CONFERENCE CHAIR 

Diana N. Ionescu, MD, FRCP(C), FCAP

Consultant Pathologist, BC Cancer Agency
Medical Director Clinical Trials, BCCA VCC Laboratory
Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UBC
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Ionescu is a graduate of University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hatieganu” in Cluj Napoca, Romania. She completed her postgraduate training in Anatomical and Clinical Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a Fellowship in Gynecological Pathology at Vancouver General Hospital. She has practiced as a Consultant Pathologist at BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver since 2006. She is currently a Clinical Professor of Pathology at UBC and served as the residency program director for the Anatomic Pathology Residency Program between 2009 – 2017.

Her specific areas of diagnostic expertise are lung, gynecologic and breast pathology. She is an author of over 60 scientific publications and book chapters. She is the author and invited speaker at numerous regional, national and international lectures. Her investigation interests include oncologic pathology and molecular biomarkers, lung cancer and adult health education. She is the Canadian Anatomic and Molecular Pathology (CAMP) and CAMP pathology Oncology Digital Series (CAMP-PODS) course director.

Dr. Ionescu is an enthusiastic advocate of pathologists participating in numerous patient education forums, TV shows, advocacy and fundraising campaigns, being Medical Advisor for Lung Cancer Canada, moderator, presenter and community excellence awardee at ROMPOST TV on Omni TV, and in 2015 supporting biomarker testing before the House of Commons Committee on Health.

FACULTY

Peter Black, B.Sc, M.D.

Senior Research Scientist, Vancouver Prostate Centre
Associate Director, Clinical Research, Vancouver Prostate Centre
Professor, Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Black is a surgeon scientist with clinical subspecialty interest in the treatment of urologic cancers, including especially bladder and prostate cancer. He maintains a grant-funded translational research program in urothelial carcinoma with a focus on genomic analysis of response to chemotherapy, mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy, and novel targeted therapies for bladder cancer. One of his main laboratory projects relates to Notch signaling in bladder cancer. His group was the first to identify Notch2 as an oncogene in bladder cancer, and they are now working to elucidate differential regulation of these oncogenic properties of Notch2 compared to the tumor suppressive properties of Notch1, with the objective of modulate both pathways independently for therapeutic purposes.

Dr. Black is an active clinical trialist in his field and is study chair of the SWOG S1605 trial testing an immune checkpoint inhibitor in BCG-unresponsive high risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. He has authored >240 peer-reviewed publications and his scientific work has been published in >350 abstracts at national and international meetings. Dr. Black has acquired $12M in grant funding as PI or co-PI, in addition to contributing to infrastructure awards totaling $23M.

Dr. Black has many active collaborations, especially related to prostate imaging and image-guided robotic surgery. He works closely with Purang Abolmaesumi and Tim Salcudean in the UBC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Piotr Kozlowski in Medical Physics, and Hongshen Ma in Mechanical Engineering. A long-standing collaboration with Decipher Biosciences has led to commercialization of a clinical grade genomic biomarker for muscle invasive bladder cancer.

Dr. Black has served as grant reviewer for multiple international funding agencies including Cancer Research UK, the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), and most of the main Canadian funding organizations. He is an ad hoc journal reviewer for >30 journals and has received awards for peer review from European Urology (2013 and 2018), Journal of Urology (2010, 2011, 2015) and Canadian Urological Association Journal (2016). He has served as assistant editor for Urologic Oncology and Associate Editor for both World Journal of Urology and European Urology Focus. In 2019 he became the founding editor-in-chief of the Society Internationale d’Urologie Journal.

Dr. Black has received a number of awards including Best Clinical Paper Published in Literature by the European Association of Urology (2016), the David A. Swanson Distinguished Alumnus Award from MD Anderson Cancer Center (2017) and the Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Clinical or Applied Research by University of British Colombia Faculty of Medicine (2013). He has served on the Board of Directors of the Société Internationale d’Urologie (2013-2019) and is General Secretary of the International Bladder Cancer Network.

Eric Chen, PhD, MD

Medical Oncologist, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology,
Princess Margaret Cancer Center/University Health Network
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

Dr. Eric Chen is a medical oncologist at the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Center/University Health Network and an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.  Dr. Chen’s practice focuses on the treatment of GI malignancies, including colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and gastroesophageal cancer.  His clinical research activities focus on the evaluation of novel anti-cancer agents.  He has participated in many clinical trials, including Phase I – Phase III trials.

Marie-Hélène Denault, MD, FRCPC, MSc

Respirologist
Thoracic Oncology Fellow, BC Cancer
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Marie-Hélène Denault is a Respirologist and has a masters in clinical epidemiology, both trainings completed at Laval University (Québec, Qc) in 2020. She is currently doing a fellowship in thoracic oncology with Dr. Barb Melosky at BC Cancer.

