Premier Research Oncology Expertise

Ashley Alvarez, Ph.D. | Senior Medical Informatics Analyst, Oncology

Dr. Alvarez serves as a Senior Medical Informatics Analyst, Oncology, where she assesses clinical trial feasibility during the proposal process and strives for successful trial enrollment strategy, site identification, and verification of site and investigator profiles.

Prior to joining Premier Research, Dr. Alvarez served as the Director and Lead Instructor of the biotechnology programs at Brunswick Community College with expertise in teaching biopharmaceutical manufacturing, biotechnology laboratories, federal regulations, drug discovery, writing/reading SOPs, and technician training. She also has extensive research experience. Her latest research role, funded by NASA, investigated Arabidopsis gravity responses and applied knowledge to improve crop production in space.

Dr. Alvarez holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Riverside.

Rupa Doshi, Ph.D. | Executive Director, Oncology Program Strategy

With more than 23 years in the industry, Rupa Doshi is an experienced professional with demonstrated leadership skills in clinical operations, global project/program management, customer management, and strategy development. Her experience spans the clinical development spectrum from pre-IND to NDA. She has also led global teams in the execution of full-service complex clinical trials across all phases.

Dr. Doshi brings drug discovery and clinical development experience with biologics and small molecules, as well as cell and gene therapy products over a range of indications. Her doctoral research focus was on breast cancer, and her post-doctoral research was in site-directed mutagenesis. She also holds patents in the area of angiogenesis. In addition, Dr. Doshi has supported three products resulting in agency approval.

Ashley Herrick, Ph.D. | Executive Director, Oncology Program Strategy

Ashley Herrick provides strategic planning, coordination, knowledge, and expertise for oncology projects. She has more than 13 years of experience in oncology clinical trial oversight and drug development. Dr. Herrick has familiarity with all phases of clinical trials, but has a keen interest and deep knowledge of early phase and first-in-man studies. She has led numerous global clinical trials and has experience with strategic management, study oversight, study start-up, efficient enrollment, and study close-out/CSR development.

Prior to joining Premier Research, Dr. Herrick was Director of Operational Strategy Management for a mid-sized CRO overseeing the strategic planning for studies. She also supported their Oncology Site Network and was responsible for oversight of a biomarker-driven patient matching group. She has served as Project Director, Project Manager, and CRA throughout her years working in the CRO industry and has devoted her entire career to oncology research. Prior to joining the CRO industry, she worked as a Program Manager for the largest Phase 1 clinical trial unit in the country at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she was responsible for oversight of more than 50 industry-sponsored and investigator-led Phase 1 clinical trials.

Dr. Herrick holds a doctorate degree in molecular and cellular biology with a focus on acute myeloid leukemia from Baylor College of Medicine. She is CCRP-certified and is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She’s also an active volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Ashley Jones | Project Director, Oncology

Ashley Jones joined the Premier Research team as a Senior Project Manager in 2017. Prior to that, she worked for Quintiles for seven years, with four years in project management and three in clinical management. Ms. Jones was integral to the creation of the Stem Cell Center of Excellence at Quintiles and currently helps develop strategies for CAR-T and other immuno-oncology opportunities at Premier Research.

Her primary area of therapeutic expertise includes Phase 1-3 oncology studies conducted in the US and globally, with a special interest in pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and graft versus host disease, as well as Phase 1 and 2 acute lymphoblastic leukemia studies and Phase 1 and 2 studies in advanced malignancies.

Cassandra Matney, M.D. | Senior Medical Director, Oncology

Dr. Cassandra Matney is a Senior Medical Director, Oncology. She brings more than ten years of oncology experience from both the pharmaceutical and site level, having worked in clinical research, medical affairs, and clinical development. She offers extensive experience with clinical trial and drug development processes and works cross-functionally across organizations supporting sponsors’ oncology programs through engagement with project management, medical oversight teams, global operations, and drug safety. 

As a key and integral part of Premier Research’s medical leadership team, Dr. Matney maintains client satisfaction levels and operational excellence through collaboration with investigators, medical oversight teams, and sponsors. Regularly interfacing with the executive leadership teams in pharma, Dr. Matney provides clinical strategy support for the successful delivery and output of sponsors’ Phase 1-2 first-in-human trials.

Dr. Matney received her medical degree at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara and New York Medical College and is certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University. Before joining Premier Research, Dr. Matney held medical affairs roles at Incyte, Janssen Oncology, and Astellas.

Awa Keita Manta, M.D. | Senior Medical Director

Awa Keita Manta has more than fifteen years of experience with oncology clinical trials, as well as extensive training knowledge in internal medicine, oncology, and hematology.

