CONFERENCE CHAIR 

Diana N. Ionescu, MD, FRCP(C), FCAP

Consultant Pathologist, BC Cancer Agency
Medical Director Clinical Trials, BCCA VCC Laboratory
Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UBC
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Ionescu is a graduate of University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hatieganu” in Cluj Napoca, Romania. She completed her postgraduate training in Anatomical and Clinical Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a Fellowship in Gynecological Pathology at Vancouver General Hospital. She has practiced as a Consultant Pathologist at BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver since 2006. She is currently a Clinical Professor of Pathology at UBC and served as the residency program director for the Anatomic Pathology Residency Program between 2009 – 2017.

Her specific areas of diagnostic expertise are lung, gynecologic and breast pathology. She is an author of over 35 scientific publications and book chapters. She is the author and invited speaker at numerous regional, national and international lectures. Her investigation interests include oncologic pathology and molecular biomarkers, lung cancer and adult health education. She is the Canadian Anatomic and Molecular Pathology (CAMP) course director.

Dr. Ionescu is an enthusiastic advocate of pathologists participating in numerous patient education forums, TV shows, advocacy campaigns, being an Medical Advisor for Lung Cancer Canada and in 2015 appeared before the House of Commons Committee on Health.

FACULTY

Carlo Bifulco, MD

Medical Director, PSJH System Genomics Laboratory
Director, Translational Molecular Pathology and Molecular Genomics
Providence Regional Pathology & Earle A. Chiles Research Institute
Providence St. Joseph Health
Portland, OR

Dr. Bifulco is a Surgical Pathologist with additional fellowship subspecialty training, expertise, and board certification in Molecular Genetic Pathology and Hematopathology. Dr. Bifulco currently serves as the Director of Molecular Pathology and Pathology Informatics at Providence St. Joseph Health, and as the Director of Translational Molecular Pathology and Molecular Genomics at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute in Portland, Oregon, a division of Providence Cancer Institute. He oversees PSJH Molecular Genomics Laboratory, one of the largest clinical genomics labs in the Pacific Northwest, which provides state-of-the-art genomic sequencing to cancer patients across the seven state PSJH system.

Prior to joining Providence, Dr. Bifulco served on the Pathology faculty at Yale University and completed fellowships in Oncologic Surgical Pathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His current translational research is focused on supporting the characterization of the tumor immune microenvironment through immunohistochemical and image analysis techniques, and on the integration of genomics with immunotherapies. Dr. Bifulco serves on the Global Colon Cancer Immunoscore Task Force led by the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), and is Chair of the SITC Pathology Task Force convened to establish multiplexed immunohistochemistry/ immunofluorescence (mIHC/IF) standards.

Carol Cheung, MD, PhD, JD, FRCPC

Associate Professor
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

Dr. Carol Cheung received her MD and completed her residency in Anatomical Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.  She obtained her Ph.D. training in cellular and molecular biology at the Ontario Cancer Institute. She received her law degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.

 

She is currently a Consultant in Urologic Pathology at the University Health Network (UHN) and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto.  She is the Medical Director of the Clinical Immunopathology Laboratory at UHN, founder of the webinar series “Epitopically Speaking…”, scientific (and sometimes legal) member of the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board, member of the Pathology Scientific Committee of the Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare, member of the Canadian Association of Pathologists’ National Standards Committee for High Complexity Testing, member of the Canadian Standards Association Group’s Technical Committee on Medical Laboratory Quality Systems, a member of the Standards Council of Canada’s Mirror Committee ISO/TC 212 on Clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems, and a member of the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO/TC 212 WG1 on Quality and Competence in the medical laboratory.

 

Her main academic activities focus on quality assurance in biomarker testing, as well as the legal and ethical issues that affect the development of laboratory medicine and pathology as an evolving discipline.

Patrice Desmeules, MD

Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec-UL
Quebec, QC

I am an anatomic pathologist at IUCPQ/Quebec Heart and Lung Institute since 2017, where I am also responsible for molecular diagnostics. I trained in anatomic pathology at Université Laval and completed oncologic surgical pathology and thoracic molecular pathology fellowships at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY. I am mostly interested in translational research for biomarkers in thoracic neoplasms.

Kaila Holtz, MSc, MD, FRCPC

Sport Physiatrist
Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Kaila Holtz MSc. MD FRCPC is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She completed a Sports Medicine fellowship at the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre in 2019 and works closely with the UBC varsity baseball and softball teams. Prior to medicine, Dr. Holtz played NCAA Division 1 college softball at UMass Amherst and competed for Canada at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Her current research interests are in throwing related injuries, orthobiologic treatments and wearable technology for athlete assessments and injury prevention. Her community practice focuses on reducing pain and restoring function to athletes of all ages and skill levels.

