Blue Downward Triangle

Our Team

Clinical Research

Along with supporting our cutting-edge research program, the Verdi Clinical Research team provides high-quality, compassionate care, respecting the individual needs of our patients and their families.

Costantine Albany, M.D.

Co-Medical Director of Research/Investigator

Dr. Costantine Albany is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. He completed his medical training at Tishreen University School of Medicine in Syria and trained in Internal Medicine at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and Columbia University St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Albany completed his fellowship in hematology and medical Oncology at Indiana University School of Medicine before serving as an assistant professor of medicine at IU’s Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis. He provided exceptional care to patients at Horizon Oncology and Research Center from 2019 to 2020 and rejoined the growing team in 2022. He specializes in genitourinary cancer such as prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer and is an expert in testicular cancer.

Dr. Albany has strived for clinical, professional, and educational excellence throughout his career. He holds an academic appointment as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine Divisions of Hem/Onc. Additionally, Dr. Albany has received several professional honors and awards. Most recently, he received the Career Development Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in 2014 and the Clinical Scholar Award from the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology in 2015.

Dr. Albany’s extensive experience in clinical studies is evidenced by the fact that his work has been published in dozens of peer-reviewed journals and periodicals. He is committed to providing excellence in oncology care in a trusting, compassionate environment.

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Alejandro Preti, M.D.

Co-Medical Director of Research/Investigator

Dr. H. Alejandro Preti is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of both the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Preti is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. He has been decorated with honors and awards throughout his career. He was selected as one of the Best Doctors in America in 2007-2008 and again in 2011-2012. He was also named one of America's Top Oncologists in 2009.

Born and raised in Argentina, Dr. Preti obtained his M.D. from Facultad de Medicina Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1985. He went on to complete two Internal Medicine Residencies: one at CEMIC in Buenos Aires in 1989, and the other at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1991.

Dr. Preti continued residing in Texas, completing a Fellowship in Medical Oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1994. He went on to become the Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Lymphoma at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center from 1994-1996 while simultaneously serving as the Medical Director for the institution’s International Patient Center.

Dr. Preti acted as consultant to the Department of Lymphoma-Myeloma at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center until August 2005. During this time, he held a voluntary faculty position at Baylor College of Medicine as Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, where he created and chaired the Lymphoma-Myeloma Tumor Board at Houston Methodist Hospital from 2001 to 2015.

He earned experience in clinical research while serving as a principal investigator and collaborator in select clinical trials at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, notably for the BCM/TMH Lymphoma SPORE. Additional experience was gained during his association with the Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board and the Gastrointestinal Tumor Boards at Methodist Hospital. His clinical expertise helped him rise to the position of Medical Director for the M8NW Oncology Inpatient Unit at The Methodist Hospital in Houston until January of 2011.

Dr. Preti is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. He has been decorated with honors and awards throughout his career. He was selected as one of the Best Doctors in America in 2007-2008 and again in 2011-2012. He was also named one of America's Top Oncologists in 2009.

After 20 years, Dr. Preti closed his international practice in Houston in order to teach and help oncology practices in need. He found a place at Verdi Cancer & Research Center of Texas, where his shared philosophies and expertise in oncological care contribute to the greater medical community in Dallas, TX.

Dr. Preti is a father of three. In his free time, he enjoys cooking and playing the piano. He is an amateur astronomer, an avid tennis player, and kiteboards when the wind is favorable.

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Jivesh Sharma, M.D.

Investigator

Dr. Sharma has been in private oncology practice since 1993. He also serves as clinical faculty for Internal Medicine Residents and also for multiple other academic clinical training programs.

He received a B.S. degree in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington and his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency and Medical Oncology Fellowship at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. He is Board Certified in Medical Oncology.

Dr. Sharma's core training is in cancer translational research. He also trained in a Phase 1 cancer therapy development center. The focus of his training was in developing new bench to bedside treatment strategies for cancer patients. Dr Sharma is certified in Medical Informatics and has participated in EMR development and the development of expert decision support tools to help oncologists caring for cancer patients.

