Invited Speakers

/Invited Speakers
Invited Speakers2019-10-09T22:53:07+00:00

Please note that we are still in the process of collecting information from our invited speakers. This page will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Keynote Speaker:

Abasi Ene-Obong, CEO, 54gene

Abasi Ene-Obong is the founder and CEO of 54gene, an African genomics company building the largest pan-African bank to improve precision medicine. Prior to 54gene, Abasi worked with leading healthcare organizations, including Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, and governments as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and QuintilesIMS. Previously, Abasi worked as a cancer researcher and published a seminal paper on pancreatic cancer immunology in the journal, Gastroenterology. He holds a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of London, and masters’ in human molecular genetics from the Imperial College London and in business management from the Claremont Colleges, California.

Invited Speakers:

Yuksel Agca, Associate Professor, University of Missouri

Dr. Yuksel Agca received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from University of Ankara, Turkey. He received his MSc degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and PhD degree at the Cryobiology Research Institute of the Methodist Hospital of Indiana through Purdue University. He pursued his post-doctoral studies at Indiana University medical school and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri College of veterinary medicine. He is also a co-investigator of two NIH funded centers, namely mutant mouse resource and research center and rat resource and research center. He is also serving as Secretary of the Society for Cryobiology.

Alptekin Aksan, Professor, University of Minnesota

Prof. Aksan received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University. After completing a three year post-doctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, he has joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota in 2005. His research expertise includes biostabilization, biotransport, biothermodynamics, and biomaterials with specific emphasis on protein and cell stabilization in frozen and vitrified states.

Azar Alizadeh, GE Research

A Principal Scientist at GE Research and a NextFlex Fellow, Dr. Azar Alizadeh leads several cross-functional teams of industrial and academic partners to develop wireless health and performance monitoring systems. The wearable sensing platforms developed by these teams enable vital signs as well as sweat and interstitial biochemical measurement capabilities and have the potential to revolutionize medicine and performance monitoring through early detection of illness, infection, fatigue and injury. Azar holds a PhD in physics, has co-authored 49 peer reviewed publications, and holds 19 US patents/patent applications.

Keith Barker, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

Keith Barker is curator of genetic resources at the Bell Museum and associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He holds a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago, and studies the diversification of birds using comparative and phylogenomic methods.

Heidi Beate Bentzen, Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Oslo

Heidi Beate Bentzen, LL.M., is a Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway. Bentzen researches the legal regulation of genetic testing and the processing of human biological samples and genetic data, including reuse and data sharing within and outside the EU. She is appointed to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy’s Task Force on privacy and the protection of health data, where she has contributed to the drafting of a UN Recommendation on the protection and use of health-related data. Bentzen is also active in the initiative spearheaded by BBMRI-ERIC drafting a GDPR EU Code of Conduct for health data.

Chad Borges, Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Chad is an Associate Professor of chemistry at Arizona State University. After obtaining his BS in chemistry, he earned his PhD at the University of Utah where he studied analytical toxicology under Doug Rollins, the medical director in charge of doping control for the 2002 Olympics. As a postdoc at Michigan State his work focused on protein analysis by mass spectrometry. He has since merged these disciplines together into a research program that focuses on the analysis of protein post-translational modifications as indicators of health and disease and—as we’ll hear at the meeting—as indicators of ex vivo biospecimen integrity.

Kyle Brothers, Endowed Chair of Pediatric Clinical and Translational Research, University of Louisville

Kyle Brothers, MD, PhD, is an associate professor of pediatrics and the endowed chair for pediatric clinical and translational research at the University of Louisville. Dr. Brothers is a pediatrician and bioethicist who conducts research on ethical issues in the translation of genomic technologies to clinical practice, and research ethics issues encountered in the development and operation of biorepositories, data collections, and research networks. Dr. Brothers serves as the chair of the ethics committee at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.

Gregory Buck, Professor and Director, Virginia Commonwealth University

Gregory A. Buck, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Microbiome Engineering and Data Analysis and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Computer Science at VCU. He obtained his BS in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his MS and PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Washington-Seattle studying the toxinogenic bacteriophages of Corynebacterium diphtheria. He did postdoctoral research at the Institut Pasteur in Paris studying the genetics of antigenic variation in African Trypanosomes, and subsequently joined the faculty in the department of Microbiology and Immunology at VCU. He founded and directs VCU’s Nucleic Acids Research Facilities which maintains VCU’s Next Generation Sequencing infrastructure, and the Center for High Performance Computing which provides research computing capacity to VCU’s investigators. More recently, with support from the NIH Human Microbiome Projects, he and his colleagues founded the Research Alliance for Microbiome Science Registry/Repository at VCU, which now holds more than a quarter million biobanked and stabilized samples. In 2018, Dr. Buck founded the Center for Microbiome Engineering and Data Analysis at VCU. His recent work has focused on high throughput genomics and metagenomics, with a focus on women’s health and the impact of the microbiome of the female reproductive tract on women’s health and pregnancy.

