Siham Sabri

Lecture: Integrating the Hallmarks of Cancer into Radiation Biology.

Dr. Siham Sabri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology, a faculty member of the Division of Radiation Oncology and a medical scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC, Cancer Research Program).

Dr. Sabri earned her Ph.D. in 1998 at Paris Diderot University-ParisVII in France. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Department of Biochemistry, Birmingham University (UK) and at the INSERM hematopoiesis and stem cell research laboratory at Gustave Cancer Roussy Institute of Oncology in Paris. Following her move to the University of Alberta in 2006, she actively engaged in basic and translational studies investigating the role of the DNA repair protein O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) in glioblastoma, in addition to the identification of predictive markers of radiation-induced skin toxicity in early breast cancer patients.

In 2011, Dr. Sabri received an internal research award to establish her research group at the RI-MUHC. As she holds a cross-appointment at the Division of Experimental Medicine at McGill University, she has been serving as primary supervisor, mentor and advisor to numerous graduate students, regularly contributed to teaching in the graduate program (Anti-cancer drug discovery and development, Graduate diploma in clinical research) and as a mentor at the McGill CIHR-Drug Development Training Program. She also served on several grant review panels such as the RI-MUHC studentship and fellowship competition and the Biomarkers and Genomics Panel for the Canadian Cancer Research Institute (CCSRI)-Innovation. Her research program has been funded as a principal investigator for peer-reviewed grant-funded studies from national agencies including (CCSRI)-Innovation grant and Cancer Research Society (CRS), as well as other agencies and foundations.

Her research interests are focused on testing new-targeted therapies in combination with ionizing radiation and investigating molecular mechanisms of glioblastoma tumour angiogenesis and invasion while implementing in vitro and in vivo approaches with validation in banked patient tissue. As a co-investigator in in-house designed clinical trials at the Division of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Sabri is currently leading a translational research platform to prospectively identify biomarkers of response to targeted therapies and/or new radiation delivery techniques in different disease sites.

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Susan Lees-Miller 

Lecture: Molecular Mechanisms of radiationinduced DNA damage and repair.

Dr. Susan Lees-Miller is a Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Department of Oncology and Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary. In 2003, she founded the Genome Instability and Aging group (GIAG) at the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute (SACRI, University of Calgary). Dr. Lees-Miller holds the “Engineered Air Chair in Cancer Research” for her third five-year term since July 2013.

Dr. Lees-Miller received her PhD in Biochemistry (1982) from the University of Wales, Swansea, and completed her post-doctorate training at the University of Alberta (1987) and the Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA (1992).

She has been a pioneer in the field of DNA damage and repair for more than 20 years and has published over 120 papers. Her basic research discoveries have been instrumental in advancing the biological basis of radiotherapy.

Dr. Lees-Miller has received several prestigious distinctions and awards in recognition of her outstanding professional contributions. She was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2010, received the Smith Distinguished Achievement Award for Senior Faculty in 2005 and 2011, the Killam Annual Professorship-Killam Trust Award in 2013 and the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences Jeanne Manery Fisher Award in 2014.

Dr. Lees-Miller focuses in studying how mammalian cells detect and repair DNA double strand breaks (DSBs), investigating the mechanism of Non Homologous End Joining (NHEJ) as the major pathway for the repair of IR-induced DSBs in human cells, in addition to collaborative research projects to identify biomarkers of radiation response in patients with cervical cancer and to investigate the potential for using PARP inhibitors to target ATM-deficient cancers.

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Francis Rodier

Lecture: Molecular Mechanisms of Radiation‐Induced Cell Fate Decisions.

Dr. Rodier is an assistant professor at the Departments of Radiology, Radio-Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, University of Montreal, and a scientist at the CHUM, Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal. He obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Montreal and completed his post-doctoral studies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, and Buck Institute for Age research, California.

Dr. Rodier’s laboratory focuses its research on identifying cellular and tissue mediators of the mammalian DNA damage response.  This important biological phenomenon is involved in human aging, cancer development, and influences the outcome of cancer therapy. Dr. Rodier aims to understand how the DNA damage response is terminated following DNA lesion repair, and how cancer cells can often tolerate persistent DNA damage signalling that occurs when DNA lesions are irreparable.  To achieve these goals, his team combines cell culture and animal/human models with cutting edge scientific tools.  In collaboration with clinicians, Dr. Rodier’s team is also working to develop new molecular diagnostic tools for cancer detection and to identify cellular targets to sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

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Stefano Stifani 

Dr. Stefano Stifani aims at elucidating the events that regulate the generation of nerve cells from pluripotent neural stem/progenitor cells. They seek to clarify the mechanisms that control normal mammalian nervous system development in order to better understand neural diseases and how to promote neural regeneration and repair. More specifically, Dr. Stifani’s investigations are aimed at characterizing the mechanisms that regulate: neuron and glial cell differentiation from undifferentiated, pluripotent neural stem/progenitor cells; neuron subtype development and function.

