October 22-23, 2020

Virtual Congress 2.0

POET Faculty

Gwyn Bebb, MA, BMBCh, PhD, FRCPC

Medical Oncologist, Tom Baker Cancer Centre
Director, Clinical Research Unit, Tom Baker Cancer Centre
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Calgary
Investigator, Translational Research Laboratory
Director, Glans-Look Lung Cancer Database
Calgary, AB

Gwyn Bebb is a medical oncologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre whose clinical expertise is in the treatment of lung cancer. His main field of research interest is the targeted therapy of lung cancer and the consequences of ATM loss on the sensitivity of cancers to various treatments. Over the last 12 years he has led the Glans-Look Lung Cancer Research project to create a lung cancer database, as well as a lung cancer tissue and nucleic acid repository, creating a comprehensive lung cancer research platform.

Gwyn Bebb was an undergraduate at Cambridge University where he studied Natural Science. He did his pre-clinical studies for two years at St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, University of London before enjoying three years of clinical medicine studies at Oxford University where he earned his BMBCh. After completing house jobs in Bath and Oxford, he moved to the Canadian West coast where he joined Professor Barry Glickman’s lab at the University of Victoria as a research associate. In 1994 he moved to the University of British Columbia to start a PhD on the “Role of ATM in Breast Cancer” with Dr Kirsten Skov before completing his Internal Medicine Residency in 2000. A two year Medical Oncology Residency at the B.C Cancer Agency Vancouver Centre then followed, leading to another two year fellowship looking at animal models of mantle cell lymphoma at the same institution. He moved to Calgary to set up his research laboratory in 2004. He has been leading the POET program since 2017.

Originally from North Wales, where he attended Friars School in Bangor, he is a fluent Welsh speaker.  He retains a keen interest in rugby, British culture and history and is a member of the Calgary Welsh Society.

Pinaki Bose, Ph.D

Assistant Professor, Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Oncology
University of Calgary
Director, Tumour Biology and Translational Research, Ohlson Research Initiative
Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute
Calgary, AB

Dr. Pinaki Bose completed his Ph.D. with Dr. Karl Riabowol at the University of Calgary, investigating the role of the ING1 tumour suppressor protein in DNA damage signaling and apoptosis. After completing his Ph.D., Pinaki joined the Ohlson Research Initiative (ORI) as a postdoctoral fellow and trained in the molecular epidemiology of head and neck cancers under the supervision of Drs. Joseph Dort and Nigel Brockton. As part of a second postdoctoral fellowship, Pinaki trained at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) Genome Sciences Centre in cancer genomics and bioinformatics under one of the leading bioinformaticians in the world, Dr. Steven Jones. Pinaki was also a member of the personalized oncogenomics (POG) program at BC Cancer. The POG initiative administers genome-guided targeted therapies to recurrent/metastatic cancer patients.

Dr. Bose currently directs the translational research program within the ORI, a multidisciplinary head and neck cancer research initiative. The Bose lab investigates the biology of head and neck, brain and lung cancers focusing on the role of the immune system in carcinogenesis and progression.

 

Gerry Batist, MD FACP

Director, Segal Cancer Centre (Dept. of Oncology), Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital
Director, McGill Centre for Translational Research in Cancer
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Oncology, McGill University
Montreal, QC

Gerald Batist is former Chair of the McGill University Department of Oncology and Director of the McGill Centre for Translational Research in Cancer. A major award from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation led to the expansion of the Centre and its integration into the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General Hospital, which he also directs. Dr. Gerald Batist was born in Montreal, and though he was at University in New York City, he returned for medical school at McGill University. This was followed by post-doctoral training in New York, Boston and finally at the National Cancer Institute in Washington. There he trained in medical oncology and in molecular pharmacology. Dr. Batist is a clinician-scientist, trained in medical oncology and molecular pharmacology. His work, both in his lab and clinical research focuses on therapeutic resistance. This includes large consortia that run large-scale biopsy-based clinical trials to identify novel mechanisms of resistance to specific drugs. In 2014 he co-led a successful application that resulted in the establishment of the Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine, Exactis Innovations. The core feature is a program to build a massive bio bank and database linked to a prospective longitudinal registry of cancer patients followed throughout the trajectory of their illness, a project called ‘Personalize My Treatment’. In 2016, Dr Batist was appointed Member of the Order of Canada and Knight of the National Order of Quebec.