Dr. Sharma has over 25 years of clinical experience caring for all types of cancer patients including lung cancer, breast cancer, Ovarian cancer, GI cancers such as colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lymphomas and leukemias.

Throughout his career, Dr. Sharma has received multiple teaching awards and was honored to present as the keynote speaker for the UT Arlington College of Science Commencement. He is a multi-year recipient of the Best Doctors in Dallas award.

Dr. Sharma is a member of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He has also been a member of American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME), Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), American College of Physician Executives (ACPE).

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Karl M. Rogers, M.D.

Investigator

Karl M. Rogers, M.D. attended Rush Medical College in Chicago where he received his M.D. degree in 1987. Upon graduation, Dr. Rogers moved to Nashville where he completed a medical internship and residency at Baptist Hospital in 1990.

He continued his training at Vanderbilt University and completed a fellowship program specializing in oncology and hematology in 1993. Dr. Rogers is board certified in medical oncology. Dr. Rogers treats all adult cancers including breast, colon, and lung with a special interest in lymphomas.

Dr. Rogers holds the following academic appointments:
• Instructor of Medicine, University of Tennessee, St. Thomas Midtown Hospital, 1993-Present
• Attending for Medical House staff Teaching Service, 6/93-Present
• Clinical Instructor in Nursing (Medicine), Vanderbilt University School of Nursing “ 7/00-Present

Dr. Rogers is an active member of the Nashville Academy of Medicine, Tennessee Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Cancer Society, and American College of Physicians. Dr. Rogers previously served as the Chairman of St. Thomas Midtown Hospital's Cancer Committee and Ethics Review Board. He also served as a board member of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

For nearly 30 years, Dr. Rogers has called Nashville home. Dr. Rogers' wife, Connie, is a nurse practitioner and works with him at Nashville Oncology Associates, PC. He is active in his community and church. Dr. Rogers is an avid pilot and enjoys flying airplanes, playing tennis, and bike riding.

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Carl R. Willis, M.D.

Investigator

Dr. Carl R. Willis became an associate with Nashville Oncology Associates in June 2004. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine for the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Internal Medicine Training Program based at St. Thomas Midtown Hospital as well as serving on several hospital committees.

Dr. Willis received his Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and Biochemistry in 1989 from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and he attended the University Of Alabama School Of Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama where he received his Doctor of Medicine in 1993.

After completing medical school, Dr. Willis received his commission as a Captain in the United States Army, Medical Corp. He completed his internship and residency training in Internal Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC in 1996. Dr. Willis then completed his fellowship training in Hematology and Oncology at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland in 1999. During this time, he also participated in a Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Translational Research in Hematological Malignancies in Baltimore, Maryland.

Following completion of his training, Dr. Willis served as a staff Hematologist/ Oncologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for five years, as well as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Willis is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in the disciplines of Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology and Hematology.

Dr. Willis became an associate with Nashville Oncology Associates, PC in June 2004. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine for the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Internal Medicine Training Program based at St. Thomas Midtown Hospital as well as serving on several hospital committees.

Dr. Willis is an active member of the Nashville Medical Society, the Tennessee Medical Association, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Willis and his wife, Sonya have 3 children. He enjoys reading and spending time with his family.

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Laura Feller, RN, MS, AGPCNP-BC, CCRC

Investigator

Laura Feller has been with Horizon Oncology since 2004. She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and her Master of Science in Nursing—Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Specialization from Purdue University.

She achieved ANCC board certification in June 2013. Laura has worked in the oncology field as a Staff RN since 1988.

In 2008, she pursued her love of research by becoming a clinical research coordinator and became ACRP certified in September 2013. Laura is a member of the Wabash Valley ONS, Sigma Theta Tau, and CAPNI.

