Our Team

David M. Vail, DVM
Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology)
Professor and Barbara A. Suran Chair in Comparative Oncology
School of Veterinary Medicine and the Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Co-Director, Comparative Oncology Working Group

Dr. Vail received his DVM from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984 and subsequently completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Colorado State University prior to practicing in his native western Canada for two years. He followed up with a residency in Medical Oncology at the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, completed in 1990. He is currently Professor and Barbara A. Suran Chair in Comparative Oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the UW Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Vail has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and 50 book chapters in the field of veterinary and comparative oncology. David is co-editor of the textbook Small Animal Clinical Oncology. He has served in the past as President of the Veterinary Cancer Society, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Boards for both the Morris Animal Foundation and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation, President of the Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium (CCOGC), and past North American journal editor for Veterinary and Comparative Oncology. He is a founding member of the Comparative Oncology Trials consortium. Dr. Vail has been honored as the recipient of both the Mark L. Morris Sr. Distinguished Research Award and the Pfizer Award for Veterinary Research Excellence.

Jacques Galipeau, M.D.
Anderson Professor in Oncology
Associate Dean for Therapeutics Development
Director, Program for Advanced Cell Therapy (PACT)
Co-Director, Comparative Oncology Working Group

Jacques Galipeau, M.D. FRCP(C) is the Don and Marilyn Anderson Professor of Oncology within the Department of Medicine and UW Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and is the inaugural Associate Dean for Therapeutics Development at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health

Prior to coming to UW Madison, Dr. Galipeau was at the Winship Cancer Center at Emory University, where he founded the Emory Personalized Immunotherapy Center and launched clinical trials of MSC-based treatments for Crohn’s disease and graft versus host disease (GVHD), a life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplant. Prior to this, he was a faculty member at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He is an internationally recognized expert in translational development of cell therapies and the sponsor of a series of FDA-sanctioned clinical trials examining the use of autologous marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells for immune disorders, including Crohn’s disease and graft vs host disease. Dr. Galipeau has also developed the field of fusion engineered cytokines known as fusokines, as a novel pharmaceutical means of treating immune disorders and cancer. Dr. Galipeau is the director of the University of Wisconsin Advanced Cell Therapy Program whose mission is to develop personalized cell therapies for immune and malignant disorders and to promote and deploy first-in-human clinical trials of UW cell therapy innovations to improve outcomes for children and adults. Lab website.

Mark Albertini, M.D.
Associate Professor, Medicine – Hematology/Oncology
Chief of Oncology, Madison VA Hospital

Dr. Mark Albertini is an associate professor (with tenure) of medicine at the University of Wisconsin (UW). Dr. Albertini is a nationally known melanoma researcher who has led treatment efforts for patients with metastatic melanoma at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) since he joined the faculty in 1993. Dr. Albertini established the UWCCC Comprehensive Melanoma Clinic in September 1994 and is the leader of the UWCCC Melanoma Disease-Oriented Team. Dr. Albertini’s lab is interested in the topic of host immunity against cancer and in understanding ways in which these host immune responses can be enhanced. He is especially interested in understanding mechanisms underlying in vivo immunological responses to melanoma. Dr. Albertini has also served as Chief of Oncology at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital since January 2003. His publications are available on PubMed.



Christian Capitini, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics – Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Capitini joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor in 2011, and leads an NIH and NSF funded laboratory in transplant immunology with a focus on immunotherapy of pediatric cancers. The goal of his research group is improve graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effects against pediatric solid tumors, and treat any associated graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) using cell-based therapies in models of allogeneic bone marrow transplant. To improve GVT, he is combining ex vivo activated NK cells with immunocytokines to stimulate NK cell proliferation and activation against several GD2+ tumors. He is also tracking canine and human NK cells in vivo by fluorine-19 MRI. For GVHD, he is educating macrophages ex vivo with MSCs to treat GVHD and acute radiation syndrome. Clinically, Dr. Capitini is a site investigator for clinical trials studying chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells for relapsed leukemia.



Sean B. Fain, Ph.D.
Professor (with Tenure), Medical Physics and Radiology
Director, Image Analysis Core Facility, MRI and CT Imaging

Dr. Fain’s research focuses on quantitative imaging of function using hyperpolarized agents, including pulmonary imaging of lung structure and function using MRI and CT. He hopes to develop and apply new imaging technologies to improve diagnosis, care and therapy of cancer and lung disease through image guidance. Dr. Fain holds 8 patents related to magnetic resonance fluoroscopy, fast MRI methods and angiography.


Reinier Hernandez

Reinier Hernandez, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Dr. Hernandez is currently a Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Jamey Weichert which focuses on translational research of radiolabeled alkylphosphocholine analogs for imaging and targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) of cancer. His doctoral training in radiochemistry and molecular imaging was focused on the development of antibody, antibody fragment, peptide, and small molecule radiotracers for PET imaging of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Currently, he works on the development of therapeutic radiopharmaceutical using beta, alpha, and Auger emitting radioisotopes for the treatment of both solid tumors and hematological malignancies. He brings to the COWG expertise in radiochemistry including isotope and agent development, PET imaging, dosimetry, and TRT.