She is well versed in the clinical trial and drug development processes at both the site and CRO levels. Dr. Keita Manta is based in Paris, France.

Ireneusz Otulski, M.D. | Senior Medical Director

Dr. Otulski has more than two decades of experience in clinical development. He has served in both medical and operational positions, including head of clinical operations, clinical development consultant, and medical director, providing medical oversight and operational management for several clinical studies and programs of all phases. These positions have provided him a solid foundation in all aspects of clinical development and a great deal of experience in handling collaboration between sponsors and CROs, as well as a deep understanding of the clinical trials system created to generate high-quality data for developers of novel therapeutics in oncology.

Throughout his career, Dr. Otulski has been involved in planning, preparing, and managing all phases of clinical trials in oncology, from first-in-human through global late-stage studies. He also has therapeutic area experience in hematology and metabolic diseases, and in developing early biosimilars. 

Dr. Otulski has worked around the world in Poland, Switzerland, and Austria with pharma companies such as AstraZeneca, Roche, Baxter, and Novo Nordisk as well as with biotech start-ups and small CROs.

Michael Pace, Ph.D. | Senior Medical Informatics Analyst, Oncology

Dr. Pace has more than seven years of combined experience in both academic research and clinical trial feasibility. He has a proven record of leveraging a wide breadth of clinical and epidemiological data combined with direct site feasibility to inform complex clinical trial strategies across many therapeutic areas, including oncology, neuroscience, internal medicine, cardiovascular, renal/metabolic, and medical device.  

In his current role, Dr. Pace serves to both innovate upon Premier Research’s approach to medical informatics as well as act as a liaison with strategy leads, clinicians, and study start-up colleagues to inform country/site strategies and enrollment projections. Harnessing his collaborative spirit, Dr. Pace thrives in working directly with potential clients to demonstrate Premier Research’s understanding of the complex trial landscapes within oncology and to put Premier Research in the best position to successfully execute trials in this space. 

Dr. Pace obtained his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Florida and earned his Bachelor of Science degrees in both Biology and Neuroscience from Indiana University.

Ayesha A. Pandit, M.D., M.S., MBA | Vice President, Oncology Medical Strategy

Dr. Ayesha A. Pandit is a board-certified hemato-oncologist with 18 years of biopharma and consulting experience in top companies, including AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson, and MD Anderson Hospital. She also has led and supported global hematology/oncology clinical trial strategy and managed high-profile clinical programs within the clinical trial industry. She earned her M.D. from King Edward Medical University, Pakistan, and her postdoctoral degree from King’s College London with MRCGP. Dr. Pandit also holds an M.S. in molecular oncology from the University of Madrid and an MBA in healthcare management from the National University of Singapore.

Faisal Rahman, M.D. | Medical Director

Faisal Rahman provides medical affairs, clinical development, and pharmacovigilance support for ongoing clinical trials. He supplies expert advice and detailed clinical development strategies for allocated projects, including protocol development, study design, investigator brochure development, regulatory strategy and submission, and study execution strategies.  

Dr. Rahman has a wide range of experience in different therapeutic areas, including but not limited to hemato-oncology and treating both malignant and solid tumors for such cancers as multiple myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and soft tissue sarcoma. He also has experience in analgesia, nephrology, nutrition, medical devices, immunology, dermatology, and COVID-19. His product platform experience includes biological products, monoclonal antibodies, small molecule drugs (e.g., targeted and cytotoxic anti-oncologics), and cell-based therapies, such as gene modified cellular products (CAR-T). 

Dr. Rahman has worked in large pharmaceutical companies as a Drug Safety Physician/Associate Medical Director providing safety and pharmacovigilance support to ongoing and post-marketing studies, as well as clinical development and medical monitoring support.

Dr. Rahman holds a medical degree from Windsor University School of Medicine and a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University.

Maciej Szczygiel, M.D. | Director, Program Strategy

With more than sixteen years of experience in clinical research, including fifteen years of management experience focusing on oncology trials, Dr. Szczygiel is a highly experienced Program Director with considerable global experience within the CRO environment. Prior to joining the industry, he worked as a physician in pediatrics, internal medicine, intensive care, and oncology.

Dr. Szczygiel’s experience in oncology clinical research has spanned from Phase 1 FIH trials to global Phase 3 studies in numerous types of cancer (including basket studies) and with different investigational products (e.g., chemotherapy agents, immuno-oncology products, small molecules, antibodies, BiTE, CAR-T, and TCR).