Invited Speakers

International Speakers

Professor Iannis Aifantis, M.D., Ph.D. NYU School of Medicine, New York

Widely known for his expertise in the fields of hematopoiesis and acute leukemia, Dr. Aifantis is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Pathology at NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Aifantis attended the University of Crete in Greece, earned his PhD from the University of Paris V, Rene Descartes and completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard University, Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He started his independent career at University of Chicago in 2013 and joined NYU in 2006. Throughout his career; he earned many prestigious honors including the 2010 Vilcek Award for Creative Promise and the 2011 McCulloch & Till Award from the International Society for Hematology and Stem Cell Biology. Moreover, in 2009, he was selected as an Early Career Scientist by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). He is one of the leaders of the fields of hematopoiesis and leukemia, with diverse focus areas that include the study of protein stability, epigenetic regulation and tumor microenvironment. His lab was instrumental in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of initiation and progression of both acute lymphoid and myeloid leukemia.

Professor Stephen M. Ansell, M.D., Ph.D. Mayo Clinic, Minnesota

Stephen M. Ansell, M.D., Ph.D., is a consultant in the Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Dr. Ansell currently serves as chair of the Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Disease-Oriented Group and chair of faculty development and recruitment for the Division of Hematology. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 1999 and holds the academic rank of Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.
Dr. Ansell earned his M.B., Ch.B., and Ph.D. degrees at University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa, where he also completed an internship in internal medicine and surgery, a residency in internal medicine, and a fellowship in medical oncology. Dr. Ansell continued his education at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he earned his DTM&H degree and was a registrar in internal medicine. He further completed a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in hematology/oncology at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Ansell’s research focuses on investigating the phenotype and activity of intratumoral T cells and developing strategies to modulate the T-cell infiltration in areas of B-cell lymphoma. Further areas of research interest include the development of biologic therapies for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia. The current strategies being developed include the use of novel antibodies and cytokines, the use of targeted therapies, and the development of strategies to inhibit signaling through receptors that promote the survival of malignant B cells. The utility of these strategies is being tested in early-phase clinical trials.
Dr. Ansell is frequently invited to give presentations on his research to both national and international audiences, and he consistently publishes in high-impact scientific journals. He is associate editor of the American Journal of Hematology and serves on the Editorial Board for Annals of Lymphoma, Blood, Blood Cancer Journal, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Lymphoma & Myeloma. He also holds reviewer responsibilities for prominent scientific journals. Dr. Ansell has co-authored more than 330 articles in peer-reviewed journals
In recognition of his work, Dr. Ansell has received awards and honors, including the New Investigator Award, the Teacher of the Year Award in the Hematology Fellowship Program, and the Department of Medicine Research Award for Landmark Contributions to the Literature, all conferred by Mayo Clinic.
In addition to his research activities, Dr. Ansell is active in education and mentoring. He holds full faculty privileges in Biomedical Engineering at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Ansell serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Leukemia& Lymphoma Society (LLS), the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) and the International Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF).

Professor Dominique Bonnet, Ph.D. Francis Crick Institute, London

After obtaining a PhD degree in the University of Paris VII in 1992, Dr D Bonnet joined the group of Prof. John Dick’s laboratory in Toronto, Canada for her post-doctoral training there. In 1998, she accepted a position as Group Leader at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, in New Jersey and became Assistant Professor, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In 2001, she moved to London at the Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute where she became a Group Leader in 2006. Since August 2002, she is also Professor, at the University College of London, division of Biosciences, and a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Child Health. In 2016, her group move to the new Francis Crick Institute. Her group is investigating the molecular program that regulate both human normal and leukemic stem cells and how oncogenic events impede the normal hematopoietic stem cell development both directly and via the stem cell environment.

Professor Margaret Goodell, Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

Margaret (“Peggy”) Goodell is a Professor and Director of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas. Goodell’s research is focused on the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate hematopoietic stem cells, and how those regulatory mechanisms go awry in hematologic malignancies. Goodell received the Damashek Prize from the American Society of Hematology, was president of ISEH, serves on the Board of Directors for the Keystone Symposia, is an Associate Editor for Blood, serves on the editorial board of Cell Stem Cell, and directs a laboratory of about 15 trainees.

