ACSR Principal Investigators


Michael S. McGrath, MD, PhD - HIV virology and KS
Dr. McGrath is the co-MPI of the ACSR, Principal Investigator of the AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource Central Operations and Data Coordinating Center (CODCC) as well as Principal Investigator of the University of California, San Francisco ACSR. Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, Dr. McGrath has been involved in studying AIDS malignancy pathogenesis and is most interested in the role of HIV infected macrophages in a variety of HIV associated diseases including lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma and AIDS dementia. Over the past several years, he has played a critical role in defining the role of HIV evolution in tissue based sites of HIV persistence.    
Sylvia Silver, DA - Microbiology and Biobanking

Dr. Sylvia Silver earned her D.A. in 1977 from The Catholic University of America. Directing the operations of biorepositories for over 20 years, Dr. Silver currently serves as one of the MPIs to the AIDS and Cancer Specimen Resource, director of the AIDS Malignancy Clinical Trials Consortium domestic biorepository, and is the GW Cancer Center Biorepository Core Director. Dr. Silver lends her many years of biobanking expertise to other biobanks globally and participates on international advisory committees in need of assistance with biobank development.


RBR Site PIs

Michael Ittmann, MD, PhD - Clinical Translational Medicine and Non-AIDS-Defining Cancers

Dr. Ittmann holds the William D. Tigertt Chair of Pathology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is a Board certified Anatomic pathologist with 33 years of experience in pathology and is Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. He has carried out a funded research program in prostate cancer over the last 23 years resulting in 219 scientific publications. He also directs the Human Tissue and Pathology Core at Baylor College of Medicine. He is currently a member of the Cancer Biomarkers Study Section for the National Cancer Institute.

Lisa Rimsza, MD - Hematopoietic Cancers, particularly NHL

Dr. Rimsza, Principal Investigator of the Science & Technology Core and Southwest Regional Biorepository, is located at the Mayo Clinic – Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Rimsza is a board certified Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist with subspecialty certification in Hematology. Her translational research laboratory focuses on investigation of diagnostic/prognostic biomarker tests for lymphoid malignancies, tumor immunosurveillance, and chemotherapy-resistance. Dr. Rimsza has 20+ years of experience in tissue banking including fresh frozen and formalin fixed tissues, serum, plasma, viable frozen cell suspensions, and quality control implementation.

Johann Schneider, MBChB, MMed (Anat Path), FCPath (SA) - Anatomical pathologist; dermatopathology

Dr. Schneider is an anatomical pathologist with an interest in dermatopathology and HIV/AIDS related malignancies. Through his collaboration with the ACSR since 2009 he has gained experience and knowledge regarding the science and the operation of a biobank. Following a successful application in 2013, he became the PI of the NCI-supported Aids Malignancy Consortium (AMC) and ACSR Sub Saharan Africa Regional Biospecimen Repository at Stellenbosch University. His research focuses on priority research areas that are relevant to South Africa and Africa, including cancer with a focus on HIV-related malignancies such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, and cutaneous tuberculosis.

ACSR Key Personnel

Jeffrey M. Bethony, PhD - Virology, Tropical Medicine and Vaccine Development

Dr. Bethony is the Co-Investigator of the George Washington University ACSR and the biorepository for the NCI-funded AIDS Malignancy Clinical Trials Consortium (AMC). Dr. Bethony provides immunological and biorepository support for several ongoing vaccine clinical trials, including Phase 1 first-in-humans studies. He is actively involved in biospecimen science and has conducted several studies on the affect of storage duration and material types on the quality of derivatives from biobanked materials.

Paige M. Bracci, PhD, MS, MPH - Molecular and Genetic Cancer Epidemiology, and Biostatistics

Dr. Bracci is a cancer epidemiologist at UCSF who has been actively involved in the design and conduct of population and clinic-based studies of cancer, particularly lymphoma, pancreatic cancer and glioma, for more than 20 years. She brings to the ACSR an expertise in study design and analysis methodology, and complementary research interests related to immunological factors associated with cancer risk and prognosis as well as the integration of Big Data into biorepositories.

Patricia D. Castro, PhD - RBR, Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Castro earned her PhD in 2001 from the University of Texas-Health Science Center in Houston, TX. Her career has focused on studying the genetics of cancer mutations and biology of leukemia and prostate cancer. Presently, she is the Laboratory Director of the Human Tissue Acquisition and Pathology (HTAP) Core at Baylor College of Medicine. Her role in HTAP is to facilitate the collection, processing and molecular analysis of human tissues as well as to manage services for histology, immunohistochemistry, and imaging of research tissues from mouse or human origin.

Debra Leiolani Garcia, MPA - Operations Director of the ACSR's Central Office and Data Coordinating Center (CODCC)

Ms. Debra Leiolani Garcia joined the ACSR in 2000 as the Operations Director of the ACSR’s Central Office and Data Coordinating Center (CODCC) located at the University of California, San Francisco. Ms. Garcia manages the day-to-day planning, organization, integration, coordination, and harmonization of the ACSR’s activities. Ms. Garcia also shares her expertise as the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) Chair of the Membership and Marketing Committee and Certified Repository Technician Task Force.

Ashokkumar A. Patel, MD - Informatics, Biorepository Database Development, Data Integration
Dr. Patel joined the ACSR as Principal Investigator of Informatics in 2011. He leads the Central Information Technology Services (CITS) division of the ASCR Central Operations and Data Coordinating Center (CODCC). He has over 15 years of practical experience and understands the challenges of managing biorepository informatics projects. Dr. Patel received his informatics training at the University of Pittsburgh. During his training, he lead many activities including developing common data elements, methods for data integration, honest broker processes, and inventory management tools for several multi-center biorepository projects. He has served on the editorial boards of The Biopreservation and Biobanking Journal, Journal of Pathology Informatics, and the ISBER Best Practices.
Micheline Sanderson, PhD (Internal Medicine), MSc (Molecular and Cell Biology) - RBR, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Biospecimen Repository
Dr. Sanderson manages the Sub-Saharan African Regional Biospecimen Repository located in the Division of Anatomical Pathology at Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg Hospital, South Africa. She completed her PhD at Stellenbosch University in 2011, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the South African Medical Research Council. Here her research focus was the anti-adipogenic and anti-diabetic effects of nutraceuticals including Aspalathus linearis or Rooibos, culminating in several peer-reviewed publications. Her skillset include cell culture, nucleic acid and protein analysis and molecular techniques including biochemical and cell-based assays and qPCR. Her current research interests include biobanking science and technology, HIV-and HPV-related cancers and community engagement.
Cheryl A. Stoddart, PhD - HIV Pathogenesis and Virology
Dr. Stoddart is a virologist and Professor of Medicine In Residence at UCSF. She has been the Principal Investigator since 2000 of a consecutively awarded NIH program for HIV therapeutics development in humanized mice. A major goal of this effort is the use of state-of-the art techniques in dual immunochemistry and in situ hybridization to characterize tissue HIV reservoirs in the presence of fully suppressive antiretroviral therapy. Her scientific interests center on interactions between viruses and their hosts, in particular the study of molecular determinants of viral pathogenesis and the role of heat shock protein in HIV persistence.