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American Brain Tumor Association Announces New Board of Directors Officers and Members

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Chicago, IL (February 27, 2024)—The American Brain Tumor Association announced today the appointment of officers and new members to serve as the Board of Directors. They will advance the ABTA mission under the leadership of Ram Subramanian, Board Chair, and Ralph DeVitto, President and CEO. Their terms began on January 1, 2024.

“Over the past year, the American Brain Tumor Association has experienced tremendous growth, demonstrating the impact of our board’s vision and commitment,” DeVitto said. “As we welcome our new members, we are certain their contributions will help us ‘Meet Hope Head On’ by tripling our research investment, doubling our patient support, and advocating to double federal research funding for brain tumors.”

New members joining the Board are:

Laura Aguilar, M.D., Ph.D.

As a biotech entrepreneur and physician-scientist, Laura has dedicated her career to advancing medical treatments for cancer and addressing unmet medical needs. She earned her medical degree and Ph.D. in Immunology from Baylor College of Medicine, followed by specialized training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Oncology at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Later, she continued her academic pursuits at Harvard Medical School, conducting research in gene- and cell-based therapies while serving as an attending physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Laura co-founded Advantagene, Inc. (later Candel Therapeutics), focusing on developing gene-based immuno-oncology products, initially targeting brain and prostate cancer. As Chief Medical Officer, Laura played a pivotal role in guiding the company from its inception to a successful IPO, overseeing Phase 1 to Phase 3 studies that have enrolled thousands of cancer patients.

Charles “Chad” Schafer, J.D.

Chad is a Partner in the Litigation Group of Sidley Austin LLP—an international law firm with 21 locations across nine countries. He has focused his practice on representing corporations at trial and on appeal in a diverse range of civil litigation matters, in state and federal courts throughout the country.

Chad’s late wife, Juliana Sanchez Schafer, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2004, and worked as a tireless advocate for the ABTA until her passing in August 2021. With Juliana’s passing, Chad has taken on the mantle of fighting to find better treatments, and some day a cure, for brain tumors.

The 2024 ABTA Board of Directors Officers and Members:  

Ram Subramanian—Chair; Bob Kruchten—Vice Chair; Mindee Plugues—Secretary; Danny Monson—Treasurer; Jim Reilly—Immediate Past Chair; and Members—Laura Aguilar, M.D., Ph.D.; Srisupen Andersen, CFA; Mitchel S. Berger, M.D.; Charles Schafer, J.D., and Patti Tsai-Steiner. 

President & CEO  

Ralph A. DeVitto 


Susan Netchin Kramer—Founder  

Linda Gene Goldstein—Co-Founder 

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