Mine Çiçek, Biospecimens Accessioning and Processing (BAP) Laboratory Director, Mayo Clinic

Mine S. Çiçek, PhD, is director of the Biospecimens Accessioning and Processing Core Laboratory, Biorepository Program, Center for Individualized Medicine and is associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Çiçek earned her PhD in genetics at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia; completed a postdoctoral training at Cleveland Clinic and a fellowship at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Çiçek contributes her expertise and supports Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, SPOREs, and clinical trials networks Alliance and ACCRU. She is Mayo Clinic PI of The Alliance NCTN Biorepository and Biospecimen Resource. She is Co-PI of the All of Us Research Program Biobank.

Cole Drifka, Program Director, University of Minnesota, Biorepository and Laboratory Services

Cole Drifka earned a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focused on better understanding the pancreatic cancer microenvironment through a combination of patient-derived microfluidic tumor models, histopathology, advanced microscopy, and digital image analysis. As a researcher, he was an extensive end-user of core research services. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cole joined the University of Minnesota in 2017. In his current position as Program Director, he oversees the operations of the Biorepository and Laboratory Services (BLS) program, which provides centralized research support services including specimen procurement, processing, histology, imaging, and storage.

Elizabeth Duffy, Assistant Professor, Boston Medical Center

Liz Duffy is an Assistant Professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine and has served as the quality manager for the Biospecimen Archive Research Core (BARC) for the past 10 years. She received her Masters of Art from Boston University in 2009 and has worked to improve the BARC to insure high-quality data and specimens. She also serves on the local IRB to review applications and has a keen interest in the ethical implications of human subject research.

David Gutman, Associate Professor, Emory University

Dr. Gutman developed the Cancer Digital Slide Archive, which hosts over 25,000 whole slide digital images associated with the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). His research focuses on developing tools and methods to analyze multi-terabyte imaging data sets. He is also part of the NCI sponsored Human Tumor Atlas Network (HTAN) Data Coordinating Center, primarily focusing on generating tools to visualize next-generation multiPlex image technologies like cyCIF, CODEX, and merFISH.

Stephen Hewitt, Medical Officer, National Cancer Institute

Stephen M. Hewitt, MD, PhD, is a clinical investigator within the Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute and serves as head of the Experimental Pathology Laboratory. Stephen received his BA from the Johns Hopkins University, and his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. He completed his residency in anatomic pathology at the NCI. Dr. Hewitt has co-authored over 320 articles. Dr. Hewitt is associate editor of the FASEB Journal and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry.

Rania Labib, Head of Biorepository and Biospecimen Research, Children’s Cancer Hospital-57357-Egypt

Dr. Rania Labib, PhD, founder and head of the Children’s Cancer Hospital (CCHE)-Biorepository and Biospecimen Research. In 2009, she received a grant to establish a biorepository. CCHE-Biorepository has recruited thousands of patients. Dr. Labib was lately invited to join the pediatric WG at ISBER and she is the former elected chair of the African WG at ESBB. She has been a biobank consultant for many centers in Egypt and in the region (middle-east and Africa). She is currently a visiting fellow at the National Cancer Institute, NIH in Bethesda, MD.

Jedediah Lewis, President and CEO, Organ Preservation Alliance

Jedd Lewis is the President and CEO of the Organ Preservation Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization focused on advancing cryopreservation technologies. He currently serves as co-chair of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories’ “Living Biobanking” special interest group and past chair of the American Society of Transplantation’s Recovery and Preservation Community of Practice.

Xuefeng Liu, Professor, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University

Dr. Liu is a Professor in the department of pathology at Georgetown University. He also serves Director of Telomeres and Cell Immortalization Program and Director of Conditional Reprogramming Laboratory (CRL) of Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Liu’s research interests focus on viral oncology, cell senescence, and cell immortalization/transformation. Dr. Liu is an inventor of CR (Conditional Reprogramming) technology, which has been widely used in normal mammalian cell models, patient-derived disease models, cancer precision medicine, regenerative medicine, and living biobanks. Together with organoids technology, CR has been considered a next generation cell model by National Cancer Institute (NCI) and ATCC.

