Symposium 1 - Polar shift: How Biobanking is Changing Our Thinking and the World


Keynote Speaker

Hannes Dempewolf, PhD

Hannes Dempewolf is a scientist at the Crop Trust and leads the Crop Trust’s project “Adapting agriculture to climate change: collecting, protecting and preparing crop wild relatives. Hannes has a particular interest in exploring ways in which crop wild relatives and landrace diversity can be used in breeding programs more effectively by better linking genebanks to breeders (and vice versa). He has studied Botany at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in Scotland and completed his PhD training at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Josh Stuart, PhD

Josh has a background in machine-learning interpreting high-throughput molecular biology datasets. He has an expertise in developing computational models to integrate functional and multiple sources of genomics information. The Stuart lab focuses on discovering gene networks that program cellular responses, developing pathway-based models to predict alterations and clinical outcomes in tumor samples.
Josh received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2004 and 2006 Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Is an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and received an NSF CAREER award in 2009. Elected the Jack Baskin endowed chair of Engineering, 2013.


Christopher Mason, PhD

Dr. Christopher Mason completed his dual B.S. in Genetics and Biochemistry (2001) from University of Wisconsin-Madison, his Ph.D. in Genetics (2006) from Yale University, and then completed dual post-doctoral training in clinical genetics (2009) at Yale Medical School, and a joint post-doctoral Fellow of Genomics, Ethics, and Law at Yale Law School (2009). He is currently an Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, with appointments at the Tri-Institutional Program on Computational Biology and Medicine between Cornell, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University, the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, and the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Jon Rask, MS

Jon Rask is a Research Scientist in the Space Biosciences Research Branch at NASA Ames Research Center. His research interests include astrobiology, space biology, and the exploration of the Moon and Mars. Jon has developed and tested life science hardware and experiments that flew aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station, and has been a test subject for parabolic flights and human centrifuge studies. He has also characterized the toxicity of Apollo lunar dust specimens, conducted numerous desert and polar field investigations, and currently serves as Director of the NASA Space Life Sciences Training Program.

Symposium 2A - To Tell or Not to Tell: The Practical Aspects of Returning Individual Research Results and Incidental Findings to Participants

Amber Johns, BMedSc

Amber’s research experience has focused on establishing and directing complex, novel, large-scale research projects. Amber’s clinical background is in pathology and cytology, and she has been instrumental in building the Australian Pancreatic Genome Initiative (APGI) which has characterized the genomes of Pancreatic Cancer patients globally.

Through the APGI, Amber developed a national pancreatic cancer biobank network, which has been a platform for a number of high-impact international Pancreatic cancer studies. Amber plays a global role in the ethical, societal and legal aspects of genomic research through her involvement in the International Cancer genome Consortium (ICGC) Ethics and Policy Committee and the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) Ethics and Regulatory Working Groups.

Amber’s main research interests are the return of individual research results and their implementation within clinical systems.

William A. Faucett, MS, LGC

Andy Faucett directs community engagement and recruitment for Geisinger’s biobank, the MyCode® Community Health Initiative. His research focuses on oversight of genetic testing, ethical and consent issues, genetic counseling, and participant engagement. He serves on the Geisinger IRB leadership team. He has a B.S. from the Baptist College at Charleston and M.S. from Sarah Lawrence College. He is a leader in the genetic counseling profession. He served on the NSGC and ABGC board of directors and multiple ASHG education groups. He held positions at Emory; Baylor College of Medicine; Memorial Medical Center, Savannah, GA; and the CDC prior to Geisinger.


