Path to SITC Leadership

There is no singular, defined route to achieving a leadership role within the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). Individuals experience their first activity or engagement with the society in any number of ways – from attending a SITC program, to applying for membership, to accepting an offer from a colleague to serve on a SITC committee, there is no traditional path to SITC leadership.

To help professionals and others interested in the cancer immunotherapy field learn how to become more involved in the society, and how those activities could one day lead to a leadership role, SITC has devised six general stages of involvement that further outlines a potential roadmap to such positions. The six stages are:







Click the links above to learn more about each. As stated, though, individuals can become involved in the society a varying levels based on experience, level of interest or other factors.

Below is an infographic that highlights a potential path to SITC leadership, using the above stages and the various types of activities that fall into each category, while acknowledging that individuals can initiate their involvement in the society at any point.


Path to SITC Leadership Profiles

Every SITC leader has their own, unique story for how they became involved and remained engaged with the society over the years. Below are some brief stories of how some current SITC At-Large Directors began their journey toward the SITC Board of Directors.

Ana Carrizosa Anderson, PhD

Leadership Path Entrance: Engagement

AndersonHarvard Medical School

Dr. Anderson began her SITC involvement through faculty roles at the society's Annual Meeting, beginning in 2011 (Hot Topic Symposium), then in 2012 (Professional Development Session) and in 2014 (Workshop faculty/organizer) when she also had an abstract accepted. She joined SITC as a member in 2014, also serving on the Annual Program Committee.

In 2015, Dr. Anderson began her tenure as an associate editor of the Commentary/Editorials section of the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC), a role she has fulfilled ever since. In 2018, Dr. Anderson was co-chair of the Annual Meeting before returning to the Annual Program Committee the next year.

In 2019, Dr. Anderson began her tenure on the SITC Board of Directors. 

Paolo Antonio Ascierto, MD

Leadership Path Entrance: Engagement

AsciertoIstituto Nazionale Tumori-Fondazione 'G. Pascale'

Dr. Ascierto became a SITC member in 2008. He attended his first SITC Annual Meeting in 2011, doing so again in 2012, when he further expanded his involvement in the society by serving on the Scientific Program Committee as well as the World Immunotherapy Council (WIC), a group he has been a part of ever since.

Every year since 2013, Dr. Ascierto has submitted an abstract to the SITC Annual Meeting and served on the JITC – Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Committee. Further, he has served as organizer or faculty for various SITC international collaborative education programs, including SIDRA: Updates On Immunotherapy of Cancer and Immunoscore in 2014, Immunotherapy of Cancer Conference (ITOC2) in 2015 and co-chair of Melanoma Bridge in 2016. He also served on the SITC Forward Fund Task Force from 2016-17.

In 2018, Dr. Ascierto was elected to the Board of Directors, beginning his three-year term. The number of SITC programs and activities Dr. Ascierto participates in or supports has continued to expand ever since.

Charles G. Drake, MD, PhD

Leadership Path Entrance: Commitment

DrakeColumbia University Medical Center

Dr. Drake began his SITC involvement at SITC’s 2009, 2011 and 2012 Annual Meetings through a variety of faculty, co-chair and organizing roles.

In 2012, he joined the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer (JITC) Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunotherapy section as an Associate Editor, a role he maintains today. By 2013, he had become a SITC member, submitted his first abstract to a SITC Annual Meeting and published his first paper in JITC.

In the years that followed, he lent his expertise as a member of the SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines Prostate Subcommittee member and as faculty for a variety of SITC educational programs, in-person and online.

In late 2016, Dr. Drake was elected to the SITC Board of Directors as an At-Large Director, a term lasting from Nov. 2016 – Dec. 2019.

Leisha A. Emens, MD, PhD

Leadership Path Entrance: Engagement

EmensUPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Dr. Emens first became a SITC member in 2002 and attended her first SITC Annual Meeting in 2007 as an invited speaker. After multiple years as a member, she fulfilled a variety of roles at the 2012 Annual Meeting, including Workshop faculty/organizer and Primer faculty.

By 2013, she had joined multiple SITC committees, including the Communications Committee and Stakeholder Advisory Council. In 2013, she became an Associate Editor for the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC) under the Clinical/Translational Cancer Immunotherapy section, eventually transitioning to Section Editor of the Clinical Trials Monitor in 2015.

She has been an Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ (ACI) regional education program faculty and organizer for a variety of locations in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In late 2016, Dr. Emens was elected to the SITC Board of Directors as an At-Large Director, beginning a three-year term.

David Kaufman, MD, PhD

Leadership Path Entrance: Engagement

KaufmanBill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

Dr. Kaufman attended is first SITC Annual Meeting in 2013. He followed suit by becoming a member of the society the next year.

In 2015, Dr. Kaufman submitted his first abstract to the Annual Meeting, an effort he completed again the ensuing two years. Similarly, in 2015, he joined the SITC Immune Biomarkers Committee, specifically serving on the Biomarkers Working Group 3, which published the article, Systematic evaluation of immune regulation and modulation, in JITC on March 21, 2017.

The following year in 2018, Dr. Kaufman was elected to the Board of Directors to begin his three-year term. That same year he also served as a judge for the SITC Sparkathon, which hosted a retreat for its participants in Chicago in the summer. He remains a member of the Biomarkers Committee.

Marcela V. Maus, MD, PhD

Leadership Path Entrance: Engagement

Maus__Marcela_small.jpgMassachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Maus first became a SITC member in 2011, attending the 26th Annual Meeting in North Bethesda, Md., that year. Several years passed as a member before Dr. Maus submitted her first abstract to the 29th Annual Meeting in 2014. She was honored with a Presidential Travel Award and delivered an oral presentation of her research that year.

Also in 2014, Dr. Maus began her tenure on the SITC Membership Committee and became a SITC Champion. In 2016, she served as faculty for the Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy™ regional education program in Massachusetts, while serving as an organizer on the Annual Program Committee. This role lead to an increased role in 2017 as Co-chair of the Annual Meeting, while maintaining her roles on the Membership Committee and a SITC Champion. Further, she became a published author for two articles in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC), the society's open access, peer-reviewed online journal, including the review, Current approaches to increase CAR T cell potency in solid tumors: targeting the tumor microenvironment, published on March 21, 2017.

In 2018, Dr. Maus was elected to the SITC Board of Directors, beginning a three-year term.