Executive Committee

Jill Macoska, PhD, UMass Boston
Alton J. Brann Endowed Distinguished Professor in Science and Mathematics; UMass Boston

Adan Colon-Carmona, PhD, UMass Boston
Associate Professor, Biology; UMass Boston

Vish Viswanath, PhD, DFCI
Professor of Health Communication, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School Of Public Health; Professor of Health Communication, Population Sciences, Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Andrew Grosovsky, ScD, UMass Boston
Dean, College of Science and Mathematics; UMass Boston

Deborah Goff, PhD, DFCI
Business Manager, Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Deputy Associate Director, Program and Operations Support, DF/HCC, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Joan Becker, EdD, EdM, UMass Boston
Vice Provost, Academic Support Services; UMass Boston

Karen Burns White, MS, DFCI
Deputy Associate Director, Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, Office of Research Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Zong-Guo Xia, PhD, UMass Boston
Vice Provost, Research; UMass Boston

Laura Hayman, PhD, RN, FAAN, UMass Boston
Associate Dean for Research, College of Nursing; UMass Boston

Donna Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAD, DFCI
The Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Nursing Research Associate Professor of Medicine; Harvard Medical School 

EC Bios:

Jill Macoska, PhD

Dr. Macoska is the Alton J. Brann Distinguished Professor in Science and Mathematics and Director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. Endowed Chair and Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Prior to her appointment at the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Macoska held the position of Full Professor with tenure in the Department of Urology and Programs in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, and Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics in the University of Michigan School of Medicine.  While at Michigan she held several senior leadership positions including Associate Director for the Genitourinary Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center (2002-2006). At the National level, Dr. Macoska has served on peer review for several journals and funding agencies and as a strategic participant in several advisory councils and workshops.  She is the current Vice-President and President-elect of the Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR) previously served as Co-Chair and Member of the Organizing Committees for the 2010 and 2011 Annual Fall SBUR Symposia, and Chair the Organizing Committee for the 2012 Annual Symposium.  Dr. Macoska has achieved national recognition in the area of basic research in aging and urologic disease, and in that capacity served as Co-Chair of the 2011 American Urological Association Foundation Summer Research Conference on “Aging and Urologic Disease”.

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Adan Colon-Carmona, PhD

Adan Colon-CarmonaDr. Adán Colón-Carmona is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His basic science research projects are focused on: understanding how plant growth is influenced by physical and chemical environments, the roles of the motor proteins kinesins in check-point control and organ development; and understanding bacterial-plant interactions in the root system. Dr. Colón-Carmona received his BS degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his PhD from the University of California, Irvine. He did his post-doctoral training on growth control and cell signaling at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, Davis.

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Vish Viswanath, PhD

Dr. Viswanath's work, drawing from literatures in communication science, social epidemiology, and social and health behavior sciences, focuses on translational communication science to influence public health policy and practice. His primary research is in documenting the relationship between communication inequalities, poverty and health disparities, and knowledge translation through community-based research to address health disparities. His research is supported by funding from private and public agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Andrew Grosovsky, ScD

Andrew GrosovskyDr. Andrew Grosovsky, is Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at UMass Boston. He has served in a leadership capacity on the U56 since he joined the University in 2007. He received his training in physiology and cancer biology from Harvard University. Prior to his appointment at UMass Boston, Dean Grosovsky served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at the University of California Riverside and as a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience. Dean Grosovsky’s research interests focus on the mechanisms of environmental carcinogenesis, with an emphasis on mutagenesis, recombination, and genomic instability in human cells. His research has been supported by major grants from NIH, US Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Dr. Grosovsky is an invested leader; skilled in creating and directing initiatives to improve retention and graduation rates among diverse undergraduate and graduate student populations and building opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaborations among faculty.

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Joan Becker, EdD, EdM

Joan BeckerJoan Becker is the Vice Provost for Academic Support Services and Undergraduate Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she provides leadership for Undergraduate Studies, the University Advising Center, Academic Support Programs, the Office of Career Services and Internships, the Ross Center for Disability Services, and Pre-collegiate and Educational Support Programs.  She oversees 11 grant-funded programs which generate $4 million annually and are an important pipeline for low-income, first-generation students to pursue and successfully complete undergraduate and graduate education. Among the university committees she has served on are the University of Massachusetts Life Sciences Task Force and its workforce subcommittee, the Urban Health and Public Policy Research Cluster and STEM Learning Research Cluster Work Groups, and the University Research Council. She is currently chairing a university-wide committee charged with developing and implementing a plan to improve the university’s undergraduate graduation rates and is a member of the Strategic Planning Implementation Design Team. Becker represents Boston’s higher education institutions on the Success Boston Work Group and is a member of the Boston After School and Beyond Advisory Committee.  She also is actively involved in state, regional, and national initiatives focused on advancing educational opportunities for low-income and minority youth.

