- Edward Stepanski, PhD, Chief Operating Officer
- Mark Walker, PhD, VP, Scientific Affairs
- Arthur Houts, PhD, Senior Director, Health Outcomes
- Robert Dufour, Ph.D., Senior Director HEOR
- Karen Skinner, MPH, Director, HEOR
- Rajeshwari (Raj) S. Punekar, MPH, PhD, Associate Director, HEOR
- Maxine D. Fisher, PhD, Director, Real World Evidence
- Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Director
- Gregory Vidal, MD, PhD, Medical Scientist
- Jason Chandler, MD, Medical Scientist
- Junji Lin, Ph.D., MStat., Associate Director, HEOR
Edward Stepanski, PhD, Chief Operating Officer
Edward Stepanski, PhD, joined Vector Oncology in 2006 after holding many leadership positions in academic medical centers and in national medical societies for over 20 years. Ed brings strong organizational expertise, scientific acumen at the highest academic standards, as well as sensitivity to the needs of oncology from both the business and clinical perspective. Under his leadership, Vector Oncology developed the Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomics (HOPE) and Pharma Services business units. Ed has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and books covering many topics in oncology research, sleep medicine, and statistical methodology.
Mark Walker, PhD, Vice President, Scientific Affairs
Dr. Mark Walker is Vice President of Scientific Affairs for Vector Oncology. His responsibilities include oversight of a wide range of scientific activities including medical writing (protocol development, manuscript preparation, preparation of abstracts and posters), biostatistics (data preparation and analysis for retrospective studies and prospective clinical trials) and oversight of Vector Oncology’s Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomics (HOPE) group.
Dr. Walker came to Vector Oncology from Washington University School of Medicine, where he was a frequent consultant on issues related to research design and statistics, and where he worked clinically with cancer patients as a licensed psychologist at the Siteman Cancer Center. He received his PhD from the University of Memphis, completed internship training at the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Walker has active memberships with the American Psychological Association and the International Society for PharmacoEconomics and Outcomes Research.
Arthur Houts, PhD, Senior Director, Health Outcomes
Dr. Houts serves as lead scientist, overseeing study design, data analysis, and medical writing activities on a range of HEOR studies. He has assisted in the development of tools to provide better clinical assessment in cancer care, and was the chief scientist in the psychometric work to design the Patient Care Monitor, Vector Oncology’s proprietary PRO instrument. Dr. Houts has contributed to the scientific literature across a wide range of topics, and has authored over 100 scientific articles in the field of oncology and psychology. Dr. Houts received his PhD from Stony Brook University in 1981 and taught at the University of Memphis from 1981-2003 where he was Professor and Director of Clinical Training.
Robert Dufour, Ph.D., Senior Director HEOR
Robert has 12+ years experienced in the health care industry delivering and managing data analytics and outcomes research. He has a diverse background that includes statistics, research methodology and experience with various disease state. At Vector Oncology, he is responsible to provide direct scientific leadership and oversight of health outcome studies including the development of proposals, protocols, statistical analysis plans, presenting the final results as well as providing leadership to scientific management.
Prior to joining Vector Oncology, Robert was a research manager at Humana’s Comprehensive Health Insights where he led multi-disciplinary teams that generated data sets used for research by the department and designed and performed health outcomes studies for biopharmaceutical clients. He is also an experienced SAS programmer who was responsible for data extraction and statistical analyses in previous roles. Several of his studies have been published in journals and presented at various professional conferences. Robert has a BA in psychology from McGill University, a PhD in Psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and he completed a post-doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Karen Skinner, MPH, Director, HEOR
Karen provides direct scientific leadership and oversight of health outcomes studies utilizing Vector Oncology data resources. Her role includes developing proposals, protocols, statistical analysis plans as well as presenting final results.
Her prior experience includes 8 years leading epidemiology research studies. She designed and led custom consulting engagements utilizing secondary data sources and managed a proprietary database. Through this role she participated in all aspects of secondary research including proposal development, study design, comprehensive literature reviews, data analysis, data management and medical writing.
Karen holds a MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology from Saint Louis University and a B.S. in Community Health with a minor in Sociology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she graduated with Highest Honors.
Raj has 10+ years of experience in health economics and outcomes research. She has a strong background in clinical medicine, epidemiology and population health and rigorous training in advanced statistical methods.
In Vector Oncology, she is responsible for direct scientific leadership and oversight of health outcomes studies including developing proposals, protocols, statistical analysis plans as well as presenting final results. Before Vector Oncology, Raj worked as a Senior Researcher at HealthCore, where she led multi-disciplinary teams to design and deliver real world research for her biopharmaceutical and medical diagnostic device clients.
Earlier in her career, Raj served as a general practitioner in India for 2 years. She holds a dual-doctorate degree in Health Policy and Administration and Demography from the Penn State University and a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Maxine Fisher, PhD, has 10 years of real world analytics expertise and her role includes direct scientific oversight of health outcomes studies as well as design of new processes for conduct of real world research at Vector Oncology.
In her previous role as Associate Director of Outcomes Research at HealthCore, Maxine led multi-disciplinary teams to design and deliver real world research for her biopharmaceutical clients. Taking on roles of increasing responsibility over the past decade, her experience includes all aspects of late stage research from developing protocols and statistical analysis plans, medical chart abstraction, data extraction, statistical analysis, medical writing, and oversight of real world research studies.
