Meet the MCGI team members and advisory committee.
Jens Rueter, M.D.
Rueter is the Chief Medical Officer of The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and Medical Director for MCGI. Rueter came to JAX from Eastern Maine Medical Center Cancer Care (EMMC) in Brewer, ME, where he was the medical director for EMMC’s Translational Oncology Program and the EMMC Biobank. He has been a hematologist/oncologist at EMMC Cancer Care since 2010, and a member of the JAX adjunct faculty since 2012. Prior to joining JAX, Rueter collaborated with several JAX investigators and technicians on developing new approaches to treating cancers while advancing translational research at EMMC.
After graduating from medical school in Berlin, Germany, Rueter completed his residency in internal medicine at Tulane University and fellowship training in hematology/oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Leah Graham, Ph.D.
Graham joined the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative in January 2021. Previously, Graham was the manager of Government Affairs for JAX, where she focused on managing public policy issues in the state of Maine, at local, state and federal levels. Other responsibilities included community relations and supervising special projects. She brought a wealth of scientific knowledge to Government Affairs, having received her Ph.D. in Genetics from the School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine in April 2017. Graham’s research background is in environmental and genetic contributions to age-related cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, and she has produced a number of primary research articles, including first author publications. Her dissertation work was funded partially through an F31 Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Grant Award from the National Institute on Aging. She is currently the Board Chair of the Maine Council on Aging.
Jennifer Bourne, M.S.
Bourne is the Program Manager for MCGI. A colleague of JAX since 2013, she was a driving force in establishing processes for Operations and Regulatory Compliance for the Clinical Genomics Laboratory at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, CT. Prior to joining JAX, she worked in clinical testing facilities for over 13 years where she held positions related to process creation in both scientific and IT capacities. Her other career experience has included clinical laboratory test development, creation of programs for business intelligence, management of collaborative service agreements, and operations processing for clinical trials. Her education includes a B.S. in molecular and cellular biology and an M.S. in genetics, both from the University of Connecticut, as well as a certificate in Project Management from Rutgers University.
Petra Helbig, CCRP
Clinical Research Manager
Helbig is the Clinical Research Manager for MCGI. She joined JAX in February 2017 after eight years as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Research Program Coordinator for Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) Cancer Care. Prior to her employment at Eastern Maine Medical Center (now Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center), she worked as a Clinical Research Associate for the radiation oncology department at Regional Health Rapid City Hospital in Rapid City, SD. She has been involved in all aspects of oncology human subjects research since 2003.
Her education includes a degree in Psychology from the University of Mannheim, Germany, as well as a Certified Clinical Research Professional Certification (CCRP) from Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) and coursework in Project Management from Villanova University.
Lindsey Kelley, MPH, MS, CGC
Kelley is the Genomic Navigator for MCGI. Kelley is a board-certified Genetic Counselor and has previous experience working in public health and clinical research. She brings a wealth of knowledge about genetic testing, program management, and research to the new role of Genomic Navigator, where she provides patient navigation and facilitates access to genomic testing and individualized treatments throughout Maine. Her education includes a B.A. in Mathematics and Statistics from Smith College, a M.P.H. from the University of Connecticut, and an M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Baypath University.
Lory Gaitor, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator
Gaitor is the Clinical Research Coordinator for the MCGI team at JAX. She manages accrual and study activities for all MCGI central office research sites, using remote processes to perform physician and participant onboarding measures. Prior to JAX, Gaitor served as an Oncology Research Associate at MaineGeneral Medical Center, where she conducted IC review for the collection, storage, and shipping of biological specimens for biorepositories. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maine at Fort Kent and a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) certification through ACRP.
Susan Halverson, B.A.
Genomic Tumor Board Coordinator
Halverson joined the MCGI team in March of 2022 as a Genomic Tumor Board coordinator. She comes to us from a 15+ year career in various aspects of Real Estate where she worked to create stress-free and smooth real estate transactions on behalf of her clients in both Wisconsin and North Carolina. After relocating to the state of Maine she took the opportunity to apply her communication, organization and client service skills and bring them to a new role. She is thrilled to be a member of the JAX community and is eager to serve in a role that supports the MCGI mission of bringing cutting-edge medicine to the people of Maine. Halverson holds a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.
