Cancer Research Team

Medical Oncologist

Ariel Birnbaum, MD, is a medical oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio, completed his residency training at the University of Minnesota hospitals, and completed his fellowship in hematology/oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His clinical interests include combined modality treatment for lung cancer and end of life care. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical oncology and a participant in the Brown University Oncology Group.

Director of Clinical Research, Director of Cancer Drug Development, and Associate Director of Division of Hematology/Oncology

Benedito A Carneiro, MD, is a medical oncologist with research interests in developmental therapeutics, solid organ malignancies and genitourinary cancers. As director of Cancer Drug Development for the Lifespan Cancer Institute of Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Newport Hospital, and associate director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Dr. Carneiro leads clinical trials with novel treatments for cancers of the kidney, bladder, prostate, lung, pancreas, colon and other solid tumors.  His research explores innovative immunotherapy and genomic-driven treatment strategies.

His work has been published in several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He is a member of many professional societies and scientific committees, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association of Cancer Research. Dr. Carneiro speaks English and Portuguese. 

Clinical Director, Radiation Oncology

Thomas DiPetrillo, MD, is clinical director of radiation oncology at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals. He is a leading authority on a variety of radiation treatments for cancer, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. DiPetrillo is a pioneer in the use of IMRT, a noninvasive procedure that allows physicians to pinpoint delivery of radiation therapy, resulting in better tumor control with less toxicity. He is also an expert in the use of HDR brachytherapy, a treatment that involves the use of a robotic arm to deliver a radioactive “seed” to a tumor. 

DiPetrillo is a graduate of the University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed his residency at New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center). He is an associate professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and an adjunct associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Director of Women's Cancers, Lifespan Cancer Institute, Clinical Director, Gynecologic Medical Oncology and Director of Medical Oncology, Rhode Island Hospital

Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO, is an oncologist who specializes in women's cancers. He is the director of women's cancers at Lifespan Cancer Institute and director of medical oncology at Rhode Island Hospital. He is also a professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. His research interests are in novel treatments of women’s cancers and issues related to survivorship, particularly as they relate to sexual health after cancer for both men and women.

He is a prolific researcher and writer, and he has authored hundreds of publications, including peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters. He is an active member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, SWOG cancer research network, and the National Consortium of Breast Cancers, of which he has served as both vice president and president. 

Neuro-Oncology Medical Lead, Lifespan Cancer Institute

Heinrich Elinzano, MD is an adult neurologist, with subspecialty training in neuro-oncology and spinal cord injury medicine, and is also an assistant professor of neurology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He is experienced in the management of tumors of the central nervous system and has a particular interest in conducting clinical trials for the treatment of primary brain tumors and the neurological complications of systemic cancer.

Elinzano completed his neurology residency at St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center of New York, his spinal cord injury medicine fellowship training at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and his neuro-oncology fellowship training at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and The Neuro-Oncology Branch of the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Neurologic Diseases and Stroke. Prior to his current position at Rhode Island Hospital, he was an adult neuro-oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center.

Clinical Director, Breast Medical Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital

Mary Ann Fenton, MD, FACP is an oncologist at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and a clinical associate professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Her specialty area is the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Director of Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Jaroslaw T. Hepel, MD, serves as director of stereotactic radiosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital and as an assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He also serves as associate director of the Tufts-Affiliated Hospitals Residency Training Program in Radiation Oncology. He is board certified in radiation oncology by the American Board of Radiology. Hepel received his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and earned his medical degree at the University of Rochester. He completed internal medicine residency at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, and then went on to complete residency in the specialty of radiation oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA. 

Hepel has broad experience and knowledge, and is active in caring for patients with a wide range of malignant diseases. However, he holds a particular interest and clinical expertise in the treatment of breast cancer and in stereotactic radiosurgery/radiotherapy for diseases involving the lung, brain, spine, liver and other sites. He is not only very active in the clinic but also has a keen academic interest in these areas. He has published several book chapters and multiple scientific papers, and has regularly presented his work at national meetings. Through his academic work, he strives to improve treatment outcomes for patients not only in regard to achieving higher cure rates but also to minimizing treatment side effects.

