Professor & Director, Bioinformatics
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California & Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Dr Buckley’s principal interests are in developing and refining software tools to facilitate efficient mining of microarray and NGS data for biological discovery and clinical application, particularly in the field of molecular diagnostics. Dr Buckley holds skills and training in medicine, clinical biostatistics, epidemiology and computer science.
California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, Sutter Health
Dr. Pierre-Yves Desprez joined the University of California at Berkeley after completion of his doctoral thesis at the University of Lyon in France. Dr. Desprez has been a Principal Investigator at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco since 1996. The Desprez laboratory is focused on helix-loop-helix transcriptional regulators, their role in regulating cancer progression, as well as the effects of non-psychotropic cannabinoid compounds to control their expression. As part as the Cancer Avatar Project, Dr. Desprez leads DNA/RNA sequencing and molecular profiling efforts.
Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen
Professor, Neurogenomics Division & Co-Director, Center for Noninvasive Diagnostics
Translational Genomics Research Institute
Dr. Van Keuren-Jensen received her Ph.D. from Stonybrook University at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York where she studied the role of activity-regulated genes in synaptic transmission and neuronal morphology. She also has a Master’s degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Kansas. She received her B.A. from Boston University.
Chief, Division of Hematology & Oncology, Director, Center for Personalized Medicine, Director, Clinical Trials Office, Director, Rare Tumor Clinic, Team Leader, Experimental Therapeutics
Cancer Therapy & Clinical Trials Office, UCSD
Dr. Razelle Kurzrock is known for developing the largest Phase 1 clinical trials department in the nation/world while at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. A central theme of that program was the personalized medicine strategy, embodied in a protocol called PREDICT for Profile-related Evidence Determining Individualized Cancer Therapy. This approach utilized advanced molecular technologies to match patients with targeted cancer treatment that is more likely to work for their individual tumors. At Moores Cancer Center, Dr. Kurzrock’s charge is broad, including not just growing and innovating the center’s clinical trials program, but also heading its newly established Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. This center focuses on precision medicine trials, using the most innovative genomically-targeted drugs and/or agents that arm the immune system. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Kurzrock brings extraordinary expertise and experience in clinical research, business operations, regulatory operations, financial and budget planning, and administrative oversight, in addition to her world-recognized work in translational science. Dr. Kurzrock is also Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Kurzrock received her MD degree from the University of Toronto and has about 750 peer-reviewed publications and a uniquely strong record of competitive grant funding within the setting of Phase I program building. Dr. Kurzrock also has a strong history of building outstanding education/training programs. At University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, she founded and directed the MS/PhD program (degree granting) in Human Biology and Patient-Based Research, as well as the Fellowship in Investigational Cancer Therapeutics. At UCSD Moores Cancer, she founded and directs the Fellowship in Personalized Cancer Therapy. Dr. Kurzrock has four children and three dogs and lives with her husband, Dr. Philip Cohen, a dermatologist, in San Diego, CA.
Professor of Pathology, Director of Cell Immortalization
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 the roles of papillomavirus oncoproteins and telomerase, and cell immortalization and 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.
Professor of Physiology
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Martin received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School before joining the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Maryland. Dr. Martin’s lab combines bioengineering and tumor cell biology with animal models and clinical studies to improve the understanding and treatment of cancer metastasis.
Precision Medicine Consultant & "Former" Head of Biomarker Strategy & Disease Interception Accelerator
Head, Market Enabling Technologies & Companion Diagnostics
In his role, Dr. Dennis Merkle leads the companion diagnostic development and biomarker technology scouting group in Research and Development at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. This group interfaces and collaborates closely across the company’s core functions; business development, medical, clinical, regulatory, and commercial teams, to ensure the delivery of timely and market accessible patient stratification tools. Dennis brings over 15 years’ experience in the area of cancer biology and companion diagnostics having previously held positions at Abbott Molecular and Philips Research across R&D and commercial functions. Dennis received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Calgary, Canada, worked as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany and received his executive MBA from Durham Business School, UK.
Associate Director, Translational Oncology
Graduated from University of Pennsylvania and received a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology. Following this, was a postdoctoral fellow at the Sanford Burnham Medical Institute focusing on mechanisms of tumor metastasis. I then became a member of the R&D group at Genoptix where I led the efforts to develop high-throughput, quantitative IHC assays and implement AQUA technology within the clinical lab for breast cancer testing. I then led the Diagnostic R&D team at Ignyta to develop the CDx test for entrectinib. Currently, am a member of the translational oncology team at Pfizer that supports late-stage drug development.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Genomics & Precision Medicine, Scientific Director, Principal Investigator, Scientific Co-Chair
George Washington University, Children’s National Health System, Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium
Dr. Nazarian is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University and the Scientific Director of the Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC. Dr. Nazarian has been pioneering strong national and international collaborations in an effort to establish a robust pediatric brain tumor program. Dr. Nazarian will lead a DIPG Center of Excellence in Kinderspital, Zurich in 2019. The DIPG Program at Children’s National, directed by Dr. Nazarian, has strengthened its collaborations over the past year in its work with the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC). Dedicated to the study and treatment of all pediatric brain tumors, CBTTC’s 15 member institutions paired with the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) to launch CAVATICA, the first ever pediatric genomic cloud. This has allowed for an unprecedented level of data sharing to find risk-factor biomarkers and effective therapies for all pediatric brain tumors. Dr. Nazarian was named as Co-Chair of the consortium’s Scientific Committee in late 2016, bringing his expertise to help guide the CBTTC’s growing collaborations and research strategies.
CSO & Professor
Biogazelle & Ghent University
Jo Vandesompele has a Master of Science in Bio-engineering and a PhD in Medical Sciences. As Chief Scientific Officer, he is responsible for the scientific progress in the company. Jo also holds a professorship at Ghent University, studying non-coding RNA biology in cancer and developing nucleic acid quantification strategies, with a focus on human fluids. He is co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, together cited more than 30,000 times.
Principal Investigator, National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR)
Dr. Xu is currently the Branch Chief for Research-to-Review (R2R) at the Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics of NCTR. He has about twenty years developing bioinformatics software and systems and conducting research in genomics. He specializes in data mining, image analysis, and machine learning. His recent endeavor has been with the FDA-led Sequencing Quality Control Phase 2 (SEQC2) project to evaluate the technical reliabilities and scientific applications of the next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. He is leading a SEQC2 Working Group to assess the reproducibility and detection sensitivity of onco-panel sequencing including liquid biopsy. The Working Group consists of over 200 participants from academia, government agencies, and industry including 8 companies providing onco-panels and 30 testing laboratories. The project aims to provide recommendation in support for FDA’s mission in regulatory oversight of NGS diagnostic tests.
Senior Director, Translational Oncology Lead, IO-EDTO Group
Jean-Francois Martini has over 18 years of biotech and pharma industry experience in pharmacology and translational sciences; he is currently Sr. Director, Translational Oncology, Global Product Development-Oncology and has been at Pfizer, in La Jolla, California, since December 2011. He was previously Sr. Director, Translational Medicine, at Exelixis, South San Francisco, California. He completed his postdoctoral training at University of California, San Francisco where he studied the antiangiogenic properties of fragments of Prolactin and Growth Hormone, after obtaining a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of Paris XI, France. At Pfizer, he currently leads and/or oversees the translational strategy for the Renal Cell Cancer franchise (sunitinib and axitinib); crizotinib, and lorlatinib in Lung Cancer; and palbociclib (Ibrance) in Breast Cancer and in other tumor types. He also leads the cross functional efforts in the area of liquid biopsy/cfDNA analysis and participates in BloodPAC.