Michele Russell-Einhorn, JD

Michele Russell-Einhorn, JD is an expert in the protection of human subjects in research, scientific review of cancer research and research administration generally. She is currently the Vice-President for Oncology Services for Schulman IRB where she has launched their specialized oncology IRB and attendant customized service for cancer centers and others conducting cancer research. Previously, she served for 11 years as the Senior Director of the Office for Human Research Studies at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is responsible for the management and support of scientific review and institutional review board review, as well as other regulatory matters, involving all cancer relevant research involving human subjects conducted at the five Harvard clinical institutions under the umbrella of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

 Kirstin Goldring, PhD

Dr Goldring graduated in Physiology and Pharmacology (BSc) and completed her PhD on asthma research at Southampton University. She carried out Post-Doctoral research in to Muscular Dystrophy at King’s College and Imperial College, before managing the UK Parkinson’s Disease Society Tissue Bank at Imperial College from 2002, until 2009. Dr Goldring then moved to UCL in 2009 as the Biobank facilitator, coordinating the biobanks and the governance and from 2012 this role included co-ordination of the UCL BioResource. In January 2015 moved to AstraZeneca to take on the role of Principal Scientist: Human Biological Sample Governance and Strategy.


 Mirella Filocamo, BSc, PhD

Mirella Filocamo,  BSc, obtained a postgraduate qualification in Medical Genetics at the University of Genoa, Italy
She is currently Head of the “Centro di Diagnostica Genetica e Biochimica delle Malattie Metaboliche”  at “Gaslini” Institute, Genoa. The centre includes one of the oldest Italian biobank of rare diseases, established in 1976. Since 2008, she also is the Coordinator of ”Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks”. The Network, currently composed of 11 Biobanks, collectively preserves about 95,000 samples and related data from individuals affected by rare disorders.
Dr. Filocamo’s interests lie in molecular mechanisms underlying lysosomal disorders, as well as in biobanking regulations.

Symposium 2B - Liquid Specimens - New Frontier for Applications of Emerging Technologies

Klaus Pantel, Prof., PhD, MD

Prof Pantel is Chairman of the Institute of Tumour Biology at the University Medical Center Hamburg. The institute is part of the Centre of Experimental Medicine and the University Cancer Center Hamburg (UCCH). The pioneer work of Prof Pantel in the field of cancer micrometastasis, circulating tumor cells and circulating nucleic acids (ctDNA, microRNAs) is reflected by more than 400 publications in excellent high ranking biomedical and scientific journals (incl. NEJM, Lancet, Nature Journals, Cancer Cell, Science Translational Medicine, Cancer Discovery, PNAS, JCO, JNCI, Cancer Res.) and has been awarded the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award 2010, German Cancer Award 2010, and ERC Advanced Investigator Grant 2011. Moreover, Prof Pantel coordinates the European TRANSCAN group “CTC-SCAN”, the European IMI consortium CANCER-ID (www.cancer-id.eu) on blood-based “Liquid Biopsies” and serves on the Editorial Boards of international cancer journals (e.g. Breast Cancer Res, Cancer Res).

Catherine Alix-Panabières, PhD

Dr Catherine Alix-Panabières received her PhD degree in 1998 at the Institute of Virology-ULP, in Strasbourg in France. In 2010, she achieved getting a permanent position at the Hospital and at the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier, a wonderful mixture of giving teaching lessons to medical students on Cancer Biology in combination of developing this field of tumor cell dissemination at the hospital for the cancer patients, leading strongly translational clinical research. As an associate professor, she recently became the new director of the Laboratory of Rare Human Circulating Cells at the UMC of Montpellier.

Mark Minden, MD, PhD

Dr. Minden received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1974 and his PhD from the same institution in 1979. Following a fellowship at the Sidney Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology he joined the staff of the Princess Margaret Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute as a physician and scientist in 1982. His clinical practice and research focus on acute myeloid and lymphoblastic leukemia. Dr. Minden has directed the leukemia live cell tissue bank at the Princess Margaret since 1983.