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Stanley Liu 

Lecture: Modulating the tumour microenvironment and therapeutic strategies.

Dr. Stanley Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Department of Medical Biophysics at University of Toronto. He is also a scientist and a Radiation Oncologist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. He obtained his PhD, MD and specialist certification in Radiation Oncology from the University of Toronto and did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Gray Institute in the University of Oxford, UK.

The aim of Dr. Liu’s research is to improve treatment outcomes for cancer patients by uncovering the mechanisms of tumour radiation resistance. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Liu runs an active research laboratory identifying and elucidating novel downstream effectors of Notch pathway inhibitors that may enhance Notch pathway-based therapies, and also serve as valuable prognostic biomarkers.

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Theodoros Tsakiridis

Lecture: Cancer metabolism and radiation biology: molecular stress sensors modifying radiation response.

Dr. Tsakiridis is a Radiation Oncologist and Scientist at the Juravinski Cancer Center in Hamilton, Ontario. He treats genitourinary and lung cancer and specialises in modern stereotactic radiotherapy and radiosurgery using robotic cyberknife and modern linear accelerator therapies. Dr. Tsakiridis’ research includes basic science laboratory work, translational and clinical radiotherapy studies. His laboratory work aims to identify molecular pathways of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes involved in radiation responses of cancer cells and preclinical radiation sensitizing therapies for lung and prostate cancer. His clinical research includes tumour and serum biomarkers of radiation response, clinical studies of radio-sensitizers and development of stereotactic radiotherapy techniques.

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George Shenouda

Lecture: Radiobiology of timedosefractionation and alternative fractionation schedules in radiotherapy.

Dr. Shenouda holds a position of Associate Professor at the Department of Oncology, McGill University, and is also an Associate Director of Division of Radiation Oncology at McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and a Chairman of the Radiation Oncology Research Committee. He received his medical degree in Egypt, Ain Shams University (1977), and a PhD in Cancer Immunology in Canada, McGill University (1983).

He served as a Residency Program Director at the Division of Radiation Oncology from 2006 to 2009. In 2012, he was appointed an Associate Director for Academic and Clinical Affairs in the Division of Radiation Oncology. Actively involved in training medical residents, Dr. Shenouda coordinates and teaches numerous courses at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level. He has received a number of awards and honours during his career, among which are the Faculty Honour List for Educational Excellence (Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, 2006), Olive Williamson Award (RI-MUHC Internal Scholarship and Awards Committee, 2007), and the Inaugural Gerald Bronfman Centre Award for Excellence In Teaching and Mentorship (2011).

Dr. Shenouda’s clinical research focuses on combination of systemic therapy and radiotherapy and radiotherapy in head and neck cancer and brain tumours (Glioblastoma multiforme). He has been actively involved in several clinical trials testing altered fractionation radiation for locally advanced head and neck cancer and post-operative accelerated hypofractionated radiation therapy in patients with glioblastoma. Since 2004, Dr. Shenouda is a member of the Head and Neck steering Committee, Radiotherapy Oncology Group (RTOG) and a principal investigator in Translational Research Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG, NCIC).

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Janusz Rak

Lecture: Oncogenic driver mutations as regulators of vascular and stromal interactions in brain tumours: implications for radiation therapy.

Dr. Janusz Rak is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Jack Cole Chair in Hematology/Oncology, and an associate member at Departments of Oncology, Biochemistry and the Goodman Cancer Centre. He received his PhD in tumour biology from the L. Hirszfeld Institute in Poland (1986) and completed his post-doctoral training in Poland (Tumour Immunology, 1988), US (Cancer Immunology, 1990) and Canada (Cancer Biology Research, 1991 and 1993). Since 2011, he is a Full Professor at the Department of Pediatrics of McGill University. He was appointed a Jack Cole Chair in Hematology/Oncology in 2006. Since 2006, he is also a Principal Investigator of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Research Institute and, since 2011, a Medical Scientist of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists (CPDP) of the McGill University Health Centre.

Dr. Rak contributes to the graduate and post-graduate training and teaching in oncology on topics such as the role of metabolic stress and hypoxia in cancer progression, tumour stroma, angiogenesis and antiangiogenic therapy. He also serves as a mentor, supervisor and academic advisor to many research trainees of the Division of Experimental Medicine. He has served as an Ad hoc reviewer of 80 scientific peer-reviewed journals and published 108 articles on cancer research.

