Clinical Trials Research Team
The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials team is led by world-renowned cancer researcher Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, chief scientific officer for the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and physician-in-chief for TGen. With 70 years of collective experience in clinical trials among our physicians and nurse practitioners, our dedicated team of physicians, scientists, nurse practitioners, nurses and support personnel is known for its expertise and shares the common goal of finding new effective treatments for cancer.
The Gold Standard of Patient Care:
Scottsdale Healthcare is the only multi-hospital health system in Arizona to receive Magnet recognition, considered the gold standard in nursing and patient care. We are the first health system in Arizona and one of approximately 21 in the country to achieve this status for the entire organization.
Meet Our Team
Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff is Physician-in-Chief and Distinguished Professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). He is also chief scientific officer for the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, as well as clinical professor of medicine at University of Arizona and chief scientific officer for US Oncology.
Especially interested in developing new anticancer agents, Dr. Von Hoff and his colleagues have been involved in the development of many agents now used routinely. At present, they are focused on the development of molecular targeted therapies.
Dr. Von Hoff's laboratory interests and contributions have been in the area of in vitro drug sensitivity testing to individualize patient treatment. His laboratory is now concentrating on discovering new targets in pancreatic cancer.
In addition to being a mentor and teacher for medical students, oncology fellows, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, Dr. Von Hoff has published 129 book chapters, more than 531 manuscripts and 902 abstracts. He is the founder and editor emeritus of Investigational New Drugs – The Journal of New Anticancer Agents, as well as editor-in-chief of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
Dr. Von Hoff was appointed to President Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board. He is the past president of the American Association for Cancer Research, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member and past board member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Ramesh K. Ramanathan, M.D.
Dr. Ramesh K. Ramanathan serves as medical director of the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute. He is also a Clinical Professor and Deputy Director, Clinical Translational Research Division, at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). His research interests are in new drug development and he specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. Dr Ramanathan has extensive experience in the treatment of colon, pancreas and other GI malignancies and has conducted numerous clinical trials. He has authored several book chapters and has more than 80 publications and 130 abstracts in the area of new drug development and GI cancer research. Here in Scottsdale, Dr Ramanathan is involved in the development of new drugs for cancer and works with researchers at TGen and other institutions in targeted therapy approaches for cancer.
Dr. Ramanathan joined the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute in spring 2007. In addition to his role as Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute medical director, he holds an appointment as clinical professor of medicine for the College of Medicine at the Phoenix campus of University of Arizona. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Ramanathan served as Associate Professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of medicine and director of the gastrointestinal oncology program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Dr. Ramanathan has also been an active member of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team (PCRT) for 3 years.
Erkut Borazanci, M.D.
Drug Development Scholar
Erkut Borazanci, MD joins the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials team as a Drug Development Scholar. Dr. Borazanci recently finished his oncology fellowship training at LSU Health Shreveport. Prior to his medical education and training, Dr. Borazanci obtained his master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with emphasis on the study of gene expression in prostate and ovarian cancer. Dr. Borazanci’s research interests include developing new therapies for cancer, especially for the difficult to treat cancers involving the pancreas and other gastrointestinal malignancies. Dr. Borazanci’s goal is to combine his experience in the laboratory and in clinical oncology to pursue new therapies, and is excited to become a part of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials research team.
Samuel Ejadi, M.D.
Associate Clinical Investigator
Dr. Ejadi is a board-certified medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of melanomas and genitourinary cancers. His areas of interest include treatment for a variety of sarcomas, neuroendocrine tumors and various solid organ cancers. He also has a strong interest in the history and theory of tumor immunology and extensive experience with clinical trials targeting the cells of the immune system to treat cancers.
Dr. Ejadi received his medical degree from UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He obtained his internal medicine training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and then completed his fellowship in medical oncology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He also completed additional training in anatomic pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and nutritional science from the University of Illinois. Dr. Ejadi previously worked as a medical oncologist and assistant professor of medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Mayo Clinic, where he was an integral part of research and clinical trials on development of new cancer treatments.
Jasgit Sachdev, M.D.
Jasgit Sachdev, MD is an associate investigator specializing in breast medical oncology. Dr. Sachdev consults on patients with breast and gynecologic cancers to evaluate them for phase I trials of novel agents with potential activity in these malignancies. She also provides consultations for complex and hard-to-treat breast cancer cases.
Dr. Sachdev has been actively engaged in clinical and translational research with a particular focus in triple negative breast cancer, and has served as the principal investigator on several cooperative group, industry and investigator-initiated clinical trials.