Professor Bruce Levine, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Bruce Levine, Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy, is the Director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from the Johns Hopkins University. The CVPF develops and tests novel cell and gene therapies in clinical trials in patients with hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, HIV infection, and genetic disease. First-in-human trials include the first use of a lentiviral vector, the first infusions of zinc finger nuclease genome-modified cells, and the first use of lentivirally-modified cells to treat cancer. Dr. Levine has overseen the production, testing and release of 2700 cellular products administered to >1000 patients in clinical trials since 1996. Through these technologies, personalized and enhanced immunity has been engineered. T lymphocytes from HIV+ subjects have been rendered resistant to HIV infection and reinfused. T lymphocytes from cancer patients have been redirected with chimeric antigen receptors to hunt and destroy their malignancies, an investigational therapy that received the first Breakthrough Designation from the FDA for an academic institution and is currently in commercial development. Dr. Levine is co-inventor on 23 issued US patents and co-author of >125 publications with a Google Scholar citation h-index of 66. He has been interviewed by the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, BBC, and other international media outlets.

Professor Charles Mullighan, MBBS, Ph.D. St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis

Charles Mullighan is member in the Department of Pathology and co-Leader of the Hematological Malignancies Program at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His work uses integrative genomic analysis and experimental modeling to identify and characterize genetic drivers of high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. These findings have been translated into multiple new diagnostic and treatment approaches.

He has been awarded the American Society of Hematology William Dameshek prize, and a National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award

Professor Kimberly Stegmaier, M.D., Ph.D. Harvard Medical School, Boston

Kimberly Stegmaier, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the Ted Williams Chair at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), has advanced the application of genomics to drug and protein target discovery for pediatric cancers.  She is the Vice Chair for Pediatric Oncology Research and Co-director of the Pediatric Hematologic Malignancy Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute.

The Stegmaier laboratory develops and integrates chemical and functional genomic approaches to identify new protein targets and small-molecule modulators of malignancy with an eye toward clinical translation. The laboratory has focused on pediatric malignancies notable for the aberrancy of differentiation and/or oncogenic activation of transcription factors: the acute leukemias, neuroblastoma, and Ewing sarcoma. Dr. Stegmaier was elected to the Society for Pediatric Research in 2007, the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2009, and the Association of American Physicians in 2017. She has won numerous awards, including the SPR Young Investigator Award, the Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award from the Interurban Clinical Club, a SU2C Innovative Research Grant, 2016 E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School and the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award.

Dr. Stegmaier received her undergraduate degree from Duke University, medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Marie Bleakley, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle

Information coming soon

Atsushi Iwama, Chiba University, Japan

Atsushi Iwama is a professor of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University. He obtained his M.D. in Niigata University and Ph.D. in Kumamoto University in 1987 and 1996, respectively. He completed an internship and residency at Niigata University Hospital and Jichi Medical School Hospital, respectively. Originally starting his training in clinical hematology, he has specialized in cellular and molecular biology, particularly research on transcription factors and epigenetics in normal and leukemic hematopoiesis. He has nurtured and grown his laboratory since he became independent as a full professor in 2005. He is an Associate Editor for Experimental Hematology and serves on the editorial board of Blood.

 

National Speakers

Professor Mark Dawson, M.D., Ph.D. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Professor Dawson is a clinician-scientist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He is the program head of the Translational Haematology Program, Group leader of the Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory and Consultant Haematologist in the Department of Haematology. His research interest is studying epigenetic regulation in normal and malignant haematopoiesis. He is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. After completing his clinical training in Melbourne, Australia he was awarded the prestigious General Sir John Monash Fellowship and Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Fellowship, which he used to complete his PhD at the University of Cambridge. Following his PhD, he was awarded the inaugural Wellcome Trust Beit Prize Fellowship to pursue his research into epigenetic regulation of leukaemia stem cells. He relocated to the Peter MacCallum Cancer centre in 2014. He is currently a Professor in the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology and Centre of Cancer Research at the University of Melbourne. He is also the Senior Research Fellow for the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Research Scholar.

Professor Timothy Hughes, M.D., Ph.D. South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Professor Timothy Hughes is the Cancer Theme Leader at SAHMRI, Beat Cancer Professor, University of Adelaide and Consultant Haematologist in the Division of Haematology at SA Pathology.  He is also Chair of the International Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Foundation (iCMLf) and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).