Julia Drewes, PhD

Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases Department
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Drewes is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Infectious Diseases Department. Her research program focuses on the role of the microbiome in colon cancer using experimental animal models and patient cohorts, with a particular emphasis on biofilm-associated tumorigenesis.

David S.Hong MD

Professor
Deputy Chair of the Dept of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics [A Phase I Program]
Division of Cancer Medicine
Associate Vice President of Clinical Research
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

 Dr. David S. Hong is a Professor, Deputy Chairman in the Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Program), Clinical Medical Director of the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy, and Associate Vice President of Clinical Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Hong was instrumental in forming one of the largest and most innovative Phase 1 clinical trial units in the world, with over 1200 patients enrolled in clinical trials in FY2019 and over 100 active ongoing clinical trials. As a faculty member in the Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, he has an extensive track record of leading successful studies that involve a strong correlative component and collaborating with other investigators, both basic and clinical, within MD Anderson and outside institutions. Dr. Hong has been the Principal Investigator of over 95 research protocols that involve a wide range of sponsors, including the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Hong has been an author or co-author on over 300 publications published in high impact journals such as NEJM, Lancet Oncology, Science Translational Research, Cancer Discovery, JCO, and Nature. He has been involved in the early development of cabozantinib, siltuximab, dabrafenib, trametinib, regorafenib, lenvatinib and larotrectinib. His most recent research endeavors have focused on developing personalized therapies for patients whose tumors bear specific genetic alterations, novel immunotherapies, cellular therapies in solid tumors, and developing novel RNA therapeutics. He is a recognized international expert on c-Met and has led several national trials such as the c-Met amplified and c-Met exon 14 deleted arms of the NCI-MATCH trial. Dr. Hong has been a speaker at many major events such as ASCO, AACR, NCI-EORTC-AACR, and ESMO-SLACO. He been awarded the ASCO Young Investigator Award, the Jesse Jones award, Best Boss award at MD Anderson, Irwin Krakoff Award for Clinical Research and the Gerald P. Bodey award for education in the Division of Cancer Medicine, MD Anderson. Finally, in his role as Associate Vice President of Clinical Research he has helped lead an initiative at MD Anderson to reduce trial activation timelines by over 32%.

He has been invited to give over 138 presentations, nationally and internationally, is an author on over 420 peer reviewed publications (Google Scholar h-index 126) and is Principal Investigator and co-applicant on grants totaling over $185 million.

Rosalyn Juergens, B.S. (Hons), MD., PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Oncology
McMaster University
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Oncology
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institute
Hamilton, ON

 

Dr. Juergens received her medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  She was an intern and resident in the Osler Internal Medicine Training Program at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institute.  She completed a fellowship in medical oncology with a focus on upper aerodigestive malignancies as well at Johns Hopkins.  Additionally, she completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She was on the faculty at Johns Hopkins from 2007-2010 until she joined the faculty at McMaster University in 2011. 

Dr. Juergens’ clinical expertise is in lung and esophageal cancer. She chairs the Lung Disease Site Team at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.  She is also a patient advocate and serves as the Medical Advisory Committee Chair for Lung Cancer Canada.  She is the Head of the Department of Clinical Trials at the Juravinski Cancer Centre.  She is a member of the Escarpment Cancer Research Institute.  Her areas of research expertise involve improving therapeutics and diagnostics in cancer. 

