All our Plenary Speakers are handpicked based on their expertise in the field; allowing them to share their groundbreaking research or discuss an important area of policy, as well as provide an overview of the topic. We’re excited to share some fantastic speakers with you for 2020, but make sure you check back for updates as we continue to confirm more!
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USARead biography
Dr. Papaemmanuil is an Assistant Attending Computational Oncologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and an Affiliate Member of the Cancer Genetics and Biology Programme. She is affiliated with the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology and is the Associate Director for the Center of Hematological Malignancies.
Dr Papaemmanuil was trained in Human Molecular Genetics at the University of Glasgow, completed PhD studies in Population Genetics and Epidemiology, and conducted her postdoctoral research at the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge UK. Dr Papaemmanuil is a certified computer systems and operations development analyst by the British Society of Computing.
Dr Papaemmanuil’s research is focused on developing comprehensive laboratory and novel analytical methodologies to study the role of acquired mutations in cancer, and how these define clinical phenotype and determine therapeutic response. Dr Papaemmanuil works with large and well-annotated clinical trial cohorts to study the diagnostic, prognostic and predictive value of genomic variation and how this knowledge can guide the development of future clinical protocols. To this effect, she is leading a number of international multi-centre consortia including the prospective molecular characterization for the International Working Group in myelo-displastic syndromes, the pan-myeloid meta-analysis, and genome profiling of the UK acute lymphocytic leukaemia clinical trials. At MSK, Dr Papaemmanuil leads integrative whole genome, transcriptome and methylation studies of spatially and temporally separated samples in pediatric tumours. These studies are focused on understanding the genomic and clonal structure of pediatric genomes at diagnosis and how these change during therapy, and importantly, disease progression. Informed by genomic findings, Dr Papaemmanuil uses primary patient tissues to study the biological consequences of disease defining mutations in cancer using single-cell and iPSC cell lies.
Dr Papaemmanuil is a European Society of Hematology Fellow, an American Society for Hematology Scholar, and a Josie Robertson Investigator.
Karin de Visser
The Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode Institute, The NetherlandsRead biography
Prof. Dr Karin E. de Visser obtained her PhD at the Division of Immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam in the field of tumour immunotherapy.
From 2003-2005 she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Prof. Dr Lisa Coussens at the University of California, San Francisco, where she developed an active interest in the interplay between the adaptive and innate immune system during cancer development. In 2005 she joined the laboratory of Prof. Dr Jos Jonkers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, where she expanded her research direction into the field of inflammation and mammary carcinogenesis, using conditional mouse models. Currently, she is a senior group leader at the Division of Tumor Biology & Immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, alongside her appointment as a group leader at Oncode Institute and as professor of Experimental Immunobiology of Cancer at Leiden University Medical Center. The overall goal of her research is to understand which mechanisms the immune system influences metastatic breast cancer. Her research group identified how mammary tumours induce a systemic inflammatory response that facilitates metastasis formation (Coffelt et al. Nature 2015) and how the genetic make-up of breast cancer dictates systemic pro-metastatic inflammation (Wellenstein et al. Nature 2019). Through mechanistic understanding of the crosstalk between the immune system and cancer she aims to contribute to the design of novel immunomodulatory strategies to fight metastatic breast cancer.
Karin de Visser received an ERC consolidator grant in 2014 and a prestigious NWO-VICI grant in 2019, she is the recipient of the 2015 Metastasis Research Prize of the Beug Foundation and in 2016 she was selected as a member of the EMBO young investigator program. More information can be found here: https://www.nki.nl/divisions/tumor-biology-immunology/de-visser-k-group/
Trinity College Dublin, IrelandRead biography
Luke O’Neill is Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is a world expert on innate immunity and inflammation. He is listed by Thompson Reuters/ Clarivates in the top 1% of immunologists in the world, based on citations per paper. Professor O’Neill is co-founder of Inflazome and Sitryx, which aim to develop new medicines for inflammatory diseases.
