Our Team

Big goals in the big apple

We come from different backgrounds, but we share the same belief: that science can change the world for the better. We exist to deliver life-saving cancer therapies through breakthroughs in drug discovery.

Our bios recount our academic credentials, but there’s a lot more to us. Our individual experiences shape who we are as a team, and together we’re passionate about making a difference.

We are supported by a premier group of investors and board members with a proven track record of building successful biotechnology companies. Our founders and scientific advisors are renowned for their seminal discoveries in cancer biology.

Aaron Phillips, Ph.D.

Scientist II, Biology

Alan Chiu, Ph.D.

Scientist I, Biology

Michael Su, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Jonathan Havel, Ph.D.

Scientist II, Immunology

Bernardo Tavora, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, Immunology

Sarah Bettigole, Ph.D.

Director, Immunology

Martha Rutkowski

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Rumin Zhang, Ph.D.

VP, Biochemistry

Reka Letso, Ph.D.

Scientist II & Lab Manager

Hyeseok Shim, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, Biology

Nazario Bosco, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, Biology

Christina Eng, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Biology

Rachel Zolot Schwartz, MBA

VP, Business Development & Commercial

Akanksha Verma, Ph.D.

Scientist II, Computational Biology

Diane Tager, MBA

VP, Strategy and Operations

Michael Arensman, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, Biology

Scott Drutman, M.D., Ph.D.

SVP, Head of Translational Science

Rick Tourdot, Ph.D.

Scientist II, Computational Biology

Charles Hugh-jones, M.D., FRCP

Chief Executive Officer

Zafi Avnur, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer
Quark Venture

Samuel Bakhoum, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Member
Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Luc Dochez, Pharm.D.

DROIA Oncology Ventures

Sandi Peterson, Chair

Operating Partner
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

Amy Schulman

Managing Partner
Polaris Partners

Stefan Vitorovic

Co-Founder and Managing Director
Vida Ventures

Samuel Bakhoum, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Member
Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

David Baltimore, Ph.D.

President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Biology
California Institute of Technology

Lewis Cantley, Ph.D.

Meyer Director
Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College

Hans Clevers, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Molecular Genetics
University Medical Center Utrecht

Duane Compton, Ph.D.

Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College

Olivier Elemento, Ph.D.

Director of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine
Weill Cornell Medicine

Gerard Evan, Ph.D.

Sir William Dunn Professor and Chair
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

Tarun Kapoor, Ph.D.

PELS Family Professor
Rockefeller University

David Pellman, M.D.

Margaret M. Dyson Professor of Pediatric Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Harold Varmus, M.D.

Lewis Thomas University Professor, Medicine
Meyer Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medicine

Karen Vousden, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist
Cancer Research UK

Our Founders

Bakhoum, Ph.D.
Cantley, Ph.D.

In 2016, Samuel Bakhoum joined the lab of world-renowned cancer biologist Lewis Cantley with an idea: to study chromosome behavior and how it might drive cancer metastasis.

Elemento, Ph.D.

They recruited their colleague Olivier Elemento, whose lab combines big data analytics, including artificial intelligence and mathematical modeling, with experimentation to develop entirely new ways to help prevent, diagnose, understand, treat and ultimately cure cancer. Together they saw a path toward targeting a root cause of cancer metastasis.


Just a few years later, in January 2018, they published a study in Nature showing for the first time how CIN allows cancerous cells to evade the immune system and spread.


With this groundbreaking
finding, Volastra was born.