Professor Hughes is an international expert in the biology and treatment of leukaemia.  He led the establishment of the molecular response criteria that are used world-wide to measure response in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and has been a strong advocate for the application of molecular monitoring to optimise CML management. He has published over 250 papers that have been cited over 37,000 times.

A/Prof Paula Marlton, MBBS FRACP FRCPA Princess Alexandra Hospital

Associate Professor Marlton is the Head of Leukaemia and Lymphoma and Deputy Director of Haematology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. She has extensive experience in clinical research including 3 years at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre and numerous collaborations on national and international AML trials as well as commitment to the integration of translational research. She founded the National Leukaemia and Lymphoma Tissue Bank for the ALLG (now the Cancer Collaborative Biobank) and also served on the ALLG Executive, as the founding Chair and ongoing member of the Laboratory Science Committee and as a member of the Acute Leukaemia Committee. She is a member of the QIMR Berghofer Council; a member of the TRI Caucus and served on the Board of the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland as well as numerous government, college and industry advisory committees.

Professor John Seymour MBBS FRACP Ph.D. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Professor John Seymour AM is a clinical haematologist and Co-Director of the Division of Cancer Medicine, at the Peter MacCallum Centre, and the Director of the integrated Haematology Unit of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre & the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He received his MB, BS degrees from the University of Melbourne in 1987, completed a translational research fellowship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, from which he received their Distinguished Alumnus award in 2011. He also completed PhD studies in the pathobiology of haematopoietic growth factors at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Professor Seymour is a member of several national and international scientific committees including, Cancer Australia Advisory Groups, the Scientific Advisory Committee for the International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma, Medical Advisory Board of the Lymphoma Coalition, and the Board of Directors of the International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group. He served for more than a decade as Executive member and Chairman of the major national clinical trials co-operative group in haematologic malignancies, the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group. He is a frequent invited speaker nationally and internationally, is a member of numerous professional societies, and an Editor-in-Chief of Leukemia & Lymphoma and currently on the editorial boards of Blood, and the British Journal of Haematology. He has authored 18 book chapters, ~450 peer reviewed publications (which have been cited more than 18000 times), and ~650 conference abstracts. Actively involved in a broad range of collaborative research, Professor Seymour has been a chief investigator on grants receiving more than AUD$10.5 million of competitive grant funding in the last 5 years and is the principal investigator on 15 ongoing clinical trials. In 2015 he was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia, and elected to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences for his contributions to the field.

Professor Andrew Spencer MBBS FRACP FRCPA DM Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, Monash University

Professor Andrew Spencer completed his medical training in clinical and laboratory haematology in 1992. Subsequently, he was awarded a LRF (UK) Fellowship and spent 3 years at The Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, where he completed a Doctorate studying B-cell clonality in CML under the supervision of Professors John Goldman and Junia Melo. Andrew moved to Alfred Health in 1999 where he established an independent translational research program focusing on multiple myeloma (MM) (Myeloma Research Group). He was appointed Head of the Malignant Haematology & Stem Cell Transplantation Services in 2007 and established the Haematology Clinical Research Unit (CRU) as a discrete business unit capable of first-in-man and early phase therapeutic trails in 2009. He has established a range of models for pre-clinical therapeutic studies in MM including primary tumour models, human-murine xenografts and a unique panel of human MM cell lines. In parallel he has devised and lead a range of investigator-initiated clinical trials in MM all leveraged with comprehensive sets of fully annotated biosamples. He has >165 peer reviewed publications with citations in excess of 9100 and holds 4 international patents relating to MM therapeutics. Since 2012 he has been invited to speak at >35 international scientific meetings on a range of topics with a particular focus on developmental therapeutics and epigenetics in MM, and novel approaches to MRD and disease monitoring in MM including the interrogation of circulating free nucleic acids (liquid biopsies). Spencer serves on the scientific advisory boards of the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) and the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) and is an invited investigator for the IMF Black Swan Research Initiative (BSRI) devising and implementing global strategies for MRD evaluation in MM. He Chairs the bi-national Myeloma and Related Diseases Registry (MRDR) and the parallel Myeloma 1000 Project, a fully annotated prospective ‘liquid biopsy’ biobank. He has recently established the Australasian Myeloma Research Consortium (AMaRC) to further promote multicentre innovative and early phase clinical and correlative research into MM therapeutics and in 2016 along with his collaborators at Alfred Health awarded an Australian Cancer Research Fund (ACRF) infrastructure grant to establish the ACRF Blood Cancer Therapeutics Centre (BCTC).

