Melanoma Research Institute of Excellence


Name: Mitchell Berkowitz
Position: Program Manager
Organization: Melanoma Research Institute of Excellence
Contact Number(s):


Name: Shingo Sato
  • Associate Program Manager
  • Director of Database Design and Utilization
Organization: Melanoma Research Institute of Excellence
Contact Number(s):

Our Team


Andrew E. Aplin, PhD

Deputy Director, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center 
Kalbach-Newton Professor, Cancer Research, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Dr. Aplin serves as the Deputy Director at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. He is also honored as a Kalbach-Newton Professor in Cancer Research with the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Cancer Biology in recognition of the numerous contributions he has made to discoveries in melanoma, as well as the leadership role he has taken in the classroom and the laboratory. He is at the forefront of cancer research and is an esteemed educator.

As Deputy Director, Dr. Aplin promotes interdisciplinary research among basic, translational, clinical, and population science researchers across the Jefferson enterprise and helps lead SKCCC’s next NCI Cancer Center designation renewal. Additionally, he is a Principal Investigator on a T32 training program in Cancer Biology and has mentored trainees through NCI K99 and F99 awards.

Marlana Orloff, MD

Alexander & Johnston Family Endowed Clinical Director of Uveal Melanoma
Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology

Dr. Marlana Orloff is an associate professor of medicine and medical oncologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital – Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Her clinical and research focus is on primary and advanced melanomas. Her main interest is in rare melanomas including uveal , conjunctival, and mucosal melanoma. Her research is centered on investigating the epidemiology of uveal melanoma and discovery of novel therapies melanoma. She works very closely with the team at Wills Eye Hospital to manage hundreds of patients with primary and metastatic ocular melanoma. She is a member of a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologist and numerous other essential personnel that treats patients with metastatic uveal melanoma from all over the country. She is principal and co-investigator on a number of clinical trials enrolling patients with primary and advanced melanomas of all types.

Takami Sato, MD, PhD

Research Director, Uveal Melanoma Program
K. Hasumi Professor of Medical Oncology

Dr. Sato’s work focuses on melanoma—especially metastatic uveal melanoma—and cancer immunotherapy.

For much of his career, Dr. Sato has sought to improve the understanding of this disease and developed several new treatments including chemoembolization with BCNU and immunoembolization with GM-CSF for liver metastasis of uveal melanoma patients. In addition to being a full-time attending physician at Jefferson, Dr. Sato is also a professor of ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital, director of the Japan Center at Jefferson, and a visiting professor at Fujita Health University and Chiba University in Japan.

He has served as principal investigator for more than 40 national and international clinical trials on metastatic melanoma and he is a well-known expert in the field of metastatic uveal melanoma. In addition to the role as clinical investigator, his laboratory also established patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models for metastatic uveal melanoma to investigate the efficacy, toxicity, and resistance mechanisms of new treatments.

Dr. Sato has received the Melanoma Research Foundation’s CURE OM Vision of Hope Award and has been named on multiple top doctor lists at both the local and national levels, including “Best Doctors in America” and Philadelphia Life’s “Best Doctors.”

Mitchell Berkowitz

Program Manager

Mitchell Berkowitz is the Program Manager of the Melanoma Research Institute of Excellence. After a prior career in finance, he came to Jefferson to work with Dr. Sato and became the regulatory coordinator for the Melanoma Program in 2014. As MRIE Program Manager, Mitch coordinates grants and award programs, coordinates new research initiatives, develops and maintains budgets and acts as a liaison with the research community. Mitch also advises Dr. Sato and the Melanoma Program on business and organizational matters.

Translational Research

Mizue Terai, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Research Contact for Sato Research

Dr. Terai is an assistant research professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her focus is translational research and the development of novel therapies for metastatic uveal melanoma (MUM), specifically searching for biomarkers indicative of drug efficacy and identifying the mechanisms of drug resistance. She is also the director of the Metastatic Uveal Melanoma (MUM) Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) Bank and Specimen Database. She and her team have established mouse models of liver metastases to investigate drug efficacy and have created four distinctive MUM cell lines, including a BAP1 mutant cell line from PDX mice. She also investigates immunological changes in patient blood and tumor specimens, both before and after the administration of treatments for uveal melanoma liver metastases, with a particular interest in immune suppressive factors from tumors and the surrounding tumor environment. 

Dr. Terai’s experience with animal models has led to extensive collaborations with other researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and other academic institutions and with pharmaceutical companies. She has received the Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Scholar Award in Cancer Research from American Association for Cancer Research.

Clinical Research Staff

Tina M. Savio, MSN RN

Clinical Research Nurse Manager

Carolyn Palumbo

Melanoma Lead Clinical Research Coordinator