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Karen Burns White, MS

Karen Burns WhiteAs Deputy Associate Director of the Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Karen Burns White coordinates the planning and implementation of the Center's efforts to increase minority participation at all levels of the Cancer Center activities. Ms. Burns White has co-led the implementation of an integrated structure that involves a multi-prong approach including community engagement, cultural competency, recruitment and retention of minority faculty and training.  In 2002, Ms. Burns White secured the first training grant supplement to the existing P30 cancer center grant that established a pipeline program, known as the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE), to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in cutting-edge cancer research. This successful, high-profile program provides research opportunities at the undergraduate, pre- and postdoctoral, and faculty levels. Ms Burns White and her colleagues have strengthened the cancer center’s training portfolio by increasing both NIH and foundation funding to support student training initiatives and the number of students who have benefited by their CURE experiences. Ms Burns White is a servant leader in a variety of civic and community organizations. In 2007, Ms Burns White was asked to serve on the board and lead the grant-making program for the Susan G. Komen for the CURE – Massachusetts Affiliate. In June 2009 she was appointed to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Advisory Committee.

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Zong-Guo Xia, PhD


Zong-Guo XiaDr. Zong-Guo Xia is a Professor of the Department of Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences and the Vice Provost for Research & Strategic Initiatives at the UMass Boston. Prior to his current role, he served as the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies at UMass Dartmouth from 2008 to 2009, and Vice President for Information Technology/Chief Information Officer and the Chair of the Department of Environmental, Geographic and Geological Sciences at Lehman College of the City University of New York from 2003 to 2008. Over the years, he has also taught at Central South University, State University of New York at Albany, Hunter College, University of Cincinnati, Tufts University, Lehman College, and UMass Dartmouth. He was Co-Director of the Joint Center for GIS and Spatial Analysis at the University of Cincinnati from 1992 to 1993 and Director of the Geographic Information Technologies program at UMass Boston from 1993 to 2003. His teaching and research interests include computer cartography, remote sensing, digital image processing, database systems, environmental modeling, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and GIS-based policy analysis. He has completed about forty externally-sponsored research, education and professional service projects, published in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and supervised several dozen visiting scholars, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students.

Back to the top.Laura Hayman, PhD, RN, FAAN


Laura HaymanDr. Laura Hayman’s program of research and scholarship focuses on prevention of obesity and cardiovascular disease in children, adolescents and families from diverse backgrounds.  Her research and scholarship have centered on the role of health behavior in life course health promotion and disease prevention. Currently she is serving as co-principal investigator of a multidisciplinary intervention trial focused on change in cardiometabolic risk factors during an interactive fitness program in urban middle school children. Dr. Hayman has participated in development and implementation of evidence-based statements and clinical and public health guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and other child health expert panels focused on primary prevention of obesity and cardiovascular and cardiometabolic conditions.  A past president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Dr. Hayman currently serves on the Society’s Health Policy Committee. She has also served in leadership roles within the American Heart Association and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.   In recognition of her collective interdisciplinary contributions to cardiovascular health promotion and risk reduction in children and adolescents, she was selected to receive the 2010 American Heart Association National Meritorious Achievement Award.  

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Donna Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAD

Donna Berry completed her undergraduate education at Baylor University and hold graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Houston and the University of Washington. My commitment to improving care of the person with cancer has spanned over three decades, beginning with her work as an oncology staff nurse and continuing with my mentorship activities and current leadership in designing, implementing, evaluating, and teaching patient-centered oncology practices. My scholarship has been presented locally, nationally and internationally and published in nursing, medical and interdisciplinary journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. She  has pioneered in two important areas: patient-centered oncology care and nursing leadership within oncology research. To implement her patient-centered care paradigm, she formulated an interdisciplinary team and then led that team to successfully design and implement accessible, computerized tools to assess symptom experiences and quality of life variables. She led another large, multi-disciplinary team to develop, produce and test the first and only Internet intervention based on personal factors to support treatment decision-making by men with prostate cancer. Recognized by nomination to and election to Fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing, she has assumed increasing leadership and responsibility for transforming health care. As director of the DFCI Cantor Center, these responsibilities will be achieved in oncology nursing. 

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