Meet our Team

M. R. Chambers, DVM, MD

M. R. Chambers, DVM, MD

Professor and Principle Investigator
Department of Neurosurgery
University of Alabama at Birmingham

As a veterinarian and board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Chambers is a strong proponent of the One Health Initiative, an effort to improve animal and public health worldwide and strengthen medicine by working together. She is founder of the Alabama Comparative Oncology Network, principal investigator of the regional Southeastern Comparative Oncology Network, and founding member of the Comparative Brain Tumor Consortium at the Center for Cancer Research, NIH National Cancer Institute, each a collaboration of veterinary and medical scientists and clinicians working together to identify genetic targets for treatment of disease through comparative genomics. “Our goal with this project is first and foremost to help people and pets with brain tumors. In an effort to better understand the mechanisms of this devastating disease and find therapeutic answers, we will analyze samples, data and response to treatment. In this way, each dog enrolled in the trial will help the next.”

James M. Markert, MD, MPH

James M. Markert, MD, MPH

Professor
James Garber Galbraith Endowed Chair
Department of Neurosurgery
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Professor and Garber Galbraith Endowed Chair of the UAB Department of Neurosurgery Dr. Markert is a board-certified neurosurgeon with a career research interest in neurosurgical oncology treatment modalities for patients with brain tumors. He has served as Principle Investigator for numerous Phase I clinical trials and he brings unique expertise and extensive experience in the area of genetically-engineered oncolytic viruses for the treatment of brain tumors.

G. Yancey Gillespie, PhD

G. Yancey Gillespie, PhD

Professor Emeritus
Department of Neurosurgery
Director, Brain Tumor Tissue Core
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Professor Emeritus in the UAB Department of Neurosurgery G. Yancey Gillespie, PhD, will serve as a Co-Investigator. Gillespie currently serves as the Director of the Brain Tumor Tissue Core. He brings 40 years’ experience in research that has utilized a wide variety of animal models of intracranial malignant brain tumors to assess the safety, toxicity and efficacy of diverse therapeutic endeavors that might be applied to improved treatment of malignant gliomas. He has been involved in all aspects of both in vitro and in vivo testing in experimental animals of various candidate therapeutic agents, including small molecule inhibitors, oncolytic/gene therapy viruses and immune-related cells. Many of these approaches have been translated into clinical trials. This includes development of the M032 virus, initial animal testing and developing the current clinical trial. Dr. Gillespie will oversee the basic science data collection, analysis and interpretation.

David Crossman, PhD

David Crossman, PhD

Professor
Department of Genetics and Bioinformatics
Director, Heflin Center for Genomic Science

Dr. Crossman has a strong background in Immunology and Microbiology and specific training and expertise in cell signaling. He will process whole-exome sequencing and RNASeq assays and will perform quality control and first line data analysis with software to enable bioinformatic analyses of the gene expression data from the tumors and from the serially sampled peripheral blood leukocyte specimens. He will evaluate the quality of data collected, then annotate and interpret data to identify gene expression profiles and correlations with prognosis and outcomes.

Jeremy Foote, DVM, PhD

Jeremy Foote, DVM, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology
Director, Comparative Pathology Lab

Dr. Foote is Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Director of the Comparative Pathology Lab at UAB. He is a board certified veterinary anatomic pathologist with over ten years of research experience in basic and cancer immunology. The CPL lab is fully equipped with modern equipment for paraffin and frozen sectioning, and will perform all histologic processing of the canine samples submitted. Dr. Foote will provide expertise in the areas of qualitative semi-quantitative anatomic pathology, translational immunotherapy and immune-oncology to evaluate immune responses to treatment.

Simon Platt, BVM&S, MRCVS

Simon Platt, BVM&S, MRCVS

Professor
Neurology and Neurosurgery
Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia

Dr. Simon Platt received his veterinary degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1992. He completed an internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and residency in neurology and neurosurgery in 1998 at the University of Florida. Dr. Platt served as Head of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Service at the Animal Health Trust until 2006. His research interests include canine brain tumors and epilepsy and he has authored or co-authored more than 190 journal articles and 50 book chapters. He is the co-editor of three textbooks: BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Neurology; the Manual of Small Animal Neurological Emergencies; and, Canine and Feline Epilepsy: Diagnosis and Management.

Andy Shores, DVM, MS, PhD

Andy Shores, DVM, MS, PhD

Clinical Professor and Chief
Neurology and Neurosurgery
Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Mississippi State University

Dr. Shores received his DVM from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and then completed a small animal surgical residency at Purdue University. He returned to Auburn to complete his neurology/neurosurgery residency. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications. With a clinical interest in intracranial surgery, Dr. Shores is a founding member of the Veterinary Neurosurgical Society and the Comparative Brain Tumor Consortium at the Center for Cancer Research at the NIH National Cancer Institute. He designed and published first coma scale (SACS) for animals in 1988.

Don Sorjonen, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Don Sorjonen, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Professor
Neurology and Neruoscience
Department of Clinical Sciences
Auburn University

Dr. Don Sorjonen received his veterinary degree (DVM) summa cum laude from Texas A&M University in 1975. He completed a one year rotating internship at Auburn University in 1976. After a year of private practice in the Washington DC area, Dr. Sorjonen returned for a three year residency/Master of Science degree in neurology-neurosurgery at Auburn University. He completed this program in 1980 and received his ACVIM board certification in neurology in 1985. His research interest include diagnostic application of cerebrospinal fluid, spinal stabilization techniques and fundamental techniques for intracranial surgical procedures.

Amy B. Yanke, DVM, MS

Amy B. Yanke, DVM, MS

Assistant Professor
Neurology and Neurosurgery
Department of Clinical Sciences
Auburn University

Dr. Yanke received her DVM from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. She completed an internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson, Arizona and a specialty internship in Neurology at the Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers, New York, followed by a residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery at Purdue University. She earned a master’s degree from Purdue University during her residency. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences with special research interests in intracranial and spinal neoplasia.