David Huntsman, MD, FRCPC, FCCMG

Professor, University of British Columbia
Director, Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OVCARE)
Vancouver, Prostate Centre
Vancouver, BC

Dr. David Huntsman is the Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Professor of Gynaecologic Oncology, holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Molecular and Genomic Pathology, and is a Professor in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynaecology at The University of British Columbia. He is a Staff Pathologist at the BC Cancer Agency and a Consulting Pathologist at the Vancouver General Hospital.

Dr. Huntsman attended medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland from 1984-88 and after completing a rotating internship, practiced family medicine in Labrador for two years. Following his experience in family medicine, he entered and completed a pathology residency and trained in clinical molecular genetics at UBC and subsequently studied cancer genetics at Cambridge University, UK.

Dr. Huntsman is a co-founder and Director of BC’s Ovarian Cancer Research (OVCARE) Program, where he leads a multidisciplinary team of over 50 scientists, staff and trainees in the study of ovarian and other gynaecological cancers. He is also co-Director of the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre (GPEC) at the Jack Bell Research Centre, VGH and former Medical Director of the Centre for Translational and Applied Genomics (CTAG) at the BCCA.

Dr. Huntsman’s research has led to the development of predictive and prognostic tissue-based cancer biomarkers for ovarian cancer and a wide variety of other tumour types. His team created a blueprint for histotype specific ovarian cancer control and have been leaders in the application of novel genomics technologies to ovarian cancer. Recently, his team applied next generation sequencing technologies to ovarian cancers and discovered key mutations in granulosa cell tumours, clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas, sertoli-leydig cell tumours of the ovary and small cell carcinomas of the ovary. His team is working to determine the biologic and clinical relevance of these discoveries with a view to developing new treatment, diagnostic and prevention opportunities. Dr. Huntsman has published >300 publications, many in high impact journals such as Nature, N Engl J Med, Cell, JAMA, and Nat Genetics. He has secured over $20M of research funding as Principal Investigator plus an additional $73M as a co-Investigator. His research has attracted collaborative industry projects from Sanofi, Novartis, Astra-Zeneca, and Pfizer.

As collaboration is critical in this field, Dr. Huntsman happily leads and engages in a wide number of multidisciplinary research groups. Most recently, he has been working with Professor Pieter Cullis on the creation of a broad-based personalized medicine initiative for British Columbia. He has engaged national and international researchers through his creation of the Terry Fox Research Institute-Canadian Ovarian Experimental Unified Resource (TFRI-COEUR) and Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis (OTTA) tissue resources, containing >12,000 cases. He is part of the scientific team that directs the international Helene Harris Memorial Trust Ovarian Cancer Think Tank and have participated actively in the European Translational Ovarian Cancer (EUTROC) Consortium.

Dr. Huntsman is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious William E. Rawls Prize for contributions to advances in cancer control in Canada (2014), the Gerald Award for Translational Research and Pathology from the Memorial Sloan Ketter Cancer Center (2016), the Karen Campbell National Award for Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research (Feb 2012), the Killam Research Prize and Overall Excellence Senior Faculty Award from the UBC Faculty of Medicine (2012), and the inaugural Virginia Greene leadership award for ovarian cancer research and advocacy (Sept 2011).

John Iafrate, MD

Professor of Pathology
Harvard Medical School
Director of the Center for Integrated Diagnostics (CID)
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Dr. Iafrate is a Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and is Director of the Center for Integrated Diagnostics (CID), a clinical laboratory for molecular diagnostics at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Iafrate received his MD/PhD dual degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2000 and was trained in anatomic and molecular genetic pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Iafrate is a board-certified Pathologist, and has been on staff at MGH since 2005. The CID provides rapid personalized genomic testing to help inform cancer treatment decisions for patients. His research is focused on lung and brain tumors, where he has been closely involved in the clinical development of crizotinib and companion diagnostics in ALK- and ROS1 positive lung cancers. His lab has developed several technologies for sequencing tumors, including SNaPshot and the next-generation sequencing-based Anchored Multiplex PCR, both techniques have been widely used in the molecular diagnostics community.

Cheng-Han Lee, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Clinical Assistant Professor
University of British Columbia
Medical Director, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
British Columbia Cancer Agency
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Lee received his MD-PhD degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2004 and completed his Anatomic Pathology residency training (UBC) in 2009.  His interest in cancer genetics led him to pursue research fellowships at Stanford University Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he studied the genetic basis and biology of high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma.  His work led to the recognition of a new disease entity that was subsequently adopted in the 2014 WHO classification system for tumors of the female reproductive system. More recently, Dr. Lee has applied various next generation sequencing methods and high-throughput assays to gain clinically and diagnostically informative insights into epithelial/mesenchymal tumors of the uterus, including the most aggressive subtypes of uterine cancer such as dedifferentiated endometrial cancer, carcinosarcoma as well as a number of uterine sarcoma types.