Sharlene Gill, BSc (Pharm), MD, MPH, MBA, FACP, FRCP(C)

Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Gastrointestinal Malignancies Medical Oncologist
BC Cancer – Vancouver
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Gill is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies at BC Cancer – Vancouver.  She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmacy and an MD from the University of British Columbia in 1996 followed by residencies in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. Dr. Gill subsequently completed a fellowship in Gl Oncology at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) and a Master’s of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. In 2017, she completed an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina.  She is actively engaged in education and research, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters to her credit.  Dr. Gill currently serves as the Chair of the Canadian Clinical Trials Group (CCTG) GI Disease Site Committee, and is President-Elect for the Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists.

Jaclyn F. Hechtman, MD

Molecular and Gastrointestinal Pathologist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

I am a molecular and GI pathologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with a research interest and expertise in kinase fusions and microsatellite instability.

Barbara Melosky, MD, FRCP(C)

Professor of Medicine, UBC
Medical Oncologist, BC Cancer
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Melosky is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a Medical Oncologist in Vancouver at BC Cancer. She graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba and did a residency in internal medicine and an oncology fellowship at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Melosky specializes in the field of thoracic malignancy. She sits on the Executive Lung Site Committee for CCTG Canadian Clinical Trials Group.

Her main focus of clinical trials is on EGFR inhibitors; she is published in this area and is considered a national and international expert. Dr. Melosky has chaired the Canadian Lung Cancer Conference for the last 21 years, which is attended by over 500 participants. She chairs and organized the multi-disciplinary Lung Cancer Journal Club three times yearly. She is chair and created the British Columbia Lung Cancer Biobank.

Denis Soulières, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Professor of Medicine, Université de Montréal
Hematologist and Medical Oncologist, Director of Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Medical Lead, Head & Neck Tumor Site, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal
Montreal, QC

Denis Soulières, MD, MSc, FRCPC is Professor of Medicine at the Université de Montréal as well as Hematologist and Medical  Oncologist, Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Medical Lead of the Head & Neck Tumor Site at Centre  Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.

Dr. Soulières obtained his medical training at Laval University, followed by training in adult and pediatric hematology, and  trained in medical and pediatric oncology at the Université de Montréal, where he also completed his training in clinical  therapeutic development. He is active in clinical research, having participated as principal investigator in more than 75 clinical  trials and as a co-investigator in more than 200 studies.

W. Fraser Symmans, MB.ChB.

Professor, Departments of Pathology and Translational Molecular Pathology
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

Dr. Fraser Symmans is Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Translational Molecular Pathology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he practices Breast Surgical Pathology and Cytopathology. He also leads a research program in Breast Cancer Pharmacogenomics.

He received his medical degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, completed his residency at Columbia University, New York, and fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. Dr. Symmans joined the faculty of New York University Medical Center in 1993 and later moved to MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2000.

Dr. Symmans’ research is focused on breast cancer, with specific emphasis on neoadjuvant (pre-operative) treatment trials for evaluation of chemosensitivity and endocrine sensitivity, assessment of response to treatment and development of diagnostic tests to select the most effective treatments for individuals with breast cancer. His other major research focus is addressing the effects of biopsy sample quality on genomic test results in order to establish appropriate best practices for clinical diagnostic use, particularly with small clinical biopsies.

His extramural responsibilities include: Director of Translational Research Program and Executive Committee Member for The Alliance for Clinical Trials and Alliance Foundation Trials, and Steering Committee Member for the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium.

Gang Wang, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Consultant Pathologist, BC Cancer, Vancouver Center
Clinical Assistant,  Professor of Pathology
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Gang Wang earned his medical degree from the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, and a PhD degree in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine from the University of British Columbia. After a couple of years of postdoc research, he started his residency in Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for a year and returned to UBC to finish his training in Anatomic Pathology. After completing a Genitourinary Pathology fellowship in MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Dr. Gang Wang came back to BC Cancer Vancouver Centre as a consultant pathologist.

Dr. Gang Wang’s research mainly focuses on malignancies of the genitourinary system. He is also interested in molecular biomarker studies in different tumors, including breast cancer and lung cancer.

Stephen Yip, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Neuropathologist, Vancouver General Hospital
Director – Cancer Genetics & Genomics Laboratory
Interim director – Centre for Clinical Genomics
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Stephen Yip completed his MD-PhD training at UBC followed by 4/6 years of neurosurgery residency when he decided to switch to neuropathology. He did his fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital under the mentorships of David Louis and John Iafrate. Stephen Yip is a contributor to the 2016 WHO Classification of CNS Tumours. In 2012, I discovered recurrent mutations in CIC in a majority of 1p19q-codeleted, IDH mutated oligodendroglioma. He is collaborating with Marco Marra in the Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program of which he is the lead pathologist and is also branching out to practical epigenomics profiling of cancer and machine learning in glass- based pathology.

Kelly Zibrik, RN, MSc Nursing

Nurse Triage Coordinator, BC Cancer
Vancouver, BC

Kelly Zibrik received her Bachelor in Science in Nursing degree from the University of British Columbia in 2002 and a Masters degree in Nursing from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2009. She has worked at the BC Cancer Agency since 2004 in various clinical nursing roles and is currently working as a nurse triage coordinator with the lung tumor group at the Vancouver Centre.