Tumor Board Manager
Fischer assumed his current role at the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative in July 2022. He joined JAX in November 2021 as COVID-19 program coordinator. His primary background is in medicine, having graduated from Medical School at Charité in Berlin, Germany, in 2015. After several years of residency in internal medicine and oncology, he relocated to Maine in 2019. Additionally, Fischer has research background in genetics and has participated in several research projects, including one resulting in a first-author publication. After relocating to Maine, he completed an MBA at Husson University in Bangor. Fischer supports MCGI as Tumor Board Manager; including leading the efforts with SWOG on a large-scale tumor board study.
Philip Brooks, M.D.
Northern Light Maine Coast and Mount Desert Island Hospital
Brooks practices at Eastern Maine Medical Center and oversees their clinics at the Mt. Desert Island Hospital, the Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital, and the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. He is board certified in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology caring for patients in all areas of medical oncology, hematologic oncology and benign hematology. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine then completed his medical residency at the University of Pennsylvania-Presbyterian Medical Center. Following that, he completed a three-year fellowship in hematology/oncology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Brooks arrived at Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Oncology program in 1980 and has held many leadership positions over those years. He spent two and a half years in China as Sr. Vice-President of Medical Affairs and Chief of Oncology Development for United Family Healthcare and returned to Eastern Maine Medical Center in 2011. He now lives with his wife, Astri, in Bar Harbor, ME.
Peter Georges, M.D.
Georges practices oncology at York Hospital in Southern Maine. He holds board certification in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology. Georges received his M.D. from Georges University School of Medicine in Grenada; West Indies followed by an internship and residency at University of Massachusetts. He completed his fellowship in hematology-oncology at MD Anderson Cooper Cancer Center, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
Nikki Erickson, M.D.
Central Maine Healthcare
Erickson practices at Hematology-Oncology Associates in Lewiston, Maine. She is board certified in hematology and medical oncology. She received her M.D. from Medical College of Virginia followed by a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship with the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in hematology-oncology.
Roger Inhorn, M.D.
Pen Bay Medical Center
Inhorn is the Chief of Oncology at Mercy Hospital in Portland, ME. A native Madisonian, he studied mathematics and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the M.D./Ph.D. program at Washington University Medical School. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital followed by a medical oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Inhorn practiced in St. Louis for seven years, where he was associate director of hematology/oncology at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, prior to relocating to Maine. He has a special interest in breast cancer and clinical trials.
Rachit Kumar, M.D.
Maine General Medical Center
Kumar is a medical oncologist and hematologist who sees patients at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care and the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta. A member of MaineGeneral Medical Center's active staff, he joined the cancer staff in July 2017 after completing a hematology/oncology fellowship at Georgetown University/MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He received his medical degree from Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India and then did his internal medicine residency and chief residency at Georgetown University/MedStar Washington Hospital Center. His interests include targeted therapies and immunotherapy.
Maksim Liaukovich, M.D.
Northern Light AR Gould Hospital
Liaukovich provides medical oncology and hematology services to patients as part of the Northern Light Cancer Care team in Presque Isle. He earned his medical degree from Grodno State Medical University in Belarus. He completed his Internship in Brest Regional Hospital, also in Belarus. His residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology were completed at the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in New York. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Medical Oncology and Hematology. Liaukovich is passionate about the field of oncology. He finds it rewarding to be part of prolonging both life and quality of life. He stays up to date on the latest treatments and technology so that he can provide the best care possible for his patients. He grew up in a small village in Belarus which enjoyed four-season weather and was based in agriculture, particularly potatoes. He was happy to find that same atmosphere in Aroostook County, Maine. Liaukovich enjoys cross country skiing, biking, hiking and restoring old cars.
Christine Lu-Emerson, M.D.