Ellen Matloff, President and CEO, My Gene Counsel

Ellen T. Matloff, MS, CGC is a certified genetic counselor and the President and CEO of My Gene Counsel, a digital health company that has provides scalable, updating genetic counseling solutions. Matloff founded the Yale Cancer Genetic Counseling program, served as its director and a faculty member at Yale School of Medicine for 18 years, and was a lead plaintiff in the SCOTUS BRCA gene patent case of 2013. She works closely with patient advocates in the areas of genetic counseling and testing, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, and is an expert in return of genetic test results and misinterpretation of genetic testing. Matloff serves as the contributor on genetic counseling, genetic testing, and digital health.

Karen Meagher, Associate Director of Public Outreach, Mayo Clinic

Karen Meagher has a Ph.D. in moral philosophy and is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Public Engagement in the Biomedical Ethics Research Program at Mayo Clinic. Her research interests focus on public health ethics and social implications of advances in genomics. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Genomics and Society at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She previously worked for President Barack Obama’s Bioethics Commission. While on their staff, she contributed to federal reports on such topics as returning medically actionable genetic results in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer settings.

Jorge Nieva, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, USC/Norris Cancer Center

Jorge Nieva MD is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine within the Division of Medical Oncology at the USC/Norris Cancer Center in Los Angeles, CA where he treats patients with lung and head/neck cancers. He has spent the majority of his career developing tumor derived cancer biomarkers, but over the past 5 years has turned his attention to finding better ways to define and characterize the patient instead of the tumor. Using digital tools ranging from smartphones, to consumer wearables, to video game technology, he has developed a program to objectively define performance status of the patient, the most powerful and predictive cancer biomarker.

Anil Parwani, Professor of Pathology, The Ohio State University

Anil Parwani is a professor of pathology and biomedical informatics at The Ohio State University. He also serves as the vice chair of anatomical pathology and director of the division of pathology informatics and digital pathology. Dr. Parwani completed his residency and fellowship training in urological pathology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Parwani has expertise in digital pathology, artificial intelligence and pathology informatics, and has led the way in the implementation of these technologies in several key clinical areas including the implementation of these technologies at the first hospital in the United States. Dr. Parwani also has expertise in the area of anatomical pathology informatics, including designing quality assurance tools, biobanking informatics, clinical and research data integration, applications of whole slide imaging, digital imaging, telepathology, image analysis, artificial intelligence and lab automation. Dr. Parwani has expertise in prostate and bladder cancer and has trained several fellows in urological pathology.

Dr. Parwani has authored over 300 peer-reviewed articles in major scientific journals and several books and book chapters. Dr. Parwani is on the editorial board of several informatics and surgical pathology journals and currently serves as an editor-in-chief of diagnostic pathology and a co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pathology Informatics.

David Peloquin, Attorney, Ropes & Gray LLP

David Peloquin practices law at Ropes & Gray LLP where he is a member of the health care group. He focuses his practice on advising academic medical centers, life sciences companies, and information technology companies on issues related to human subjects and animal research, data privacy, and general health care compliance. He also serves as a community member of the Institutional Review Board at Partners Healthcare in Boston.
David received his undergraduate degree from Carleton College, his law degree from Yale Law School and clerked for Judge Diana Murphy of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Tim Starr, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota

Dr. Starr is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Ob-Gyn and Women’s Health. Dr. Starr performed his PhD research on immunology in the laboratory of Dr. Kristin Hogquist and completed his post-doctoral training in cancer genetics and mouse models in the laboratory of Dr. David Largaespada. His recent work focuses on the genetics of colon and ovarian cancer, using both mouse models and patient samples to study the genetic interactions and stromal/immune/microbiome interactions within the tumor environment.

Hamid Tizhoosh, Professor, Kimia Lab, University of Waterloo

Dr. Hamid R. Tizhoosh is a Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at University of Waterloo since 2001 where he leads the KIMIA Lab (Laboratory for Knowledge Inference in Medical Image Analysis). As well, he is a Faculty Affiliate to the Vector Institute, Toronto, Canada. Before he joined the University of Waterloo, he was a research associate at the Knowledge and Intelligence Systems Laboratory at the University of Toronto where he worked on AI methods such as reinforcement learning. Since 1993, His research activities encompass artificial intelligence, computer vision and medical imaging. He has developed algorithms for medical image filtering, segmentation and search. He is the author of two books, 14 book chapters, and more than 140 journal and conference papers. He has also filed 5 patents in collaboration with WatCo (Waterloo Commercialization Office). Dr. Tizhoosh has extensive industrial experience and has worked with numerous companies. Presently, he is the AI Advisor of Huron Digital Pathology, St. Jacobs, ON, Canada.