Earlier in her career, Maxine served as Scientific Writer / Intellectual Property Scientist at Sagres Discovery, Medical Writer at the Cancer Information Group, and Postdoctoral Researcher in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She holds a PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Florida and a B.S. Chemistry (Certified, American Chemical Society) from University of Miami. Maxine’s outcomes research studies have been presented at ASCO, SABCS and other conferences and she has authored over 27 publications, 13 of which have been published in peer reviewed journals in the past 9 years.
Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, MBioeth, Senior Medical Director
An internationally-recognized cancer researcher, Dr. VanderWalde will also hold a dual appointment with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Assistant Professor, Hematology/Oncology.
Dr. VanderWalde previously served as United States Medical Lead and Clinical Research Medical Director with Amgen Inc., directing U.S. global development of talimogene laherparepvec, a novel viral-based immunotherapeutic that has shown efficacy in late-stage clinical trials in melanoma. As an expert in melanoma, Dr. VanderWalde has collaborated with some of the nation’s thought leaders and participated on advisory boards with top experts in the field.
He will continue to elevate The West Cancer Center’s long history of clinical research. With a dual appointment at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Dr. VanderWalde will help to further integrate translational research and clinical trials in oncology and other areas of internal medicine. He will also be coordinating a renewed focus toward NCI cooperative-sponsored clinical trials in medical oncology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology.
Dr. VanderWalde received his medical degree in 2005 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia after graduating cum laude from Harvard University. He obtained Masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics and Harvard School of Public Health. He completed internal medicine training UCLA (internship and residency) and a joint fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.
“I’ve been given an amazing opportunity and set of tools with which to work,” states Dr. VanderWalde. “I hope to use my research and clinical skills as well as my pharmaceutical industry experience to further establish The West Cancer Center as a regional center of excellence for the delivery of the best and most up-to-date cancer care. Together, we will continue to grow The West Cancer Center’s reputation as a regional center for clinical trial research and in so doing establish best practices to improve the health of our patients.” Dr. VanderWalde has published extensively in the field of cancer as well as in research ethics and has presented at numerous international meetings.
Dr. Vidal earned Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Mississippi, MD and PhD degrees from Tulane University Health Sciences Center. He then moved to Stanford University, completed Internal Medicine internship, residency training, followed by fellowship training in Hematology and Oncology as part of the Stanford Physician Scientist Program and was a faculty member there before moving to the University of Tennessee West Cancer Center as an Assistant Professor.
Throughout his career Dr. Gregory Vidal has had a keen interest in breast cancer research and treatment. His PhD thesis has contributed to the understanding of how the EGFR/HER family of proteins influences breast cancer cells. While at Stanford his research focused on bridging the gap between the laboratory and the clinic in order to develop safe and effective treatments for breast cancer. He has been trained by the leading minds in breast cancer including; Dr. Mark Pegram, internationally renowned translational scientist who has been instrumental in the development of Herceptin and its family of drugs; Dr. Robert Carlson, breast cancer expert and CEO of the national cancer center network (NCCN); and Dr. George Sledge, past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) and international expert in all things breast cancer. He now brings this expertise to Vector Oncology and The West Cancer Center with the hopes of establishing a national and regional center of excellence in treatment and research of Breast Cancer.
Jason C. Chandler, MD, Medical Scientist
A native Memphian, Dr. Chandler attended Christian Brothers University where he received a degree in electrical engineering. He went on to pursue a career in medicine and attended the University Of Tennessee School Of Medicine, receiving his Medical Degree in 2003. Dr. Chandler also completed his postdoctoral training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University Of Tennessee School Of Medicine. During his medical rotations he had the opportunity to meet and work with Drs. Lee Schwartzberg and Arnel Pallera.
Dr. Chandler went on to receive a fellowship in Medical Oncology/Hematology at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus where he concentrated on leukemia research and immunology. With a strong research interest, Dr. Chandler has co-authored several articles appearing in peer-reviewed publications and presented nationally.
Dr. Chandler and his wife, also a native Memphian, have four children.
Junji Lin, Ph.D., MStat., Associate Director, HEOR
Junji has over five years of hands on experience in health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) and over ten years of experience in conducting biology studies. Her rigorous training in biomedical research and advanced analytical methods provides her a strong background to serve as a tactical and independent researcher.
At Vector Oncology, Junji provides scientific oversight and direct leadership of HEOR studies conducted through the use of Vector Oncology data resources. She also consults on statistical methods of other Vector Oncology studies. She takes responsibility for the development of proposals, protocols, statistical analysis plans, and the final disseminations of study results. Junji brings in her industry experience to better serve clients with effective communication and strategic planning.
She was previously a Research Scientist at the Real World Evidence (RWE) Center of Excellence at Pharmerit International, where she led claims analyses, retrospective chart reviews, prospective epidemiology studies, and the development and maintenance of the database for data collection encompassing both RWE and Patient Reported Outcomes studies. Junji previously also served as a Manager in Global Health Economics at Amgen, where she developed and executed HEOR strategies and conducted studies to support products in both Nephrology and Hematology/Oncology therapeutic areas. Junji got her professional HEOR training through a joint Analytical Fellowship Program between the Novartis Outcomes Research and Methods Team and Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center at the University of Utah. Prior to joining the industry, Junji got her Master degree in Biostatistics from the department of Public Health at the University of Utah. She also earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Fudan University, Shanghai, China and was previously a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Medicine at the University of Utah.