Dr. Rak has received numerous honours and awards, including: Prix d’Excellence/Award of Excellence, for Research, Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, 2010; Eberhard Mammen – Most Popular Award for the article in Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis (J. Rak 2010) in highest demand, 2012.

Dr. Rak’s laboratory has a particular interest in how cancer cells communicate with each other, with their surroundings and with blood vessels. One such mechanism is the release of bubble-like structures called extracellular vesicles (EVs). Dr. Rak is working to develop strategies to stop these processes by blocking the production and activity of EVs and TF in brain cancers.

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Bassam Abdulkarim

Lecture: Clinical and Biological Insights into Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy

Dr. Bassam Abdulkarim is an Associate Professor of Oncology at McGill University and a Principal Investigator at the Research Institute of McGill University Health Center (MUHC). He has been serving as Director of the McGill Division of Radiation Oncology at the MUHC since 2011.

Dr. Abdulkarim received his medical degree from Paris XI University and completed his residency training in radiation oncology at Gustave Roussy Cancer Center. He received his PhD in radiation biology from Paris XI University in 2002. As a clinician-scientist over the last 13 years, Dr. Abdulkarim has developed extensive expertise in the field of translational research in oncology while leading clinical trials for the identification of blood-based biomarkers for radiation-induced toxicities in breast cancer and response to treatment in high-grade glioma. He is internationally recognized for seminal work in the field of breast cancer subtypes and risk of locoregional recurrence.

Dr. Abdulkarim has received a number of awards and honours during his career. He served on several internal and external grant and award panels including the CIHR-CBT panel, the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Quebec (FRSQ) scholarship panel, the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), the Canadian Institutes of Health research (CIHR) and the Ontario Cancer Research Institute. He is a member of numerous scientific and professional organizations including Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology (Chair of the CARO RAZCER advisory group and competition since 2010), the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Board members of the Canadian Association of radiation oncology, and has been involved in cooperative oncology groups with Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) “Lung Cancer Clinical Trial group”, NCI-Canada, and the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group.

His current research program focuses on investigating molecular mechanisms underlying response to different radiation regimens in glioblastoma and lung cancer in addition to the effects of ablative radiotherapy on lung fibrosis using in vivo orthotopic model to analyze tumour response to fractionated or ablative radiation with respect to tumour invasion and metastasis.

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Thierry M. Muanza

Lecture: Combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Dr. Thierry Muanza is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and a Radiation Oncologist at the Jewish General Hospital. He is also the co-Medical Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program. Following a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Northeastern University in Boston, Dr. Muanza obtained his M.D. from the Université de Sherbrooke. He subsequently pursued a residency at McGill University, as well as a translational research fellowship, ASTRO-NCI, in radiation oncology in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to his clinical duties, he is an active member of several tumour boards at various medical institutions.

Dr. Muanza’s laboratory work focuses on translational research, radio-oncology, molecular targeted therapies, and biomarkers. His research acitivities earned him a FRSQ Chercheur – boursier clinicien Junior 1.  His involovment with the Young Adult Clinic has led to improved understanding and care for patients in the 18-39 age category.

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Bertrand Jean-Claude  

Lecture: Targeted Therapies: Radiosensitizing Effect of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

Dr. Jean-Claude is an Associate Professor at the Department of Medicine, McGill University and a founding Director of the Cancer Drug Research Laboratory, Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre that was incepted in 1999 (Royal Victoria Hospital). He is also the founder and Co-Director of the McGill CIHR Drug Development Training Program (DDTP) recently deployed at the Center for Translational Biology (CTB) of the RI MUHC. Dr. Jean-Claude received his Master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Moncton in 1986 and his PhD from McGill University in 1993. He completed his post-doctorate training in oncology at McGill University in 1996 and was appointed a McGill Assistant Professor. Since 2005, he has been serving as an Associate Professor at McGill University. From 2008 to 2009, he also served as a Visiting Scientist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute of the Harvard Medical School. In his capacity of a McGill Professor, Dr. Jean-Claude has been a primary supervisor, mentor and advisor to graduate and post-graduate students of McGill University Department of Chemistry. Since 2008, he has been involved in several international collaboration activities as a co-investigator on cancer drug research projects with the teams from China, Egypt and France.

In addition to teaching and coordinating many courses, he played a leading role in two major academic programs at McGill: the Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research, of which he has been the Chief Coordinator for the past decade and the interdepartmental McGill-CIHR Drug Development Training Program (DDTP). Since 2009, he has been the DDTP Co-Director and the Chair of the DDTP Fellowship and Scholarship committee.