Her research focus has been in developmental therapeutics with a concentration on Phase I and II clinical trials. She is the chair of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group Investigational New Drug Committee.  She is a member of the Cancer Research  Institute’s Scientific Leadership Committee.  She has published her work in prominent journals including such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, The New England Journal of Medicine  and Cancer Discovery.  She has been a principal investigator on numerous clinical trials assessing treatments in lung cancer as well as esophagogastric cancer.  She is a highly sought teacher in the field of immunotherapy and has been an invited speaker across the world.

Steven Jones, PhD

Co-Director and Head, Bioinformatics,
Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer
Professor, University of British Columbia
Department of Medical Genetics
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Jones gained his PhD at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK in 1999, where he was involved in the C. elegans genome project. Currently, he is Head of Bioinformatics and Co-Director of the Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer in Vancouver. Dr Jones has played a role in numerous other genome projects, including that of the human, mouse, rat, bovine, fruitfly and the SARS coronavirus.

Dr. Jones’s research focus is the computational analysis of DNA sequence and the analysis of genomic and transcriptomic data. He has applied next-generation DNA sequencing technology to determine the mutations and rearrangements driving many tumour types. A key goal is to develop bioinformatic approaches to predict the most efficacious therapies from the genetic analysis of patient tumour samples to
help guide clinical decision making.

Amongst Dr. Jones many and varied honours and awards he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada as well as the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2014 and again in 2016, he was named by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential researchers being in the top 1% of cited scientists. In both 2018 and 2019 Dr. Jones was recognised as one of the most highly cited scientific researchers and named
one of the world’s most influential scientific minds by Clarivate Analytics. In June 2019 Dr. Jones was named Canada Research Chair in Computational Genomics at the University of British Columbia. He has been invited to give over 140 presentations, nationally and internationally, is an author on over 440 peer-reviewed publications (Google Scholar h-index 134) and is Principal Investigator and co-applicant on grants that have totaled over $551 million to date.

Lori Kunkel, 

Board of Directors,
Curis, Inc., Nurix Therapeutics,
OricPharma & Maverick Therapeutics
San Diego, California

Dr. Kunkel holds more than two decades of experience in oncology and immunology drug development and commercialization. Dr. Kunkel currently serves on the Board of Directors of Curis, Inc., Nurix Therapeutics, OricPharma and Maverick Therapeutics.  She was previously the acting Chief Medical Officer at Loxo Oncology and subsequently served on their board. She also served as Chief Medical Officer at Pharmacyclics (acquired by AbbVie) and Proteolix, Inc. (acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals), where she contributed to the global approvals of cancer therapeutics IMBRUVICA® and Kyprolis®, respectively. She participates as a scientific advisor to multiple clients including Atreca, Enliven, Jasper Therapeutics, Oncopeptides, Oryzon, and Rain Therapeutics.  Dr. Kunkel spent ten years in academic medicine and served as a faculty member at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at University of California, Los Angeles. She is board certified in internal medicine and held board certifications in hematology and oncology and holds a B.A. in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Douglas Mahoney, PhD

Translational Scientist, Alberta Children’s Hospital
Charbonneau Cancer Research Institutes, Cumming School of Medicine
Calgary, AB

Dr. Douglas Mahoney is a translational scientist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and Charbonneau Cancer Research Institutes at the Cumming School of Medicine. Over the past 15 years, he has made important contributions to the development of two cancer immunotherapies, which are now being tested in human clinical trials. Currently, his lab is focused on understanding how rhabdoviruses interact with host cells and using that knowledge to engineer “designer viruses” that evoke anticancer immunity and improve Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy of cancer. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, his lab is now applying their expertise in virus engineering and immunology to build and test a set of viral-vectored vaccine prototypes against SARS-CoV-2. Outside the lab, Doug spends his time with his wife and three children, mostly enjoying the Alberta/BC wilderness.

