The NJ Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Research Center of Excellence (NJ PHORCE)

Mission: To improve the lives of children diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders through research, training and education, community engagement, and public policy advocacy. 

Vision: Through our science, our evidence-based actions, our openness, and our respect for those we serve, we will advance scientific discovery and reduce the burden of childhood cancer and blood disorders. By engaging with, and empowering, our diverse populations, and addressing their questions and fears, we will engender hope for patients and their families and play a critical role in strengthening the fabric of our communities.

Research Faculty

Dr. ColePeter Cole, MD
Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology/OncologyEmbrace Kids Foundation Endowed Chair in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Director of Hematology, Oncology and Cellular Therapies at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital; Director, New Jersey Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Research Center of Excellence (NJ PHORCE)

Dr. Cole's laboratory and translational research focuses on improving the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors by reducing the long term, deleterious impact of cancer therapy on organ function. By better understanding how cancer treatment causes persistent alterations in normal organ function, the team hopes to develop strategies to protect against these side effects of curative cancer therapy.

Dr. DevineKatie Devine, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Section Chief of Pediatric Population Science, Outcomes, and Disparities Research Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Katie Devine's research focuses on health and well-being of child, adolescent, and young-adult childhood cancer survivors. Her team creates programs to help young patients and their families cope with the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Dr. Devine’s programs also support childhood cancer patients and their families with the aspects of long-term survivorship. 

headshotChristina Amaro, PhD
Behavioral Scientist & Instructor, Section of Pediatric Population Science, Outcomes, and Disparities Research

Dr. Amaro studies how health outcomes are influenced by socio-ecological influences, with a particular focus on the family context. She is working to develop and evaluate family-centered psychosocial interventions to improve health outcomes for families of children diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders.

Benjamin Durham in white coatBenjamin Durham, MD 
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Cancer Metabolism and Immunology Program, Rutgers Cancer Institute


headshotRichard Drachtman, MD
Clinical Section Chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Director, Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center; Chair, NCI Pediatric Central IRB; PI Children’s Oncology Group (COG); Committee Member COG Hodgkin Disease

Dr. Drachtman is a Professor of Pediatrics, with three decades of experience conducting and analyzing clinical trials for children with cancer or blood disorders. He is currently the site Principal Investigator for clinical trials run by the Children’s Oncology Group.

headshotChristina Glytsou, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Biology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy of Rutgers University; Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Dr. Glytsou's lab research focuses on addressing fundamental questions on mitochondrial biology, exploring the role of mitochondria in the progression and relapse of hematologic malignancies, and applying this knowledge in translational research.

headshotDaniel Herranz-Benito, PharmD, PhD
Associate Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 

The Herranz Lab at Rutgers Cancer Institute's long-term research goals are: (i) to discover and define how oncogenic and tumor suppressor enhancers impact tumorigenesis in hematological and solid tumors; (ii) to dissect the interplay between cancer cell-specific metabolic rewiring and epigenetics in T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL).

Karen Long-TraynorKaren Long-Traynor, PhD
Clinical Psychologist, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Long-Traynor's research interests are in medical trauma, late effects of treatment, and quality of life during and after treatment. She recently worked on projects involving pain management and on improving quality of life with advanced care planning for young adults with life threatening illnesses.


headshotAdvaitha Madireddy, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Dr. Madireddy is a senior scientist with expertise in cancer initiation, mutational response to genotoxic insults, genomic instability and DNA damage signaling pathways. Research in her lab at Rutgers Cancer Institute primarily examines the key genomic changes that drive cancer development and stem cell failure at the earliest stages of disease to provide new insights for disease diagnosis and therapeutics. 

headshotBeth Savage, PhD, RN, CPNP, CPON
Assistant Professor, Division of Nursing Science

Dr. Savage has extensive experience in oncology nursing and has practiced as a nurse practitioner and Coordinator of the Comprehensive Pediatric Sickle Cell Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute for the past 20 years. Dr. Savage’s research interests include investigating the disparate outcomes in childhood malignancies, racial and ethnic difference in the risk of toxicities during childhood cancer treatment, and neighborhood influences on the outcomes for children undergoing childhood cancer.



In the News

teddy bear and stethoscope on yellow background

$10M Appropriation from the State of New Jersey for Pediatric Cancer will Help Advance Research and Treatment
This legislation will support the establishment of the Pediatric Cancer Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute, which in partnership with RWJBarnabas Health, is a leader in pediatric cancer research and care. Read more