MaineHealth Neurology and Neuro-oncology
Lu-Emerson is a board-certified neuro-oncologist at Maine Medical Center. Her experience includes the development and conduction of phase 2/3 trials for brain tumor patients with current research focus on the mortality and morbidity associated with brain tumors and associated treatments. Lu-Emerson received her M.D. from New York University School of Medicine, followed by a residency at University of Washington in Seattle and a Fellowship in the Neuro-Oncology program at Massachusetts General Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA.
Karen Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Spectrum Healthcare Partners
Rasmussen is Director of Molecular Genetics at Spectrum Medical Group. She has extensive experience in Clinical Molecular Genetics: development and interpretation of molecular genetic assays, including next-generation sequencing and gene expression profiling. Rasmussen has provided cancer genetic counseling in the community oncology setting. She also has experience in tumor tissue banking for research and has worked in cancer molecular genetic research, primarily identifying mutational or gene expression profiles of tumors for prognosis or prediction of response to therapy. Rasmussen received her Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire followed by a fellowship in clinical molecular genetics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
Peter Rubin, M.D.
Southern Maine Health Care and Stephens Memorial Hospital
Rubin practices oncology at SMHC Cancer Care Center and is Medical Director. He is board certified in hematology and medical oncology. Rubin received his M.D. from University of Calgary followed by residencies at University of Calgary, University of Western Ontario and University of Western Ontario-Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. He also held a fellowship at Duke University Medical Center.
Amit Sanyal, M.D.
MaineHealth Cancer Care South Portland
Sanyal is the Senior Medical Director for the Medical Oncology Group at Maine Health. Following an MBBS, he earned his medical degree from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India followed by becoming a Member of the Royal College of Physicians at Peterborough District Hospital, UK. He completed a Residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Madison, WI. Most recently he earned a Master of Health Care Delivery Science (MHCDS) from Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. Sanyal is an active in oncology research activities and is the recipient of multiple grants and awards as well as being the author of several scientific publications.
Sarah Sinclair, D.O.
Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center
Sinclair is the Director of the Clinical Research program and a hematologist/oncologist at Northern Light Cancer Care. She is board certified in Hematology and Oncology. Her interests include breast cancer, clinical research and genomic medicine. Sinclair received her D.O. from University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine followed by a residency at University of Connecticut School of Medicine in internal medicine, and a fellowship with the National Cancer Institute in hematology/oncology.
Christian Thomas, M.D.
New England Cancer Specialists
Thomas joined New England Cancer Specialists as a physician and the Director of Clinical Research in 2012. His clinical focus is on thoracic cancers (lung cancer, esophageal cancer) as well as GU cancers (prostate, testicular, bladder and kidney cancers). He also serves as an advisor to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society and CMS/Medicare. Thomas completed his medical school training in Frankfurt, Germany and an internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at Colombia University in New York City.
Northern Light Mercy Hospital
Anna Niegowska is an oncologist and hematologist who sees patients at the Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine. Prior to being a member of Mercy’s active staff, she completed a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, NY. She received her medical degree from the Medical University of Lublin in Lublin, Poland and then did her residency at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Queens, NY.
Catherine Chodkiewicz, MD
Northern Light CancerCare of Maine
Dr Chodkiewicz practices oncology at Northern Light CancerCare of Maine in Brewer, ME and St Joseph Hospital in Bangor, ME. Her experience includes work in the development of clinical protocols and she has served and the PI on a number of clinical trials sponsored my major academic centers and pharmaceutical companies. Dr Chodkiewicz completed her medical school training as well as an internship and residency at Bobigny School of Medicine, University of Paris XIII followed by an Internal Medicine Residency at Graduate Hospital, University of Pennsylvania and a Clinical Fellowship in Medical Oncology and Hematology with Kaplan Comprehensive Cancer Center at New York Medical Center.
Stanley Chaleff is a pediatric oncologist and hematologist who sees patients at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program at MaineHealth. A member of Maine Medical Center's active staff, he joined the cancer staff in 2008 after completing a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. He received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine and then did his pediatric at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.