angiogenic agent, immunotherapy, and combination trials for ovarian cancer in the United States and internationally. Dr. Matulonis serves on the Massachusetts Ovarian Cancer Task Force, chairs the Gyn subcommittee of the Alliance cooperative group, and the Scientific Advisory Board for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, the Rivkin Foundation, the Clearity Foundation, and Overcome. She has received the Dana-Farber Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee M. Nadler “Extra Mile” Award, the Clearity Foundation award, the Zakim Award at Dana-Farber for patient advocacy, and recently in 2020, the Albany Medical College Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna Award. She has been named one of Boston’s Best Physicians in Medical Oncology by Boston Magazine numerous times. Dr. Matulonis is also a recipient of grant funding from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation examining differences between ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer.

After receiving her MD from Albany Medical College, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.

Sohrab Shah, PhD
Chief of Computational Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Shah is the Chief of Computational Oncology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Shah received a PhD in computer science from the University of British Columbia in 2008 and developed his research program in computational biology at BC Cancer Agency and the University of British Columbia starting in 2010. His research focuses on developing and using computational methods to understand cancer evolution and treatment response. This encompasses advanced machine learning and Bayesian statistical methods to analyze and interpret large-scale datasets in cancer research. At MSK, Dr. Shah is building new and innovative capacity in computational methods across the spectrum of data-intensive research activity. This includes multimodal data integration such as genomics and imaging, high-resolution single-cell genomics, and transcriptomics. His translational focus lies in breast cancer and ovarian cancer, in which he has pioneered discovery of prognostic mutational signatures and has conducted large-scale studies of mutational landscapes and evolution of these cancers. Dr. Shah is a former Canada Research Chair, is a Komen Scholar, and holds the Nicholls-Biondi Endowed Chair in Computational Oncology at MSK.

Laura Andres-Martin, PhD
Research Investigator, Oncology
The NYSCF Research Institute

Laura Andres-Martin received her PhD from the University of Salamanca in Spain. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Weill Cornell Medicine, focusing on neurodegenerative disorders and adult stem cell biology. In 2015, she was awarded a NYSCF – Druckenmiller Postdoctoral Fellowship. She now leads NYSCF’s women’s reproductive cancer program, where her research is focused on applying stem cell technologies to create a ‘living biobank’ of patient-specific tumor samples as a route to developing advanced diagnostics, understanding cancer genetics, and selecting more effective, personalized therapeutics.

Susan L. Solomon, JD
CEO & Founder
The NYSCF Research Institute

Susan L. Solomon is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute. A veteran healthcare advocate, Susan has received numerous awards for her work with NYSCF, including the New York State Women of Excellence Award, the Triumph Award from the Brooke Ellison Foundation, and recognition as a Living Landmark from the New York Landmarks Conservancy. Susan has decades of leadership experience in starting and building effective and focused organizations. She started her career as an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton, then held executive positions at MacAndrews & Forbes and APAX (formerly MMG Patricof and Co.) She was the founder and President of Sony Worldwide Networks, the Chairman and CEO of Lancit Media Productions, and served as the founding CEO of, prior to starting her own strategic management consulting firm Solomon Partners LLC in 2000.

Raeka Aiyar, PhD (Moderator)
Vice President, Scientific Outreach
The NYSCF Research Institute

Dr. Aiyar is an experienced geneticist turned science communicator. Trained in biology and bioinformatics at the University of Waterloo, she received her PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany, where she used genomics technology to investigate new therapeutic strategies for mitochondrial diseases. Since then, Dr. Aiyar has dedicated her career to science communication, engaging a variety of audiences through writing, training, and outreach. As Director of Communications and Development at the Stanford Genome Technology Center, she led a range of efforts in patient outreach, scientific strategy, and collaboration building. In her current role, she oversees NYSCF’s scientific communication initiatives, developing content for diverse audiences through print and digital media as well as event programming.