Director, Lifespan Cancer Institute Thoracic Multidisciplinary Clinic

Humera Khurshid, MD, is the director of the Lifespan Cancer Institute’s Thoracic Multidisciplinary Clinic, where she sees patients and collaborates with a team of specialists to coordinate patient care for newly diagnosed lung cancer patients. She is a medical oncologist with a special interest in geriatric oncology and the care of older lung cancer patients. She is also an assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Radiation Oncologist

Timothy J. Kinsella, MD, is an internationally recognized radiation oncologist and a research scholar professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kinsella received his undergraduate degree from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY; a master’s degree with honors from Brown University; and both his master of science in radiation biology and his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, NY. He completed his residency training in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, fellowship training in medical oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, and his residency training in radiation oncology at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program. He was a fellow of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. Kinsella has been editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Radiation Oncology and editorial board member of eight other journals. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and radiation oncology. His areas of clinical expertise include the treatment of bone and soft tissue sarcomas, brain tumors, lymphomas, gastrointestinal cancers and pediatric cancers. He has laboratory expertise in the development of intraoperative radiotherapy, radiation sensitizing drugs and small molecules that modify DNA repair processing of radiation damage.

Radiation Oncologist

Kara Leonard, MD, is a radiation oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Leonard received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Columbia University in New York, her master of science from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and her medical degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. She completed an internship in internal medicine at Albany Medical Center, followed by a residency in radiation oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She specializes in treating breast, gastrointestinal, and head and neck cancers. She is a member of several national honor societies, including Alpha Omega Alpha and Psi Chi.

Oncologist

Mary L. Lopresti, DO, is an oncologist who specializes in breast and gynecological cancers at Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan Cancer Institute. She serves as assistant professor of hematology oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and is also an assistant program director of the Brown University hematology oncology fellowship program.

Dr. Lopresti is currently involved in breast cancer research studies at Brown University and Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals. Her  work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters. She is a member of the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Hematologist/Oncologist
Chief, Hematology Oncology

Howard P. Safran, MD is the chief of hematology/oncology at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals, and the medical director for the Brown University Oncology Group. Safran is a professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a nationally recognized leader in the development of new treatments for upper GI cancers. He is a member of the U.S. National Cancer Institute's pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancer task forces.

Medical Oncologist and Palliative Care Specialist

Angela Taber, MD, is a palliative care specialist and medical oncologist at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island, The Miriam, and Newport hospitals. She has a special interest in issues involving patient quality of life, improving doctor-patient communication, and palliative care for patients with lung cancer. She is board certified in palliative care, and is an active participant in the Brown University Oncology Group, where she is involved in the development of clinical research protocols.

Taber earned her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, and completed her residency and hematology-oncology fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and has been honored nationally for outstanding compassion and cancer care by the American Cancer Society. She is also the American Cancer Society’s designee to the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council for the state of Rhode Island.

Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department Team

Michael Almonte, MBA, BS, BA
Regulatory Coordinator

Michael Almonte, MBA, BS, BA is a regulatory coordinator for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. His focus is on hematology and neuro-oncology clinical trials and research. Michael has experience in compliance contract oversight and quality assurance. He received his bachelor’s degree in health sciences, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhode Island College, and a master’s degree in business administration from Salve Regina University. 

Katey Amaral, BSBE
Senior Clinical Research Assistant

Katey Amaral, BSBE, is a senior clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute, working primarily on Phase I clinical trials. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on Cell and Tissue Engineering and a minor degree in Chemistry from Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Jasmine Anderson, BS
Clinical Research Assistant

Jasmine Anderson, BS, is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Biopsychology, Cognition, & Neuroscience.

Kate Anderson, MPH, RN, OCN
Research Nurse

Kate Anderson, MPH, RN, OCN, is an oncology certified research nurse for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her clinical specialty is genitourinary oncology at the Miriam Hospital with a focus on novel therapies including immunotherapy and vaccine trials. She is a member of the Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society and has degrees from Providence College, the University of Connecticut, and Rhode Island College. 

Princess Azeez, RN, OCN
Research Nurse

Princess Azeez, RN, OCN is a research nurse with focus in hematology blood and solid tumor trials with the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. She has over a decade of inpatient hematology/oncology experience, several years of working as an infusion nurse in LCI’s outpatient clinic , as well as  nurse navigator experience, where she assisted patients navigate through the healthcare system starting from the time of diagnosis through survivorship. Princess received her nursing degree from CCRI.

John Baekey, MS
Clinical Research Assistant

John Baekey is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. He helps to run the Phase One Clinic, which coordinates all of the first-in-human drug trials across all disease sites. John received his Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA and his Master of Health Sciences degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD.

