Our Medical Advisors

  • +Dr. James Cleaver Ph. D.

    Dr. James CleaverDr. James Cleaver Ph.D., San Francisco, CA -Dr. Cleaver gained his BA (1961) and Ph.D. (1964) in the University of Cambridge, England. He spent two years as a postdoctoral student at Harvard, and joined the faculty of UCSF in 1966 in the Laboratory of Radiobiology and Environmental Health, and became the research director. He discovered that the basis of xeroderma pigmentosum was a DNA repair deficiency in 1968, and has worked on this and related diseases ever since. He was granted Emeritus status at UCSF in January 2004, but continues to carry out research. His appointments as Professor are held in the Departments of Dermatology and of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and he is a member of the UCSF Cancer Center.

    Dr. Cleaver is an internationally recognized expert on the molecular mechanisms of environmentally-induced and genetically-determined human cancers. He demonstrated as early as 1968 that cancer can be viewed as a genetic disease and his revolutionary work on xeroderma pigmentosum has led to breakthroughs in our understanding of the link between DNA repair efficiency and human disease. His pioneering work has resulted in more than 350 papers and reviews. He received research awards from the Radiation Research Society (1973), American Academy of Dermatology (1976), the Phycological Society (1991), Harvard University JB Little award (2003), the UCSF Faculty Research lectureship (2004) and the American Skin Association (2006), He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1999. 

  • +W. Clark Lambert, M.D., Ph. D.

    W. Clark LambertW. Clark Lambert, M.D., Ph.D., received a B.A. (Chemistry) in 1964 from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT and a Ph.D. (Experimental Pathology) and M.D. from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA, in 1969 and 1970, respectively. Following an internship at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY he was a Staff Fellow (Surgeon (04), U.S. Public Health Service) in the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (1971-1973). He completed a residency in Pathology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1974 and in Dermatology at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1976. He has subsequently been on the faculty of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, where he is Professor of Dermatology, Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Pathology. Dr. Lambert is board certified in Dermatology and in Laboratory and Diagnostic Immunology by the American Board of Dermatology, in Pathology by the American Board of Pathology, and in Dermatopathology by both boards.

    Dr Lambert is an internationally recognized authority in medical dermatology, especially in the diagnosis and management of several types of skin cancer and of xeroderma pigmentosum and other DNA repair-deficient genodermatoses. He has also published innovative research in human cell culture biology, including delineation of cell cycle control deficiencies in genetic and neurodegeneratively diseased cells. Dr. Lambert is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Sheard-Sanford Award of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, direct appointment as Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1991, and election into the American Dermatological Association in 1993. He is the author of hundreds of book chapters/articles in refereed journals, has edited two books and has served as an editor and/or on the editorial board of several leading medical journals.

    Learn more about Dr. Lambert’s research at his website:http://www.umdnj.edu/gpthnweb/clambert.html 

  • +Dr. Koos Jaspers

    Koos JaspersDr. Koos Jaspers, Netherlands – Nicolaas G.J.Jaspers (Koos), Born 30-oct-1950, in a very little country village, the Netherlands I was graduated in Chemistry in Amsterdam, 1975. Since then I have been employed in the Laboratory of Genetics of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands (now called Erasmus Medical Center), teaching medical students on genetics and cancer and doing research on DNA repair mechanisms. My Ph.D. thesis dealt with rare X-radiation-sensitive patients suffering from ataxia-telangiectasia and Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome, the latter of which I helped to discover.

    Most of my research has been (and still is) dedicated to the nucleotide excision repair process, that is defective in xeroderma pigmentosum, cockayne syndrome and trichothiodystrophy patients; my special interest are the ERCC1 and XPF genes. As part of this work, I also have a decades-long experience with diagnostic laboratory tests (prenatal as well as postnatal) for these three disorders.

    I have two healthy grown-up children and my main hobbies are choral singing (renaissance and modern classical music), history, website building and esoteric philosophy.

  • +Laura Niedernhofer, M.D., Ph. D.

    Laura NiedernoferLaura Niedernhofer, M.D., Ph.D., joined the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in 2003. Her laboratory investigates the health impact of DNA damage.

    Many things in our environment and even by-products of our own metabolism damage DNA. Therefore cells invest heavily in mechanisms to repair this damage. But what if things go wrong? One clear answer is that unrepaired damage can cause cancer. More recent evidence suggests that DNA damage may drive aging as well.

    Laura completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at Vanderbilt University, studying endogenous compounds (produced inside of us) that damage DNA, while spending time in surgical pathology and the oncology clinic. During her thesis work, she discovered that malondialdehyde, a metabolic by-product, is able to crosslink DNA. Crosslinks are a very toxic type of DNA damage because they anchor the two strands of DNA together, preventing access to the information encoded in DNA; information necessary for cell survival. To understand the biological impact of crosslinks, Laura then went to Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands for a post-doctoral fellowship, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Cancer Society. There, she genetically engineered mice with defects in the repair of DNA crosslinks. The surprising finding was that the mice which cannot repair crosslinks age extremely rapidly. This suggests that crosslink damage could occur inside of us and, if not repaired 100%, may cause us to age faster. Laura brought the mice to Pittsburgh and continues to use them to try and discover ways to prevent cancer and delay the aging process. In 2005, she was awarded the PNC Foundation Innovation Award, selected as a Hillman Fellow for Innovative Cancer Research and the Ellison Medical Foundation as a New Scholar in Aging.

  • +Dr. Bari Cunningham

    Bari CunninghamDr. Bari Cunningham, medical advisor, earned her medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, where she graduated cum laude. Her postgraduate training included a residency in dermatology at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University Medical School. She completed her fellowship training in pediatric dermatology at Children’s Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University in Chicago. Dr. Cunningham served as chief resident at Northwestern University Medical School and was a recipient of the Johnson and Johnson Fellowship in Pediatric Dermatology. Her clinical interests include pediatric dermatologic surgery and laser therapy, treatment of birthmarks including congenital nevi, port wine stains, hemangiomas, and nevus sebaceous. She is the author of over 40 publications and book chapters. Notable titles include “Laser Therapy and Dermatologic Surgery” in Current Opinion in Pediatrics, and “Pediatric Dermatologic Procedures: Pain Control” in Current Problems in Dermatology.

    Active in pediatric research, Dr. Cunningham is involved in numerous pediatric clinical trials including novel forms of topical anesthetic agents for pediatric use, methods of skin closure following cutaneous surgery in infants and children and safety of general anesthesia in pediatric dermatologic surgery. Dr. Cunningham is on several editorial review and advisory boards including the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Task Force, The Foundation Icthyosis and Related Skin Types (FIRST) Medical Advisory Board, Pediatric Dermatology Editorial Board. Dr Cunningham is coeditor of the Techniques for Tots section of the journal Pediatric Dermatology. She is an active reviewer for the following medical publications including Pediatrics, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Pediatric Dermatology, etc. She was recognized as one of the Top Doctors in Dermatology in 2002 and was awarded the prestigious Best Doctors award in 2005 for one of the best physicians in America.


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