Ana Konvalinka, PhD

Dr. Ana Konvalinka is a nephrologist and a Clinician Scientist at the University Health Network. After completion of Nephrology training in 2008, she embarked on a PhD in basic science at the University of Toronto. The topic of her PhD work was the effect of angiotensin II on the proteome of primary human proximal tubular cells, and the relevance of this effect in vivo. Dr. Konvalinka defended her PhD in 2013, and then went on to complete kidney transplant fellowship at Toronto General Hospital. Her main clinical and research interests are in antibody-mediated rejection and kidney allograft fibrosis, but she also studies native kidney disease. She utilizes systems biology approaches and proteomics to define mechanisms, derive novel markers and repurpose drugs for treatment of kidney disease. Dr. Konvalinka is the director of the Multi-Organ Transplant biobank, which banks tissue and biofluids for kidney, pancreas and liver transplant programs.


 Oksana Shynlova, PhD

Oksana Shynlova did her PhD in Biochemistry in Kiev, Ukraine. She is currently a Research Scientist in the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital and Assistant Professor at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Toronto. Dr Shynlova has extensive experience with animal and human studies of the etiology of Preterm Labour (PTL). She established multiple animal models of obstetrical/gynecologic events: artificial menopause, pseudopregnancy, unilateral pregnancy, progesterone-delayed labour, infection-induced and sterile PTL models. She has published extensively in this topic area. Dr. Shynlova is well-known for her studies of maternal peripheral blood. Her interest is in improving the identification of women in high risk for spontaneous PTL and developing new therapeutic interventions for it prevention.

Symposium 3A - Spotlight on Innovation in Social Sustainability: developing evidence-driven best practices in biobanking


Victor Ling, PhD

Dr. Ling is the founding President and Scientific Director of the Terry Fox Research Institute, an Institute that involves more than 60 cancer research institutes, hospitals, and universities across Canada. He is a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency, and Professor of Pathology, at the University of British Columbia. He is recognized for his discovery of P-glycoprotein (MDR) associated with drug resistance in cancer, the bile acid transporter in liver (BSEP), and for the superfamily of ABC transporters. He has been honored by the General Motors Kettering Prize, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Order of Canada, and many others.

ann-cooreman-resized Ann Cooreman, PhD
Ann Cooreman’s career has taken her from academia into business and from the humanities into biomedical sciences.
Ann held various postdoctoral fellowships before joining a small biomedical CRO in 2001 as Project Manager where she took on the task of setting up an ethically collected Tissue Bank.
In October 2007, Ann co-founded Tissue Solutions Ltd (Glasgow), a company that provides access to human biomaterials of all types for research. In 2014 Tissue Solutions was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Ann joined Trans-Hit Biomarkers earlier this year and is its representative in the UK. Ann’s main interest is Ethics.

 Ahmed Samir Abdelhafiz, MD

Ahmed Samir Abdelhafiz is an assistant lecturer of clinical pathology at National Cancer institute, Egypt and one of the founding members of the Egyptian National Cancer Institute biobank.
He is a graduate of faculty of medicine, Cairo University. He received his M.Sc from Cairo University and his MBA from France.

Dr Abdelhafiz has publications about biobanking issues including quality, ethics, education and economics. He is a member of the education and training and social media working groups of ESBB and a member of the education and training committee of BCNET. He is leading efforts aiming at spreading the concepts of medical research and biobanking to different stakeholders in Egypt.

Symposium 3B - Biospecimens quality: Future-proofing biospecimens collections through best practice and innovation

Zwane Avhashoni, MSC

Ms Zwane is currently a PhD Student Researcher in the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics of the Agricultural Research Council – Animal Production Institute (ARC-API). She earned her BSc degree at the University of Venda, South Africa (SA), her Honours degree at the University of Limpopo, SA, her Masters degree at the University of Pretoria, SA, where she is now doing her final year PhD in Genomics. From completion of her Honours degree she worked as a Biobank Research Technician at the National Zoological Gardens (NZG), Pretoria, SA, from 2009 to 2013 working with Prof. Paul Bartels, while finalising her MSc studies. Ms Zwane is also working as a Bobank coordinator for livestock biodiversity at ARC-API. She managed to revived the ARC-Biobank and used her skills to co-ordinate the biobank and change the whole biobanking system to suit the current standards, while still acquiring more funds to build the full Biobank capacity.