Kathy McCoy, PhD

Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Scientific Director, International Microbiome Center
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB

Dr. McCoy obtained her PhD in Immunology from the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Otago University, Wellington, New Zealand. She performed her postdoctoral studies and was a junior group leader at the Institute of Experimental Immunology in Zürich, Switzerland. She held her first faculty position as Asst. Professor positions at McMaster University, Canada (2006-2010) and subsequently relocated to the University of Bern, Switzerland (2010-2016). Since 2016 Dr. Kathy McCoy is a Full Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, a member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, and the Scientific Director of the International Microbiome Center at the University of Calgary, Canada. Dr. McCoy utilizes germ-free and gnotobiotic models to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the microbiome regulates host immunity and physiology. Her research focusses on the dynamic interplay between the gut microbiota and the innate and adaptive immune systems. Her research aims to understand how exposure to intestinal microbes, particularly during early life, educates and regulates the mucosal, systemic and neuronal immune systems and how this can affect susceptibility to diseases, such as allergy, autoimmunity, neurodevelopmental disorders and cancer. Her lab also investigates how the microbiome regulates the immune system throughout life with the aim to identify microbial therapies that can be employed to enhance current therapeutic approaches, such as in cancer.

Sorana Morrissy, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB

Dr. Morrissy’s research program focuses on understanding genetic and functional heterogeneity in cancer, focusing on metastatic and recurrent brain tumors. This work brings together an interdisciplinary team of bioinformaticians, computer scientists, and biologists to address questions relating to cancer evolution, adaptation to therapy, and identification of novel targetable vulnerabilities for precision medicine.

Brad Nelson, PhD

Distinguished Scientist and Director,
Deeley Research Centre
Co-Director, Immunotherapy Program,
BC Cancer
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Nelson is a native of Vancouver BC. He received his B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. He completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Phil Greenberg and held faculty positions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington in Seattle. In 2003, he became the founding Director of BC Cancer’s Deeley Research Centre in Victoria BC. He is a Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and a Professor of Biochemistry/Microbiology at the University of Victoria. Dr. Nelson’s lab uses genomic and molecular approaches to study the immune response to cancer. As Scientific Co-Director of BC Cancer’s Immunotherapy Program, he is leading a phase I clinical trials program focused on CAR-T cell therapy for lymphoid cancers and novel T cell engineering strategies for gynecological cancers and other malignancies.

Jonathan U. Peled, MD, PhD

Assistant Attending, The Marcel van den Brink Lab
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre
New York City, NY

After Dr. Jonathan Peled’s medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and heme/onc fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he joined the Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service of MSKCC where he serves as an Assistant Attending.  Dr. Peled studies how the intestinal microbiota interact with the host immune system as it relates to hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, with a particular interest in graft-vs-tumor activity and graft-vs-host disease.

Dr. Peled’s research is focused on the mechanisms by which commensal bacteria modulate alloimmunity, both with respect to graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) and to graft-vs-tumor activity. His long-term research goals include developing microbiota-based biomarkers that will be clinically useful in the care of transplant recipients, as well as microbiota-targeted therapeutic strategies to improve patient outcomes.

Charles Ricordel, MD, PhDc

Head of University Clinic, University of Rennes 1
Pulmonologist, Thoracic Oncology
Rennes University Hospital
Rennes, FR

Dr. Ricordel is a pulmonologist from Rennes (France) involved in the field of thoracic oncology. He obtained a grant to conduct a Ph.D during 3 years, including one year as a visiting scholar in the University of Calgary in 2018, in order to explore the role of ING tumor suppressor proteins in lung malignancies. Dr. Ricordel is conducting phase I/II clinical trials in thoracic oncology as a principal investigator since 2019. Research Interests: lung cancer, tumor heterogeneity, clonal evolution upon targeted therapies, circulating tumor cells.