He was awarded the Royal Dublin Society / Irish Times Boyle Medal for scientific excellence, the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences, The Society for Leukocyte Biology (SLB) Dolph O. Adams award, the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal and in 2018 the Milstein Award of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Luke also has a passion for communicating science to the public. He has a weekly radio slot on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk. In 2018 he published with Gill the best-selling ‘Humanology: a scientist’s guide to our amazing existence’. This October sees the publication also with Gill of ‘The Great Irish Science Book’, a Science book for 10-12-year-olds.
UCLA, USARead biography
Patricia A. Ganz, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine and Professor of Health Policy & Management, Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA; Associate Director for Population Science, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Patricia A. Ganz, M.D., a medical oncologist, has been a member of the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine since 1978 and the UCLA School of Public Health since 1992. Since 1993 she has been the Associate Director for Population Science at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 1999 she was awarded an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship for “Enhancing Patient Outcomes across the Cancer Control Continuum.” Dr Ganz was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2007, now National Academy of Medicine (NAM). She served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors from 2002-2007 and on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of Directors from 2003-2006. She received the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor in 2010.
Dr. Ganz has served on three NAM consensus committees: From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor, 2005; Cancer Care for the Whole Patient, 2008; and Delivering High-quality Cancer Care, 2013, which she chaired. Dr. Ganz is a pioneer in the assessment of quality of life in cancer patients, and has focused much of her clinical and research efforts in the areas of breast cancer and its prevention. At the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, she leads Cancer Control and Survivorship Program. Her major areas of research include cancer survivorship and the late effects of cancer treatment, measurement of patient reported outcomes in clinical treatment trials, and quality of care for cancer patients. In July 2017, Dr. Ganz became Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, USARead biography
For over 30 years, Dr Baylin has studied the role of epigenetic gene silencing in the initiation and progression of human cancer. He and his colleagues fostered the concept that DNA hypermethylation of gene promoters, and associated transcriptional silencing, can serve as an alternative to mutations for producing loss of tumour suppressor gene function. They have described some of the classic genes involved, invented approaches to randomly screen the cancer genome for such genes and to demonstrate their functional role in cancer progression, helped begin to unravel the molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and maintenance of the gene silencing and utilized all of their findings for translational purposes. For the latter activity, Dr currently co-leads, with Peter Jones, the Van Andel Research Institute, Stand up to Cancer (SU2C), Epigenetic Therapy Team. Baylin has authored or co-authored over 425 full-length publications on the above and other areas of cancer biology.
Dr Baylin is currently co-Chief of the Cancer Biology Program of The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Chair in Cancer Research. Representative honours include the 2003 Jack Shultz Memorial Lecture in Genetics, Fox Chase Cancer Center; the 2004 National Investigator of the Year Award from the NCI SPORE program; the 2005 Shubitz Cancer Research Prize from the University of Chicago; the 2008 The David Workman Memorial Award (with Peter A. Jones, PhD) from the Samuel Waxman Foundation; the 2009 Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research, (with Peter A. Jones); the 14th NCI Alfred G. Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics; and the 2011 American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor. He has been elected as a Fellow of the AACR Academy, and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2017.
Oregon Health and Science University, USARead biography
Vinay Prasad MD MPH is a hematologist-oncologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University.
He studies cancer drugs, health policy, and evidence-based medicine. He is author of over 200 academic articles, co-author of the book Ending Medical Reversal, and author of the forthcoming book Malignant.
Vinay also hosts a podcast called Plenary Session on medicine, oncology, & health policy.
McGill University, CanadaRead biography
William D. Foulkes, M.B.BS, Ph.D., F.R.S.C. is a James McGill Professor in the Departments of Human Genetics and Oncology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He is senior clinician-scientist who has worked in the area of inherited susceptibility to cancer for over 25 years.
His research career centres on understanding inherited susceptibility to cancer. The direction of his program has been to move from cancer gene mutation discovery to clinical applications. This work is intimately associated with his clinical career: this process has enabled him to directly use patients as a source of discovery and to rapidly translate the results of our work for the benefit of patients and their families. Over the years, he has supervised many undergraduate and graduate students as well as research and medical fellows. To complement his own expertise, he has developed a broad collaborative network of clinical, pathology and basic research experts with relevant specialities that are systematically involved in all aspects of his research program.