 Andrew Mungall, PhD

Andy was a founding member of the human genome sequencing group at the Sanger Centre (Cambridge, UK)where he led the mapping and sequencing of chromosome 6. He received his PhD from the Open University and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2008 for studies on the evolution and gene regulation of the genomic imprinting mechanism. Andy currently holds a Staff Scientist II post and is the Group Leader for Biospecimen and Library Cores at Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre of the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver.

Victor Alejandro Iglesias, PhD

Dr. Iglesias joined Roche in 2000. His major interest and expertise are in the area of biobanking, including biomarkers as basis of sample quality control. At Roche, he has contributed to multiple products from discovery to clinical development programs. He worked previously in Genetics at the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel. Dr. Iglesias obtained his biology degree in his native Argentina, and moved to the ETH Zurich to complete a doctorate in molecular biology. Dr. Iglesias is co-author of more than 20 research publications and patents


Pascal Puchois, PhD

Pascal Puchois is a Clinical Pathologist with PhDs in Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, he worked at Institut Pasteur where he headed the Biomarker R&D Unit. After this academic career, he founded and/or managed various international Clinical Research Organizations and central clinical laboratories. He also served as Vice President for drug discovery biotech companies in the immuno-oncology and CNS areas. He has an extensive experience in the CRO industry and biomarker expertise combined with a quality-oriented mindset. He is the founder and CEO of Trans-Hit Bio, a leading biospecimen procurement CRO with a most extensive collection capability for clinical samples.

Symposium 4A - Expected to deliver: biobanking responses to emerging global threats for and in LMICs

Mars Stone, PhD

Mars Stone is Core Director of the Viral Reference Lab and Repository Core and Staff Scientist II at Blood Systems Research Institute.  She joined BSRI after completing graduate and post Doctoral work at the University of California, Davis investigating rhesus macaque models of HIV vaccines.  BSRI is a world-renowned institute engaged in research ranging from blood donor epidemiology to cellular therapy to virus discovery.  Dr Stone’s research interests revolve around transfusion transmitted viruses and transfusion efficacy and leads a range of multicenter clinical and translational studies in these areas.  A main focus of research is global response to the emergence of the Zika epidemic.


 Akin Abayomi, MBBS (London), MRCP (UK), FCPath Haem (SA), MPhil (UP), FRCP(Edin)

Professor Akin Abayomi is the Chief Pathologist and Head of the Division of Haematology at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.He studied at the Royal Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital at the University of London where he attained his first graduate degree in Medicine.He went on to specialize in Internal Medicine and Haematology,obtaining fellowships from the Royal College of Medicine and the Royal College of Pathologists of the United Kingdom as well as the College of Medicine of South Africa.Akin has worked in several countries around the world in both Internal Medicine and Haematology.His focus has mainly been on the complications of HIV and the development of laboratory and clinical capacity to rise to the challenge of the HIV epidemic in the developing world and Africa.He is the PI to the Tygerberg Lymphomas Study Group and the Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium and a member of the H3Africa and B3Africa consortia.

Thi My Hanh Vu, M.D.

Vu Thi My Hanh is a Medical Microbiology Resident at Hanoi Medical University. She also works at National Hospital for Tropical Diseases as a biobank manager. Her research interests include medical virology and biobanking. She is one of the first people in Vietnam who used real-time PCR to quantify BK virus and she has researched BK virus infection in renal transplant recipients for 3 years. From 6/2016, she was appointed to be biobank manager of National Hospital for Tropical Diseases. She has experiences in tropical diseases and medical microbiology (laboratory diagnosis and treatment infectious diseases) and repository samples (patient’ specimens, isolated bacteria, virus etc.).


 Robert Hanner, PhD

Dr. Hanner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph. He received a PhD from the University of Oregon and pursued postdoctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), where he spearheading the development of their Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection for Molecular and Microbial Research. Robert then served at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and has also served as a past president of ISBER. He currently serves as the North American Node Representative to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). His research focus on molecular biodiversity has seen various applications in food security, among others.