She completed her internal medicine residency training in Phoenix and her fellowship in hematology and oncology in Tennessee. She served as assistant professor in the Hematology Oncology Division at University of Tennessee in Memphis for four years prior to relocating to Phoenix and joining the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.
In addition to being an active member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) breast cancer panel for clinical guidelines development, Dr. Sachdev is a member of the breast committee for the South West Oncology Group. She is an ad hoc reviewer for journals such as Clinical Breast Cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research and others. Dr. Sachdev has presented several abstracts and posters at national meetings and published peer-reviewed manuscripts related to breast cancer.
Molly Downhour, MHA, BSN, OCN
Molly serves as the practice manager for Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials. After graduating from the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing with her BSN in 1998, she continued her education by earning her Master’s in Healthcare Administration in 2010 from the University of Phoenix. Molly has been an oncology nurse since 2000 and has maintained her oncology nurse certification since 2002.
Molly began her journey in oncology phase I clinical trials in 2003 as a senior research nurse with the University of Arizona, located at the Scottsdale site in the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center. She transitioned to Scottsdale Healthcare in 2006 shortly after the newly created partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen was formed. Since then, Molly has held positions such as research nurse specialist, nursing supervisor, infusion nurse, assistant manager and her current position as manager.
Gayle Jameson, MSN, ACNP, AOCN
Director, Supportive Care Program, Assistant Investigator
Gayle Jameson is a nurse practitioner who has cared for adults living with cancer for more than 30 years. She is certified as an Advanced Oncology Nurse (AOCN).
Keenly interested in symptom management, Gayle leads the Supportive Care Division of Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, where research priorities include muscle weakness, fatigue, weight loss, anorexia and pain associated with cancer and/or related treatments. Gayle collaborates on all ongoing clinical trials and serves as co-principal investigator on the first supportive care trial at Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute with Eli Lilly.
Prior to joining Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, she held various nursing positions at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Later as a nurse practitioner, Gayle was employed at Medical Center Clinic, P.C. and Allegheny Hematology Oncology Associates in Pittsburgh.
She earned her nursing diploma at St. Francis Hospital, New Castle, PA, and her baccalaureate and master's degrees in nursing at University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AACN), and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Gayle also has been an active volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and the American Cancer Society.
Cathy Mast, APRN-BC, AOCNP
Cathy Mast has been in the heath care setting for many years. She has a broad background in nursing including intensive care, emergency care and pediatrics. She became a Nurse Practitioner in the early 1990s and worked in primary care as a Family Practitioner. Cathy transitioned to hematology and oncology in Vail, Colorado where she worked as a Nurse Practitioner in an outpatient oncology center. Cathy became boarded as an Oncology Nurse Practitioner while practicing in Colorado. Cancer care has become a professional passion and TGen fits in with that passion beautifully. Working toward a goal of curing cancer and being part of that endeavor is a privilege as well as a pleasure.
Joyce Schaffer, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Patient Care Coordinator
Joyce Schaffer received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. Master of Science in Nursing was obtained from University of Phoenix. She began her nursing career at Goshen General Hospital in Goshen, IN and transitioned to Scottsdale Healthcare in 1990.
Joyce Schaffer currently works as Cancer Clinical Trials Coordinator for the oncology clinical trials department at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center. Joyce provides clinical trials education to individuals with cancer who have not responded to standard therapy. She advises their physicians regarding how and when clinical trials can play a vital role in their quality and quantity of life.
Former responsibilities have included primary care for ortho/neuro and oncology patients; Nursing Supervisor; Administrative Representative for Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center; RN Case Manager; Cancer Care Coordinator; Clinical Trial Infusion Nurse.
Dawn Bassett, BSN, OCN
Patient Care Coordinator
Dawn received her Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Scottsdale Community College in 1991, followed by her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from University of Phoenix in 2004. She is scheduled to complete her Master’s of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in education in the spring of 2014 from Grand Canyon University.
Dawn worked for many years in maternal child health at Maricopa Medical Center prior to transferring to Scottsdale Healthcare. She began working at Scottsdale Healthcare in 2006 in the Oncology Unit at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, and then transferred to the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials as a research nurse in 2008.
Dawn transitioned to a cancer care coordinator in May of 2013. She provides education to her pateints and the community as a whole in regards to clinical trial participation.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us as we will help guide you in the right direction.
To learn more about clinical trials available at Scottsdale Healthcare, contact the Clinical Trials Patient Care Coordinator at
480-323-1339 (toll free: 1-877-273-3713) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.