Claudia Capparelli, PhD, Named Merit Award Recipient

Claudia Capparelli, PhD, Research Instructor in the Cancer Biology Department at Jefferson University, is a proud recipient of a Legacy of Hope Merit Award.

Dr. Capparelli began her research at Jefferson through their long-standing partnership with University of Calabria (UNICAL).

“America is a must for research,” says Dr. Capparelli, who received her PhD from the University of Calabria. “The partnership [between Jefferson and UNICAL] made coming to Philadelphia an easy choice.”

Dr. Capparelli’s initial PhD research focused on the use of anabolic steroids and the possible links to an increase in risk of breast cancer. She continued her breast cancer-focused research when she arrived at Jefferson in the lab of Dr. Michael Lisanti.

In 2012, Dr. Capparelli began her post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Andrew Aplin focusing on the role of proteins within the microenvironments that affect their response to therapies. She generated the preclinical data that lead to the start of a clinical trials for melanoma patients. Dr. Capparelli’s goal is to identify alterations that allow cancer cells to metastasize and survive during treatments. While her current research focuses on skin cancer specifically, the hope is that this research will be translated to other types of cancer with similar protein mutations, including lung and breast cancer.

Dr. Wm. Kevin Kelly, Jefferson’s director Division of Solid Tumor Oncology and chair of the Legacy of Hope scientific review committee, encouraged Dr. Capparelli to apply for the award. “Dr. Capparelli is a talented young investigator working with Dr. Aplin to better understand the complex cell signaling network in melanoma. [This has] led to novel clinical trials for patient with advanced melanoma.”

“Grants from nonprofits like Legacy of Hope are so important to researchers,” Dr. Capparelli says. “It was hugely important for me. Since I’m not a US Citizen there are a lot of federal grants that I’m unable to apply for. Awards like this allow me to ensure that I have my own funding if I want to explore a finding further.”

Legacy of Hope’s Merit Awards are made possible by funding from our generous donors and through fundraising events like PHL24. Please join us on September 20-21, 2019 by registering here.

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Kimberly S. Reed

An award winning international speaker, author, corporate trainer and diversity, equality and inclusion executive, nationally recognized thought leader, expert, strategist and advisor to some of the world’s most influential organizations in global professional services, health care, financial services, consumer products and pharmaceutical industries.

Kimberly is a seasoned leader in transforming organizations into high-performing enterprises and challenging leaders to live without limits, with more than 20 years of HR, talent acquisition, and diversity & inclusion experience; successfully turning around troubled diversity practices by designing, building, leading, and shaping high-performing cultures at global organizations with robust strategies, global employee development programs and enterprise-wide initiatives that have increased revenue growth and organizational brand eminence.

Michele Redrow

Michele is a Director on the Legacy of Hope board and also serves on the Executive Committee.

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Professional:  Mary is a certified city planner for Philadelphia, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Pro Bono Honor Roll First Judicial District of Philadelphia.

Bio: Mary’s insight into the legal world is invaluable to Legacy of Hope, both in keeping our daily operations moving fluidly as well as making connections for our patients and their families when needed.

“Michael reached out to me about 2 years ago through mutual friends. We worked together to help a woman with stage 4 cancer get her electricity turned back on after it was shut off during the winter. I’ve been 100% supportive of Mike’s vision since then.”

joseph ruggieri, jr

Education: Bachelor’s of Science from West Chester University in Management and Finance

Bio: As a member of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.’s upper management team, Joseph brings a wealth of knowledge regarding finances, management, team-building and planning to the Legacy of Hope board. Joseph linked up with Michael, our President, and Wells Fargo began supporting Legacy of Hope annually.

“My father passed away from what started as Colon Cancer in 2015. Cancer is horrible and if there is something I can do to help others impacted I would want to be a part of it.”

David April

David is the founder of the Fishtown Beer Runners, an organization with chapters all over the world based here in Philadelphia.

dr. kevin kelly

Dr. Kevin Kelly leads Legacy of Hope’s Scientific Review Board to seek out and support the most promising cancer research in Philadelphia using a merit-based system.  He is Jefferson’s Director of Solid Tumor Oncology.

greg garber

Greg Garber is the director of Oncology Support Services at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

Gina Mancuso

Gina’s experience as the very successful co-owner of CoreFitness, LLC coupled with her expertise in planning special events makes her the perfect Vice President for Legacy of Hope. With energy, passion, and drive that makes her seem superhuman, Gina’s connection to our mission is a personal one.

“Both my father and my dear childhood friend were diagnosed with cancer within 3 months of one another. They were surrounded and supported by friends and family throughout their battle and until their passing. No one should suffer through a diagnosis alone and, without Legacy of Hope, some people would do just that.”

Michael Rowe


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Miles Mack Community Services & Leadership Honorable Mention – 2016 TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2015

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With his free time so limited, Michael manages to fuse his work with his other passion: running. Whether it is with the Fishtown Beer Runners, our own Team Relentless Hope, or his closest friends, Michael can often be spotted on the streets of Philadelphia keeping himself fit and active.