Laura is a dedicated healthcare professional with over 30 years of experience as a registered nurse, research coordinator, nurse practitioner, and sub-investigator. With over 13 years of clinical research experience, she has been actively involved in over 108 Phase I and Phase II trials. For her, research is not merely a vocation, it is a passion.

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Nancy Anderson, MSN-FNP

Investigator

Nancy Anderson is a Registered Family Nurse Practitioner with over 11 years of experience. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Indiana University Kokomo in 2016 and completed her Master of Science from Indiana University Kokomo in 2019.

Nancy has worked for various hospitals and hospices in Indiana and Michigan throughout her career. Before joining Horizon Oncology, she spent six years working in a busy Progressive Care Unit. She holds certifications in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS).

Nancy is excited to be a part of the Horizon Oncology caregiving team. Her extensive experience as a nurse practitioner, combined with her drive to provide exceptional and compassionate patient care, is in perfect alignment with Horizon’s aim to ensure that each of our patients feels cared for and respected.

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Kirsten Becker, MSN, RN, CCRC

Assistant Director of Clinical Research

Kirsten began her career in healthcare in as a registered nurse in the inpatient hospital setting. She then moved on to work as a communicable disease nurse in the county health department. Kirsten joined Verdi in 2018 as a Clinical Research Coordinator.

She learned quickly that oncology clinical research was the perfect career for her. She advanced to a Clinical Trial Project Manager in 2021. Then at the start of 2022, she moved into her role as the Assistant Director of Clinical Research and is focusing on growth and expanding research into all Verdi practices.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Saint Elizabeth School of Nursing and recently graduated with a Master of Science in Nurse degree from Olivet Nazarene University. She enjoys spending time with her daughter, Charleston and her dog, Daisy. Her favorite place to be is by the pool in the warm sunshine.

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Mariela Abad

Clinical Trial Project Manager

Mariela was born and raised in Peru, where she went to Universidad Nacional de San Agustin, Medical School before moving to the United States in 2011, she gained her medical degree in Peru and then her curiosity to discover a new path in the medical field; drove her to start a career in Clinical Research.

She also has a Clinical Research Coordinator certification and finds this field to be exciting, challenging and rewarding.

Mariela joined Horizon Oncology Research in 2014. Since then, she’s played several roles within the organization and has been part of the team during the growth of Verdi. Currently she is the Clinical Trial Project Manager in charge of overseeing the studies for all Verdi Oncology practices.

She is a passionate traveler and avid cook of Peruvian food. Loves to spend time with family and friends and is focused on keeping a healthy lifestyle. Dancing and listening to music are part of her daily routine, and her constant curiosity to learn new things keeps her busy and active.

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Margo Denner

Research Financial Manager

Margo began her career in research at Purdue University assisting professors with the budget for their research projects. She joined Verdi in 2014 as the Regulatory Coordinator. In 2016, she became the Research Administrator/Regulatory Coordinator. Currently, Margo is the Research Financial Manager.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University and obtained her Association of Clinical Research Professional in 2020. She enjoys spending time with her husband Bill and son Nick, at the bowling center or golf course. She also enjoys reading, cross stitching, and quilting.

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Candy Draper

Research Regulatory Manager

Candy came to Horizon after leaving her nearly 30-year career at State Farm Insurance.

After losing her sister to cancer several years ago, Candy knew she wanted to be a part of the research world.

Candy hired in as a Regulatory Administrative Assistant in June 2017 and in 2021 was promoted to Research Regulatory Manager.

She is part of a research team focusing on the growth and expansion of multiple practices throughout the Verdi corporation.

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Holly Cutter

Research Data Manager

Holly began working at Horizon Oncology in 2008 after having worked in medical pre-certification for almost 10 years prior. Having lost many family members to cancer, she felt compelled to do her part to help find the cure and began working in the research department at Horizon Oncology in 2014 as a data coordinator.

In 2021, Holly advanced to Data Manager overseeing data entry for all studies for all Verdi Oncology sites. She enjoys spending time with her 3 boys and her dog, working out, baking, and cooking.

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