Dr Michelle Henderson
Ph.D. Children’s Cancer Institute

Dr Michelle Henderson leads research into paediatric leukaemia, with a particular focus on infant leukaemia, which is a particularly aggressive disease with dismal prognosis. By utilising approaches such as high-throughput screening, cell biology and patient-derived xenograft models of leukaemia, Dr Henderson’s group focuses on identifying new compounds with the ability to selectively target infant leukaemia cells in an effort to devise more effective and less toxic therapies for this devastating disease. Dr Henderson’s other research areas include studying ABC transporters as key downstream effectors of Myc family oncoproteins and exploiting these as potential therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma and other cancers.

Mary Ann Anderson
MBBS Ph.D. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

I graduated MBBS from Melbourne University in 2003 and undertook physician and haematology training in Melbourne finishing in 2011. Since 2011 I have undertaken PhD studies and now further post graduate research in the field of targeted therapy for blood cancer. My current research interests are:
Establishing biomarkers for response to BH3 mimetic therapy
Understanding mechanisms for resistance to targeted therapy
Translating new laboratory discoveries into clinical care for patients

A/Prof Carl Walkley
M.D., Ph.D. St Vincent’s Institute

A/Prof Walkley completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy (University of South Australia) and a PhD at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in 2003. He then trained with Prof S Orkin at the Dana-Farber Cancer Centre, Boston. In 2008, Dr Walkley returned to Australia and co-head’s the Stem Cell Regulation Unit at St. Vincent’s Institute in Melbourne. His laboratory is interested in understanding RNA regulation in health and disease, focusing on how changes in the splicing and the epitranscriptome affect blood cell development. These studies focus on models of RNA spliceosome mutations in myelodysplastic syndrome and how A-to-I RNA editing modulates hematopoiesis.

Anna Brown Ph.D. Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology

Dr Anna Brown is a the Head of Molecular Oncology at SA Pathology and an adjunct  Senior Research Fellow in the Molecular Pathology Research Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology. Dr Brown has worked in the field of malignant haematology for over 15 years, investigating aberrant signalling, and transcriptional and genetic changes associated with the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukaemia. More recently, she has focussed on germline genetic predisposition to Haematological Malignancy (HM) through the Australian Familial Haematological Cancer Study, identifying a range of novel germline mutations in genes predisposing to myeloid and lymphoid subtype HM, as well as solid tumours. Currently, she combines research interests with development and implementation of new NGS diagnostic tests for molecular oncology.

Nikki Verrills Ph.D. University of Newcastle

Dr Nikki Verrills is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). Her research centres on understanding the signalling mechanisms driving cell growth, survival and differentiation, with a particular focus on aberrant signalling pathways in cancer. Her laboratory has identified oncogenic kinases as novel drug targets in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). She has also identified key tumour suppressive roles for protein phosphatases in AML, and discovered drugs that can activate phosphatases as novel therapies for AML. Her goal is to translate these research findings into improved outcomes for leukaemia patients.

Gemma Kelly Ph.D. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Dr Gemma Kelly is a senior post-doctoral fellow in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI). She undertook her PhD studies at the Cancer Research UK Institute at The University of Birmingham, UK where she investigated Epstein-Barr virus-associated cancers. Following the award of a Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Intermediate fellowship she joined the laboratory of Professor Strasser at WEHI where she continues to pursue her interests in virus-driven lymphomas and also works on understanding the role of cell death pathways in lymphoma development, with the aim of finding new targets for cancer therapy.

John Rasko, Centenary Institute

 Information coming soon

Ingrid Winkler, Mater Institute

Assoc. Prof Ingrid Winkler is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and leads the Stem Cells and Cancer group at Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Dr Winkler’s research seeks to understand how normal and malignant Haematopoietic Stem Cells are regulated by their local microenvironments (niches) – basic research recognised as among ‘Ten of the best research projects in Australia’ by NHMRC (2013) and now basis for Phase I/II clinical trials with the goal of manipulating stem cell niches to alleviate side-effects of chemotherapy and to improve efficacy of therapy for leukaemia.

Chan Cheah, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

 Information coming soon