Dr. Jean-Claude has received numerous honours, awards and distinctions during his career, among which are the Madeleine Tremblay Award (MUHC Foundation, 2013-2014), MGH 179th Anniversary Award (2008) and US Department of Defence Prize (2003 – 2006). He served on several scientific advisory boards and grant panels  including Club de Recherches Cliniques du Québec, Experimental Therapeutics and Metabolism program of the RI MUHC and the CIHR Cancer Progression and Therapeutics panel.

His research primarily focuses on novel strategies to enhance the targeting potential of kinase inhibitors. Molecules developed in the context of his novel approach termed “the combi-targeting concept” have been shown to significantly sensitize tumour cells to radiation.

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Jan Seuntjens

Lecture: The role of radiation physics and Monte Carlo techniques in modern radiation biology.

Dr. Jan Seuntjens is Professor at the Department of Oncology, McGill University and Director of the Medical Physics Unit of McGill University that has two clinical sites associated with it: McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Jewish General Hospital (JGH). He received his degree in experimental nuclear physics and a special teaching degree from the University of Gent, Belgium in 1984, and his PhD in radiation physics and dosimetry from the same university in 1991. His post-doctoral training was in Belgium and Canada, in 1994 and 1997.

Dr. Seuntjens assumed the position at McGill in 2000, after working as a scientist for the National Cancer Institute of Canada. He held a National Cancer Institute of Canada research scientist chair between 2002 and 2008 and is now a James McGill Professor. As Director of the Department of Medical Physics at MUHC, he is leading a group of clinical medical physicists, dosimetrists and engineers for the provision of service in the Department of Radiation Oncology. He is also involved in implementation of new treatment techniques, optimizing workflows, electronic medical record, overseeing procurement of new equipment, service contracts and an imminent move from the Montreal General Hospital to the brand new Glen hospital campus. As Director of the Medical Physics Unit of McGill, he founded and is leading the Medical Physics Research Training Network MPRTN/CREATE, based on two Quebec, CAMPEP-accredited programs (McGill, U. Laval) with the aim to enrich medical physics research training at all levels of graduate education. Dr. Seuntjens received many honours and awards during his career. Among the most recent are the Herbert S Lang Award in Oncology and Surgery, MUHC (2010-2015), Montreal General Hospital Foundation Award (2009-2010) and the Farrington Daniels Award for best paper on Radiation Dosimetry  in the 52nd annual meeting of the AAPM, Philadelphia (2009)

His current research focuses on radiation physics, dosimetry and the Monte Carlo transport simulation procedures that are used to calculate dose distributions in deforming patient structures tracked through 4D-CT and an infrared-based tracking system. The goal is to estimate to improved accuracy the dose delivered in radiation treatments of lung cancer and to study the correlation of differences to traditional treatment planning with differences in treatment outcome. Another line of Dr. Seuntjens’ research explores the clinical implementation of a novel radiation treatment delivery device, the few-leaf electron collimator that allows for the clinical use of energy modulated electron radiation therapy (EMET). This technique has the potential to be of significant advantage for certain head & neck cancers as well as breast cancers. Dr. Seuntjens has published 119 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

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Yves Archambault

Lecture: Knowledge-based treatment planning in radiotherapy.

Mr. Archambault has been the Director of “Knowledge-Based Planning” at Varian Medical systems since 2012.

He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Montreal is 1991 and his Master’s degree in Applied Sciences from the same university in 1993. Prior to his Varian appointment, Mr. Archambault worked for seven years as a medical physicist at Hopital Notre-Dame and Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, both in Montreal. He joined Varian Medical Systems in 2000 and occupied different positions in customer support, product management and sales. As the coordinator of the
 RapidArc Council’s activities and RapidArc® product manager, he contributed to the promotion of RapidArc®, a system for intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment planning and delivery designed to optimize dose conformality, increase the efficiency of dose utilization and reduce the amount of scattered, non-therapeutic radiation delivered to
a patient.

Mr. Archambault currently oversees the strategic direction and commercialization of the Smart Segmentation™ and RapidPlan™ products. The latter enables the extraction of knowledge from the past clinical experience and its use in generating mathematical models that expedite the creation of new treatment plans while enhancing the quality, consistency and efficiency in radiotherapy treatment planning.

The appointment of Mr. Archambault as the Director of “Knowledge-Based Planning” at Varian Medical Systems has put him at the forefront of research and development activities for the application of modeling and prior knowledge to radiation therapy treatment planning both at Varian and with partner universities around the world.

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