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Bio Ascend, a Vaniam Group Company, Reconvenes Inaugural Class of the “Academy of Next Wave of Investigators™” in CLL and NHL

Early-career clinical investigators continue year-long mentorship and professional development program led by international thought leaders
The Academy of Next Wave of Investigators logo

SAN DIEGO, December 11, 2023 — Bio Ascend, Vaniam Group’s medical education company, this past weekend reconvened the inaugural class of its Academy of Next Wave of Investigators™ at a networking reception during the 65th annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting. These young clinical investigators are participating in a year-long opportunity to engage in live and virtual career development seminars with international thought leaders in the fields of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

“This next generation of hematology leaders is at a critical moment in their promising careers,” said Kraig Steubing, Head of Bio Ascend and Senior Vice President of Strategic Engagement at Vaniam Group. “By providing these early-career investigators ongoing mentorship across a wide range of topics – spanning research, grant applications, presentation skills, career development, and leadership – the Academy’s faculty is passing the torch, while bolstering our shared commitment to improve care for patients diagnosed with CLL and NHL. We wholeheartedly thank the members of our inaugural class, our distinguished faculty, and the program’s sponsors.”

Hua-Jay Cherng, MD, Assistant Professor at Columbia University Medical Center and one of the participants in the 2023-2024 class of the Academy of Next Wave Investigators, added: “I’m grateful for this opportunity to foster peer and mentor networks across the CLL and NHL community. Regardless of their level of scientific expertise, newer faculty and fellows often know very little about occupational requirements like how to secure grant funding or how to design an investigator-initiated study. The Next Wave program provides a structured forum to discuss career-critical topics like these, and I expect that this professional development will not only pay immediate dividends, but that the relationships formed here will continue to serve as a source of collaboration and mentorship well into the future.” 

The 2023-2024 class first convened in April at a two-day conference in Arizona, where the esteemed faculty shared lessons on how the inaugural class can enhance their research and expand their impact on the future of patient care. In the subsequent months, the early-career investigators have been meeting regularly with their assigned mentors, prior to reconvening in person at the ASH annual meeting this past weekend.

The Academy’s faculty of accomplished thought leaders, who continue to serve as mentors for the Next Wave of Investigators throughout 2023-2024, include:

  • (Co-Chair) John Leonard, MD, Richard T. Silver Distinguished Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Senior Associate Dean for Innovation and Initiative, Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • (Co-Chair) Matthew Davids, MD, MMSc, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Lymphoma, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School
  • Jonathan Cohen, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Co-Director of the Lymphoma Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • Nicole Lamanna, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies Section of the Hematology/Oncology Division, Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Javier Munoz, MD, MS, MBA, FACP, Lymphoma Program Director, Mayo Clinic Arizona
  • Loretta Nastoupil, MD, Deputy Chair Section Chief of Indolent Lymphoma & New Drug Development, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Sameer Parikh, MBBS, Consultant and Assistant Professor, Mayo Clinic Rochester
  • Jennifer Woyach, MD, D Warren Brown Professor of Leukemia Research, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

The inaugural class, each nominated by their fellowship directors or thought leaders in these therapeutic areas, include:

  • Aseel Alsouqi, MD, Hematology/Oncology Fellow, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Emily Ayers, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia
  • Titas Banerjee, MD, Hematology/Oncology Fellow, Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute
  • Ayushi Chauhan, MBBS, Assistant Professor, Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University
  • Hua-Jay Cherng, MD, Assistant Professor, Columbia University Medical Center
  • Dai Chihara, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Caitie Gribbin, MD, Hematology/Oncology Fellow, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Ashwath Gurumurthi, MBBS, Lymphoma Fellow, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Paul Hampel, MD, Assistant Professor, Mayo Clinic
  • Swetha Kambhampati, MD, Assistant Professor, City of Hope
  • Yasmin Karimi, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan
  • Mwanasha Merrill, MD, Hematology/Oncology Fellow, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Massachusetts General Brigham
  • Patrizia Mondello, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mayo Clinic
  • Christine Ryan, MD, Hematology/Oncology Fellow, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Cancer Center
  • Claire Yun Kyoung Ryu, MD, PhD, Hematology/Oncology Fellow, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Paolo Strati, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Seda Tolu, MD, Chief Fellow, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Mazie Tsang, MD, Assistant Professor, Mayo Clinic
  • Yumeng Zhang, MD, Chief Fellow, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute

About Bio Ascend

Part of Vaniam Group, Bio Ascend is an independent medical education company committed to supporting healthcare providers in their efforts to translate innovative science into clinical practice. The Bio Ascend team has deep oncology and hematology expertise with a proven ability to distill complex scientific ideas into their essential components, as well as extensive experience in planning, executing, and assessing meaningful education for clinicians. For more information, visit

About Vaniam Group

Vaniam Group is a people-first, purpose-driven, independent network of healthcare and scientific communications agencies committed to helping biopharmaceutical companies realize the full potential of their compounds across oncology, virology, and rare disease. Founded in 2007 as a virtual-by-design organization, Vaniam Group harnesses the talents and expertise of team members around the world. For more information, visit  

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