Symposium 4B - Accelerating Clinical and Social Outcomes with Sample Data: It’s All About the Base…and the Exploitation


David Ford, Prof. 

David is Professor of Health Informatics at Swansea University, where he is Principal investigator and Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRCW), an £8million investment by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Centre, as part of its Big Data initiative. He is Deputy Director of Farr-CIPHER and joint lead of the SAIL Databank, an internationally recognised data linkage resource, along with many other projects in the field. He is a member of numerous committees and national bodies relating to health informatics and health-related research. He has received research grants and consultancy contracts valuing over £45m over recent years.


 Janet Olson, PhD

Dr. Janet Olson is a genetic epidemiologist with extensive experience in community based and disease specific biobanking.  She has the Project Director of the Center for Individualized Medicine Mayo Clinic Biobank since its inception in 2008.   In that capacity, she designed and managed the day-to-day infrastructure that allowed completion of enrollment (N=56,000) from April 2009 to December 2015 at 3 sites across the country.  She has also served as an advisor for the Latino population-based biobank called Sangre Por Salud (Blood for Life) Biobank located at Mountain Park Health Care Center in Phoenix, Arizona.


 Adam Boyko, PhD

Adam Boyko, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary
Medicine, and Founder and Chief Science Officer of Embark Veterinary. His research focuses on canine genomics, including the
evolutionary history of domestic dogs, genome structure, trait mapping, genetic population health and the genetic diversity of free-ranging “village” dogs. Dr. Boyko is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and received an MS in computer science and a PhD in Biology from Purdue University before his postdoctoral training in genetics at Cornell and Stanford.


David van Enckevort, MA

David van Enckevort is an international Biobank IT project lead specialized in data findability, access and interoperability. Before his switch to Bioinformatics, he gained extensive IT experience as systems engineer in the commercial sector, after graduating from Leiden University as an Archaeologist. His track record includes scientific programming and technical project lead of the Dutch biobank task force of the Netherlands Bioinformatics Center, the Dutch BBMRI-NL biobank catalogue, the European BBMRI-ERIC biobank directory, the European RD-Connect rare disease sample catalogue and the RD-connect data linkage project, since he is 2013 based at the department of Genetics at the UMCG Groningen.

Special Topics - What’s on the Horizon: Emerging Tools in Biobanking and Biospecimen Research


Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, Professor

Erik Bongcam-Rudloff is a Swedish biologist and bioinformatician. He received his Doctorate in Medical Sciences from Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden in 1994 and his Docentur in 2004 at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden. He is professor in bioinformatics at SLU and the head of SLU-Global Bioinformatics Centre (http://sgbc.slu.se ) at SLU (www.slu.se ). His main research deals with the development of bioinformatics solutions for the Life Sciences community. He is also the coordinator of the EU-Horizon2020 B3Africa project and vice chair for the EU COST project CHARME: “Harmonising standardisation strategies to increase efficiency and competitiveness of European life-science research” (http://www.cost-charme.eu).

Robert Hanner, PhD

Dr. Hanner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph. He received a PhD from the University of Oregon and pursued postdoctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), where he spearheading the development of their Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection for Molecular and Microbial Research. Robert then served at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and has also served as a past president of ISBER. He currently serves as the North American Node Representative to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). His research focus on molecular biodiversity has seen various applications in food security, among others.


Vasiliki Rahimzadeh, PhD Candidate

Vasiliki Rahimzadeh holds a BS in Microbial Biology from the University of California Berkeley, and an MSc with a specialization in Biomedical Ethics from McGill University. She is currently a doctoral candidate with the Department of Family Medicine and Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University. Her research interests center on the ethics of big data, and science governance/ policy around emerging biotechnologies, namely whole genome/exome sequencing in children. She is a 2016 recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Research Scholarship for her work in pediatric data sharing and research ethics review policy.

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