Robert Jeraj, Ph.D.
Professor (with Tenure), Medical Physics

Dr. Robert Jeraj is a Professor of Medical Physics, Human Oncology, Radiology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he leads the Imaging and Radiation Sciences Program at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center. He is the Director of the Translational Imaging Research Program that oversees concept development, protocol design, and implementation of imaging in trials incorporating novel anti-cancer drugs, and the Director of the Wisconsin Oncology Network of Imaging eXcellence (WONIX), a regional clinical trial network that focuses on extensive imaging and molecular biomarker endpoints. Dr. Jeraj is also a Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he leads a research group of medical physics. Among other duties, Dr. Jeraj is the chair of the Working Group on the Future of Medical Physics Research and Academic Training at AAPM, the largest medical physics organization, and a member of the Biomarker and Experimental Imaging Sciences Committees at ECOG-ACRIN, the largest cooperative clinical trials group in the USA. He also serves as a member of the Medical Imaging Drug Advisory Committee at Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA, as a member of the External Advisory Board of the Metrology for Medical Physics Centre of the National Physics Laboratory (NPL), UK and a member of the International Advisory Board of the National Research Center for Radiotherapy (DCCC Radiotherapy), Denmark. Dr. Jeraj is an author of over 120 published papers, text books and book chapters, and is a frequent invited lecturer and presenter on the use of molecular imaging in therapeutic interventions and general applications of medical physics in radiation and medical oncology.


Ilene Kurzman, M.A., M.S., Ed.D.
Senior Scientist – Department of Medical Sciences
The Barbara A. Suran Comparative Oncology Research Institute
School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Kurzman’s role involves the implementation, coordination, and management of comparative oncology clinical trials for companion animal dogs and cats that have been diagnosed with a spontaneously developed cancer. The results of these clinical trials contribute to the design of future trials for both companion animal and human cancer patients. Dr. Kurzman has been active in this role since the UW School of Veterinary Medicine opened in 1983 and is a past President of the Veterinary Comparative Oncology Group.


Zachary Morris, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Vice Chair, Human Oncology

Dr. Morris is a physician-scientist with both clinical and translational research. His clinical focus is on the treatment of patients with melanoma and soft tissue sarcomas. His independent translational research laboratory focuses on the mechanisms whereby radiation may enhance the response to immunotherapies. He also serves as program director for the University of Wisconsin Bentson Research Fellowship. Read more about his research here.



Paul Sondel, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Oncology, Pediatrics

Paul Sondel, MD, PhD, is the Reed and Carolee Walker Professor in Pediatric Oncology at the University of Wisconsin — Madison. Dr. Sondel has been a leader in scientific policy through multiple national committee roles, including the National Institutes of Health, The American Cancer Society, The Children’s Oncology Group (COG), The National Cancer Institute, where he was a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where he was the Chair of their Scientific Advisory Committee and their cancer center’s external advisory board, where he remains a current member.

Clinically he has worked with COG in contributing to the progress of the past 30 years in the development of curative treatments for childhood cancers. He is devoted to his own patients, and committed to leading a multidisciplinary team that is providing comprehensive and compassionate, state-of-the art treatment for all childhood cancer and hematology patients at the University of Wisconsin. The Sondel Laboratory pursues basic, preclinical and clinical mechanisms to induce in vivo activated innate immune effector cells to provide anti-tumor benefit.


Jamey Weichert, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Radiology
Director, Contrast Agent Laboratory

Dr. Weichert’s lab is focused on the discovery and development of new tumor-targeted CT, MRI, optical and PET imaging agents as well as therapeutic anticancer agents. These diapeutic agents are conceptualized via a biochemical approach whereby compounds known to be stored or synthesized by the organ or tissue of interest, including tumors, serve as the delivery platform for the imaging or therapeutic moiety. A founding aim of the lab is to discover new agents, synthesize and evaluate them preclinically in small animal models and then translate promising agents to clinical evaluation and commercialization. Fenestra-LC and VC, two commercially available microCT contrast agents, as well as CLR1404, a radioiodinated alkylphosphocholine (APC) diapeutic agent that has been evaluated in 11 clinical PET imaging and molecular radiotherapy trials of a wide variety of solid and heme malignancies, were developed in my lab. Recently we have expanded the utility of our APC agents to include metal chelates which are more efficacious and better tolerated than their radioiodinated predecessors. Moreover, we have recently discovered that selectively delivering relatively low radiation doses to tumors via APCs has a profound immunomodulatory effect that appears to enhance systemic anti-tumor response to immune checkpoint inhibition and may prevent concomitant immune tolerance from peripheral tumors when used with in situ vaccine strategies. Preliminary studies in mice that combine APC agents with immunotherapeutics have resulted in complete regression of established tumors and resistance to subsequent re-challenge with the same cancer cells, suggesting tumor-specific immune memory. We are also developing the Gd chelate for tumor selective MR imaging, motion management in xRT and for use in neutron capture therapy. He currently holds over 40 issued and pending patents in the area of targeted imaging and therapy agents and also established and currently serve as the faculty director of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center Small Animal Imaging Facility. Publications can be found at myNCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/browse/collection/43963220/?sort=date&direction=descending