Anthony Tolcher, MD, FRCPC, FACP

CEO & Founder
NEXT OncologyTM
San Antonio, Texas

Dr. Tolcher is CEO and Founder of NEXT OncologyTM, San Antonio, Texas, a newly founded Phase I group that seeks to transform early clinical trials. NEXT Oncology’s mission is to accelerate the next breakthrough medicines for cancer and the vision is to be the most successful and respected Phase I program in oncology research. Dr. Tolcher served as President and Co‐Founder of START LLC from 2009‐ 2018, one of the world’s largest Clinical Phase I and early drug development operations in cancer medicine with 5 locations in San Antonio Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Madrid Spain; and Shanghai China. Dr. Tolcher is a medical oncologist who has over 25 years’ experience in early drug development and clinical trials. He has been involved in many of the initial phase I studies of new agents that subsequently were FDA approved for the treatment of cancer including pembrolizumab (Keytruda_), copanlisib (Aliqopa), trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla_), regorafenib (Stivarga_), liposomal vincristine (Marqibo_), cabazitaxel (Jevtana_), carfilzomib (Kyprolis_), gefitinib (Iressa_), erlotinib (Tarceva_), and eribulin (Halaven_). He is currently the principal investigator on 50 phase I clinical studies, is a reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, and Annals of Oncology. He has chaired the Developmental Therapeutics Review Committee for the American Association of Clinical Oncology Annual Scientific Program. He has a member of over 20 Scientific Advisory Boards for both large and small pharmaceutical companies, as well as a member of the Board of Director for 2 biotechnology companies. Dr. Tolcher has over 100 peer reviewed publications in scientific journals including Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Clinical Cancer Research, as well as an author of nine book chapters.

Dean Regier, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia
Senior Scientist, Cancer Control Research
BC Cancer
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Regier is a Senior Scientist within Cancer Control Research, BC Cancer, and an Associate Professor at the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Regier’s main interests have focused on the economics of access to precision medicine, particularly in context to supporting sustainable learning healthcare systems. He has presented this work internationally, with invitations from the US National Academies of Sciences and the World Economic Forum. He currently also serves on BC’s Drug Benefit Council, which makes evidence-informed recommendations to the Ministry of Health about the listing of drugs on the PharmaCare program formulary.

Marina Walther-Antonio, PhD

Assistant Professor, Microbiome Program
The Center for Individualized Medicine
Associate Consultant, Department of Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Marina Walther-Antonio is an associate consultant in the Department of Surgery, with a joint appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She is an Assistant Professor in the Microbiome Program, within the Center for Individualized Medicine.

Marina completed her undergraduate studies in biology at Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal. While an undergraduate she joined the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) for a research internship with the Indiana-Princeton-Tennessee Astrobiology Initiative (IPTAI) in the study of the geochemistry and microbiology of the subsurface of Mars and its Earth analogues. She continued her astrobiology work with an M.S. in microbiology at Indiana University and Ph.D. in environmental sciences at Washington State University on Europa (Jupiter Moon), and Titan (Saturn moon) analogues. She then completed her postdoctoral training at Mayo Clinic as a research fellow in the Microbiome Program, transitioning the evolutionary and ecological microbiome approaches and concepts to the medical field.

Her research focuses on the study of the microbiome role in human health and disease, in particular cancer and reproductive health. Active research efforts include the study of the microbiome role in endometrial and ovarian cancer with translational preventive, early detection and treatment research goals. She also performs technology development in her laboratory, in particular microfluidics and microbial single-cell technologies for point-of-care applications. In addition, Marina continues to be actively involved in astrobiological research, with research projects with NASA and the European Space Agency. The technology under development is being utilized to study International Space Station samples under the BIOMEX project.

Marina has set up the OR and pathology microbiome collections, which are now utilized by multiple Mayo Clinic investigators, and published the first microbiome study in endometrial cancer. Her research approach and scientific team are highly interdisciplinary and include joined efforts by microbiologists, engineers and surgeons in tight collaboration with computer scientists and physicists within the Microbiome Program. She has filed multiple patents based on research discovery and technology developments with patient care applications.

The research team is directed in a problem solving direction, relying on direct feedback from the clinicians in identifying where the major clinical challenges lie and what types of solutions would address that need. Aligned with the Institutional goals, the team subscribes to the “Needs of the patients come first”, and focuses on finding solutions that will empower the patient and increase their autonomy and decision making process in their health care.