Carolyn Bartley, BA, CCRP
LOCR Operations Manager

Carolyn Bartley, BA, CCRP, is the Operations Manager for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and holds a professional certification in clinical research. She manages the day to day operations of the department. Additionally, she manages clinical research assistants and  the research administrators across all sites. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Providence College.

Celine Burns, BS
Senior Clinical Research Assistant

Celine Burns, BS, is a senior clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her primary focus is on Phase I clinical trials. She received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Pace University in New York City.

Matthew Cardeiro, BS
Clinical Research Assistant

Matthew Cardeiro, BS, is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. His primary responsibilities and clinical interests include Phase I clinical trials. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Providence College.

Lindsey Cavanagh, RN, BSN
Research Nurse

Lindsey Cavanagh, RN, BSN, is a registered nurse who brings more than seven years of oncology experience to the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department.  Her focus is Gastrointestinal Cancer and Melanoma with a special interest in her patients’ quality of life during and after their healthcare experience.  She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Rhode Island College.

Sopha Dionson, BSN
Research Nurse

Sopha Dionson, BSN, is a research nurse with the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute In addition to focusing on melanoma clinical trials, Dionson has extensive experience with inpatient cancer care and is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.

Faith Hassinger, RN, BSN
Research Nurse

Faith Hassinger, RN, BSN, is a research nurse with the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute with a focus on oncology breast and gynecological clinical trials. Hassinger received a bachelor of science degree in Nursing from The University of Washington and a bachelor of science degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota, and she is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, RI & SE Massachusetts, and Boston chapters

Ray Iannuccillo, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, BCOP
Pharmacist

Ray Iannuccillo, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, BCOP, is a research pharmacist with the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters in Business Administration from Northeastern University. He is a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist and a board certified oncology pharmacist. He joined Lifespan in July 2018.

Michaela Kastura, BS
Clinical Research Assistant

Michaela Kastura, BS, is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her focus in on pancreatic oncology, melanoma and breast oncology clinical trials. She received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Grand Valley State University. 

Taylor Kolvek, BA
Clinical Research Assistant

Taylor Kolvek, BA, is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan oncology clinical research department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her focus is on melanoma and gastrointestinal oncology clinical trials. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in psychology from Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI.

Rachel Kuhlman, BA
Clinical Research Assistant

Rachel Kuhlman, BA, is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her primary focus is on Phase II and III clinical trials for the treatment of breast cancer. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with summa cum laude honors from of the University of Rhode Island.. 

Kim-Marie Lawrence
Senior Department Research Administrator

Kim-Marie Lawrence is a senior department research administrator in the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Finance Office. Prior to joining the Lifespan Cancer Institute, Kim was employed in the Office of Research Administration for over 10 years. She is a graduate of Providence College. 

Cynthia Leach, BS, CCRP
Senior Regulatory Coordinator

Cynthia Leach bio to be: Cynthia Leach, BS, CCRP, is a senior regulatory coordinator for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and holds a professional certification in clinical research. She has experience in pediatric oncology, breast cancer and radiation oncology clinical trials and research. She joined the department as a clinical research assistant before she served as senior clinical research assistant and regulatory coordinator before being promoted to senior regulatory coordinator. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and health from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA and is a member of the Society of Clinical Research Associates.

Ryanne Leite
Clinical Research Program Coordinator

Ryanne Leite, BS, is a clinical research program coordinator for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Newport Hospital. She received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Jose do Rosario Vellano University – UNIFENAS Brazil. Ryanne speaks English and Portuguese.  

Alise Lombardo, BS, CCRP
LOCR Regulatory & Quality Manager

Alise Lombardo, BS, CCRP, is the Regulatory & Quality Manager  for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and holds a professional certification in clinical research. In addition to managing the department study portfolio and leading the department Quality Committee, she manages the regulatory coordinators and the clinical research program coordinator across all sites. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Rhode Island College.

Denise Luppe, RN, BSN, OCN, CCRP
Research Nurse Supervisor

Denise Luppe, RN, BSN, OCN, CCRP, is the Oncology Research Nurse Supervisor for the Lifespan Cancer Institute. She holds professional certifications in both oncology nursing and clinical research. Her clinical interests include building a scientific foundation for clinical practice, maximizing symptom management and focusing on individualized quality care of patients and their families.

