2020 Oncology Nutrition Symposium Keynote Speakers


Steven Ahrendt, MD

Steven Ahrendt is a surgical oncologist at the University of Colorado with an interest in abdominal cancers including appendiceal, colon, ovarian, malignant mesothelioma, pseudomyxoma peritonei and other abdominal malignancies. He is the Director of their Cytoreductive Surgery and HIPEC program. Dr. Ahrendt attended the University of Chicago’s medical school, and his residency and fellowship work was completed at Johns Hopkins University.

Vicky Baracos, PhD

Vicky Baracos is currently a professor in the Department of Oncology at the University of Alberta. Dr. Baracos is an internationally recognized expert on the physiology and pathology of cancer-associated wasting of skeletal muscle. Her career history in this area spans more than 30 years and she has published more than 270 peer-reviewed research article and critical reviews. Dr. Baracos pioneered the use of clinical computed tomography (CT) to detect and precisely measure muscle loss and also discovered the role of cytokines on protein catabolism in skeletal muscle. She is a scientific leader of the Canadian-International Network on Cancer Cachexia, and her expertise is highly leveraged by long-term interdisciplinary collaborations. Dr. Baracos has received several honors for her career achievement.


Judy Bauer, PhD

Professor Judy Bauer from the University of Queensland is a Fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia and is recognized internationally for translational research and innovative nutrition intervention programs, particularly in malnutrition and oncology. She is passionate about evidence informing dietetics practice and has received research funding of > S9.3 M, published over 120 papers with > 5000 citations and a H-index of 37.


Daphne Burnett, APRN-CNS

Daphne Burnett is a Nurse Navigator for GI Surgical Oncology services at The University of Oklahoma’s Stephenson Cancer Center. She graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford Oklahoma with a BSN and from The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center with an MSN and Clinical Nurse Specialist degree. She is nearing completion of studies for her Doctorate in Nursing Practice.


Amelia Cullinan, MD

Dr. Amelia Cullinan is an Assistant Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine, and the Director of Outpatient Palliative Care Services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Dr. Cullinan’s non-clinical passions are education and advance care planning, and she combines these in teaching primary Palliative Care communication skills both regionally and nationally with VitalTalk and Ariadne Labs; locally, she co-directs the Serious Illness Care Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.


Leah A. Hoffman, PhD, RDN, LD, CNSC

Leah Hoffman graduated from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s Coordinated Program and became a registered dietitian in 2008. She worked as a clinical dietitian while attending graduate school, where she focused on research related to nutrition care in perioperative pancreatic surgery. After completing her PhD at OUHSC in 2014 and becoming faculty, she has continued to focus her research program on improving nutrition care for cancer survivors.


Matt Katz, MD, FACS



Laura Kerns, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, FAND

Laura is the lead clinical dietitian at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans and will be transitioning to manager of the integrative medicine and supportive care programs this summer. She has overseen the research, development, implementation, and evaluation of Louisiana’s first hospital-based food pantry. This work awarded her as a New Orleans HealthCare Hero in 2019. Additionally, she is involved in multiple clinical research studies, including leading a clinical trial to evaluate diet intervention versus standard of care treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma. When she is not working, Laura enjoys traveling, functional and strength training, and spending time with her two young boys. 


Helen Marshall, PharmD

Helen M. Marshall, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP is a Clinical Pharmacist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and University of Washington Medical Center and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. Dr. Marshall is a clinical specialist in the Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic and in the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Clinic. Dr. Marshall earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy in Seattle, Washington. She completed a postgraduate year one pharmacy practice residency at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and a postgraduate year two oncology specialty residency at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. She is a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist and a board certified oncology pharmacist.


Kerry McMillen, MS, RD, CSO, FAND

Kerry is a Fellow of the AND as well as a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and has worked in the field of oncology nutrition for over 20 years at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, primarily in the HCT population. She is currently the Manager of the Medical Nutrition Therapy department. Kerry received her Masters degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Washington.


Nathan Parker, PhD, MPH

I have a PhD in Kinesiology and have been working to develop, implement, and evaluate a home-based, preoperative exercise program for patients undergoing pancreatic cancer treatment over the past several years. My primary research interest is in using strengthening exercise to help cancer survivors mitigate sarcopenic muscle loss during and after treatment.


