The METIOR Incubator Mentors

The following are bios of the four mentors of the METIOR Incubator, a team within the 2017 Cohort of the SITC Sparkathon.

Saar Gill, MD, PhD

Gill__Saar.jpgDr. Saar Gill obtained his medical degree and PhD from the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. He specialized in malignant Hematology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, and then undertook post-doctoral training in blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) research at Stanford University.

He has been at the University of Pennsylvania since 2011, where he is now an assistant professor of medicine. His clinical expertise is in the treatment of patients with leukemia and in BMT.

Dr. Gill runs a research laboratory focusing on next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for leukemia.

Kristen Hege, MD

Hege__Kristen.jpgDr. Kristen Hege joined Celgene in September 2010 as the San Francisco Site Head and Vice President, Translational Development, Hematology & Oncology. She has oversight of the translational development operations group and phase 1 cancer clinical programs focused on next generation kinase inhibitors, IMiDs, epigenetic therapies and immunotherapy.  She participates in the management of Celgene alliances with companies focused on cancer immunotherapies and other early phase cancer programs. Prior to joining Celgene, Dr. Hege worked in a consulting capacity as Acting Chief Medical Officer for several West Coast biotechnology start ups including Aragon, Theraclone, Cellerant and the Cancer Vaccine Company, focused on small molecule, antibody and cell-based therapies for cancer and infectious diseases. In addition, Dr. Hege spent 14 years at Cell Genesys, ultimately as Vice President, Clinical Research and Development and a member of the executive team. At Cell Genesys she was responsible for early and late-stage clinical development, clinical operations, biometrics and drug safety. Programs focused on cancer immune and gene therapies, including engineered CAR T cells, cancer vaccines, and oncolytic viruses.

In addition to her biotechnology experience, Dr. Hege holds an active faculty appointment at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where she is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. She served as attending physician on the inpatient leukemia/BMT service for 12 years and continues to see outpatients with benign and malignant hematologic disorders weekly. 

Dr. Hege holds active board certification in Hematology and Medical Oncology. She received her MD from UCSF, Internal Medicine training at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Hematology & Oncology fellowship training at UCSF. Academic honors include graduation from Dartmouth College summa cum laude and election to the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha Academic and Medical Honor Societies. She is an active member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association of Cancer Research and Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Immunotherapy of Cancer, an active member of the PhRMA Translational Development Advisory Committee, BayBio Board of Directors, Flexus Biotechnology Board of Directors (Observer), Immune Design Clinical Advisory Board and immediate Past Chairperson of the Executive Leadership Committee for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society San Francisco Light the Night event.

Daniel J. Powell, PhD

Daniel_Powell.jpgDr. Daniel Powell Jr. is an international expert in cancer immunobiology and translational immunotherapy. He is recognized for his extensive studies of the role the T cell response in the control of human cancer, and the application of adoptive lymphocyte immunotherapy, immunomodulation and cancer vaccination in various cancer types.

Dr. Powell is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania with appointments in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He maintains a research laboratory that is actively developing novel immunotherapeutic strategies, including experimental cell-based therapeutics, genetically-modified T cell therapy, dendritic cell based cancer vaccination, antibody-based immune checkpoint inhibition and combination immune/chemotherapy for the treatment of a variety of malignancies, with a primary focus on gynecological cancers.

Dr. Powell has a strong track record in translational immunotherapy of cancer and serves on various Advisor Boards. He holds several patents in the area of T cell and antibody therapy, and serves as IND sponsor for the clinical application of CAR T cell immunotherapy. He previously served as the Deputy Director of PENN’s Cell and Vaccine Production Facility within the Abramson Cancer Center and actively directs the Clinical Tumor Tissue Facility (CTTF), in support of multiple Phase I and II immunotherapy trials. Dr. Powell serves on various grant review committees, including those for the NHLBI’s Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies (PACT). His research excellence has been recognized by multiple awards including the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy’s Outstanding New Investigator Award, and NIH Exceptional Performance Awards.

Alexandra Snyder, MD

Snyder__Alexandra.pngDr. Alexandra Snyder is the Translational Medicine Lead at Adaptive Biotechnologies. Dr. Snyder received her medical degree and clinical training at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Mount Sinai Hospital.

She completed medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), then became a translational physician scientist at MSKCC specializing in the study of the response to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy in solid tumors.

She joined Adaptive in 2017, where she currently studies the immune system’s role in cancer and non-cancer pathologies, with a particular focus on the application of T and B cell receptor sequencing technologies.