Jessica C McMahon, RN-BSN, OCN
Research Nurse

Jessica C McMahon, RN-BSN, OCN, is an oncology certified research nurse for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department with a focus on lung, brain, head and neck clinical trials at Rhode Island Hospital.  Her clinical interests include building a scientific foundation for clinical practice and being a trusted advocate for patients and their families.  She earned her Associate Degree in Nursing from New England Institute of Technology and her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Kaplan University.

Maria Medeiros, RN, BSN
Research Nurse

Maria Medeiros, BSN, is a registered nurse with a background in cardiology and renal transplant research before joining the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. She is a graduate of Rhode Island College.

Maria Andrea Monckeberg , MS, RPh, BCOP
Clinical Pharmacist Specialist

Maria Andrea Monckeberg , MS, RPh, BCOP, is a clinical pharmacist specialist for Investigational Services at Lifespan. She received a Food Engineer degree from the University of Chile (1982), a Masters in Food Science and Nutrition (1987) and a BS, in Pharmacy (1993) from University of Rhode Island. She is a board certified oncology pharmacist. Maria Andrea has served as an investigational pharmacist at Lifespan since 1999. She leads the Investigational Drug Service at Lifespan.

Carlos A Moradel, BS
Research Administrator

Carlos A Moradel, BS, is a research administrator in the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Finance Office. He received his bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration from the City University of New York- Herbert H. Lehman College in Bronx, New York. He completed his capstone internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a Project Administrator under the Senior Project Manager for the Pathology Department.  He is one of the authors of "Whole Slide Imaging Equivalency and Efficiency Study: Experience at a Large Academic Center" and worked on the implementation of an enterprise wide digital pathology system for primary diagnosis.

Jennifer Renaud, RN, OCN
Research Nurse

Jennifer Renaud, RN, OCN, is a research nurse with the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute.  Her focus is on phase one clinical trials.  She has experience in inpatient and outpatient oncology,  and became a Research Nurse in 2018.

Emily Rhodes, BS
Clinical Research Assistant

Emily Rhodes, BS, is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her focus is on breast cancer and hematology-oncology clinical trials. She received her bachelor’s degree in health sciences at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

Jordan Robison, BA
Clinical Research Assistant

Jordan Robison, BA, is a clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her focus is on neuro-oncology and hematology-oncology clinical trials. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Salve Regina University.

Vallerie Rosati, RN, BSN, OCN
Research Nurse

Vallerie Rosati, RN, BSN, OCN, is a certified oncology nurse in the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department in the Lifespan Cancer Institute.  She has extensive oncologic experience in the acute setting, and currently focuses on breast cancer and hematologic disorders.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Rivier University and is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society.  She is particularly passionate about in patient advocacy and providing support for the entire family. 

David Shogbon, MBA
Research Administrator

David Shogbon  is a research administrator for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. David has experience in pre and post award management of sponsored and non-sponsored grant funding as well as clinical trials and has worked in both academia and hospital. He received a master’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts.

Stephanie Silva, PharmD
Research Pharmacist

Stephanie Silva, PharmD is a research pharmacist with the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  

Richa Sou , BA
Regulatory Coordinator

Richa Sou , BA, is a regulatory coordinator at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. She has experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology and served as a research assistant, senior research assistant, and  clinical coordinator for the Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit before joining the Oncology Research Department. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Pensacola Christian College , FL.

Sunam Suresh, MS, MBA
Research Administrator

Sunam Suresh is a research administrator in the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Finance Office. Sunam has experience in pre and post award management of clinical trials. She received her master’s degree in Business and Science in Biotechnology and genomics from Rutgers University.

Sandra Taber, RPh, BCOP
Clinical Pharmacist

Sandra Taber, RPh, BCOP is a clinical pharmacist for Investigational Services at Lifespan. She received her BS in pharmacy in 1990 from University of Rhode Island. She is a board certified oncology pharmacist. Sandra has served as an investigational pharmacist at Lifespan since 2011. She joined Lifespan in May 1990.

John Vatkevich, BS, CCRP
Senior Clinical Research Assistant

John Vatkevich, BS, CCRP, is a senior clinical research assistant for the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research Department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and holds a professional certification in clinical research. He received his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in applied exercise science with a clinical focus.

Vivian Yang, RN
Research Nurse

Vivian Yang, RN, is an infusion/research nurse with the Lifespan Oncology Clinical Research department at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Her primary focus is phase I clinical trials. She received her Bachelor in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut and is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing at Simmons University.