Maria Petzel, RD, CSO, LD, CNSC

Maria is a Senior Clinical Dietitian here at M. D. Anderson where she specializes in the care of patients with gastrointestinal cancers, with a focus on nutritional management of patients following major pancreatic and other GI surgeries. She holds specialty certification in both oncology nutrition and nutrition support. Maria is humbly reminded each day by her teenage step-children that she is not just an RD but a “Poopologist”.


Teri Pipe, PhD, RN

Dr. Teri Pipe is Arizona State University's Chief Well-Being Officer. Formerly Dr. Pipe served as the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University (ASU). She also is the founding director of ASU's Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience. Before coming to ASU in 2011, Dr. Pipe served as director of Nursing Research and Innovation at Mayo Clinic Arizona and was an associate professor of nursing at the Mayo Clinic’s College of Medicine. In 2014 she was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow.

Dr. Pipe is an expert on mindfulness which is a skill set to increase the ability to experience being fully present, focused and alive. Mindfulness has important implications for resilience within and beyond the healthcare and higher education sectors. Dr. Pipe is an expert on nursing leadership with a focus on interprofessionalism, bringing nurses together with physicians and other health professionals, business people, and policy makers, to help redesign and improve health in the U.S. Her research interests include: mindfulness, resilience in professional and clinical populations, health promotion and wellness, positive coping and stress management, oncology, and gerontology. She is a sought after speaker on the topics of mindfulness, workforce resilience and self-compassion.

Dr. Pipe earned her PhD in health policy and administration with a minor in gerontology from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in nursing with an emphasis in gerontology from the University of Arizona, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Iowa.


Mary Platek, PhD, RDN

Mary Platek, PhD, RD, is a Registered Dietitian and an Epidemiologist. At D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY she is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and educates and trains the next generation of RDNs. As an Adjunct Professor at Roswell Park Comprehensive Center, she works directly with Oncologists to examine clinical outcomes of cancer treatment within various types of cancer. Her research centers on the prevention and management of cancer-related malnutrition, sarcopenia, and cachexia among head and neck cancer patients with a concentration on supportive nutrition care to minimize treatment toxicity and improve quality of life throughout survivorship.


Lee Renda, MS, RDN

Leonora’s work includes serving as the lead dietitian for a Phase I/II clinical trial for newly diagnosed GBM, with upfront gross or subtotal total resection, followed by ketogenic diet with radiotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. This trial focuses on a high fat, low carbohydrate and protein diet (4:1 fat:protein plus carbohydrate) during standard treatment for brain tumors.


Nancy Sacks, MS, RD, LDN

Nancy started working at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with pediatric oncology patients 30 years ago and continues to provide nutritional care for this population. Nancy and her colleagues have been active in the development and revisions of current nutrition care guidelines and patient education materials used by many pediatric oncology clinicians. She completed additional education required to work as a coordinator and principal investigator on a variety of research studies and is currently working towards completing her Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition from Rutgers University.


Nancy M. Strange, RD, CNSC, CLT, CD

Nancy is a registered dietitian who has extensive experience with specialized nutrition support, critical care nutrition, identification of micronutrient deficiencies and specializes in surgical nutrition, including wound healing. She has developed nutrition support teams, nutrition screening programs, malnutrition criteria implementation and currently is IU Health’s Co-chair of the Adult Academic Health Center POWERR/ERAS program that has successfully reduced post- operative infections by an average of 60%, along with reductions in hospital lengths of stays by 1-6 days. She is a preceptor for Indiana School of Medicine students and IUPUI Dietetic interns and frequently speaks to regional groups of dietitians on a variety of topics. She is a graduate of Purdue University and the Indianapolis Methodist Hospital Dietetic Internship. In her free time she likes to hike, bike ride and volunteer at local events, including being an Indianapolis Sporting events volunteer.


Kelay Trentham, MS, RDN, CSO, CD, FAND

Kelay Trentham is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition, and has been working in cancer care for 16 years. She has authored a number of articles and chapters and given numerous presentations regarding the use of cannabinoids in oncology and palliative care.


Maxwell Vergo, MD

Max Vergo is a palliative care physician at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Geisel school of medicine at Dartmouth. He is the director of the hospice and palliative medicine fellowship, director of education for the section of palliative medicine and co-director of the serious illness care program at Dartmouth. He also trained as a medical oncologist at Northwestern in Chicago.


Erin Williams, RD, CSO, CNSC

Erin is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition as well as a Board Certified Specialist in Nutrition Support. She works in the outpatient cancer center at the University of Colorado with a variety of oncology diagnoses, and specializes in managing the care of patients receiving home nutrition support.