Dr. Lee currently has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and a number of book chapters, and is the recipient of a number of young investigator/junior scientist awards from both national and international organizations.  He is currently a consultant pathologist and the medical director of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at British Columbia Cancer Agency. His subspecialty practice interests are in gynecologic, bone/soft tissue and molecular pathology.

E. Celia Marginean, MD, FRCPC, FCAP

Surgical Pathologist
Oregon Regional Pathology Services
Providence Health & Services
Portland, OR

Dr. Esmeralda Celia Marginean is a surgical pathologist, certified in Anatomic pathology and Cytopathology by American Board of Pathology and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

She completed her Anatomic and Clinical Pathology residency at St. Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, NJ, followed by a GI/Liver/Pancreas pathology fellowship at Yale University, New Haven, CT and a cytopathology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

She joined Ottawa University, Ottawa, Canada as medical staff in 2005, where she practiced until Feb 1, 2019, when she joined Providence Portland Medical Center, Portland, OR, USA.

During her tenure in Ottawa, she reached the rank of Full Professor of Pathology at Ottawa University and had several local, provincial and national leadership roles:  Head of GI Pathology Section and Deputy Head of Cytopathology Section at Ottawa Hospital; President of Ontario Association of Pathologists (2017-2019); Board member of several committees: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer , GI Endoscopy Steering Committee Champlain LHIN, Communities of Practice Champlain LHIN (thyroid, colorectal), US and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP), Commonwealth Neuroendocrine Tumour Group.

 

 

The majority of her research projects are related to biomarkers in gastrointestinal malignancies, and were presented at local, national or international meetings and published in high impact peer-reviewed journals.

Marco Marra, OBC, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS

Director of Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer
Professor and Head of the Department of Medical Genetics
University of British Columbia
BC Node Leader,  Terry Fox Research Institute
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Marco Marra, OBC, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, is Director of Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer; Professor and Head of the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC and the BC Node Leader for the Terry Fox Research Institute. He uses genome science to study cancers. His recognitions include member of the Order of British Columbia, the 2019 Don Rix Lifetime Achievement Award, the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance’s Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research Award, the Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Prize in Cancer Research and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Marra has received honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University and from the University of Calgary.

Dr. Marra has spent much of his career working within and leading interdisciplinary teams seeking to study fundamental problems in cancer genome biology. His current research activities revolve around the interplay between the cancer genome and the epigenome, with particular focus on the evolution of treatment resistant cancers and on bringing genomics technologies closer to cancer care.

Barbara Melosky, MD, FRCPC

Professor of Medicine
University of British Columbia
Medical Oncologist, BC Cancer
Vancouver, BC

Dr. Melosky is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a Medical Oncologist in Vancouver at BC Cancer. She graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba and did a residency in internal medicine and an oncology fellowship at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Melosky specializes in the field of thoracic malignancy. She sits on the Executive Lung Site Committee for CCTG Canadian Clinical Trials Group.

Her main focus of clinical trials is on EGFR inhibitors; she is published in this area and is considered a national and international expert. Dr. Melosky has chaired the Canadian Lung Cancer Conference for the last 12 years, which is attended by over 350 participants. She chairs and organized the multi-disciplinary Lung Cancer Journal Club three times yearly. She is chair and created the British Columbia Lung Cancer Biobank.

Medicine at UBC since 2018. His research focuses on malignancies of the genitourinary system, but he is also interested in molecular biomarker studies in different solid tumors, including lung and breast cancers.

Gang Wang, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Clinical Assistant Professor,
University of British Columbia
Pathologist, BC Cancer
Vancouver, BC

Dr. G. Wang earned his medical degree from the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, and a PhD degree in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine from the University of British Columbia on androgen-independent prostate cancer. His research career followed with postdoctoral fellowships at iCAPTURE Center at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle. In 2012 Dr. Wang started his residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for a year and then returned to UBC to finish his training in Anatomic Pathology in 2016. After completing a Genitourinary Pathology fellowship in MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, he returned to BC Cancer Vancouver Centre where Dr. Wang started on his current position as a consultant pathologist. Dr. Wang is also a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC since 2018. His research focuses on malignancies of the genitourinary system, but he is also interested in molecular biomarker studies in different solid tumors, including lung and breast cancers.

Stephen Yip, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Neuropathologist, Vancouver General Hospital
Director – Cancer Genetics & Genomics Laboratory
Interim director – Centre for Clinical Genomics
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Stephen Yip completed his MD-PhD training at UBC followed by 4/6 years of neurosurgery residency when he decided to switch to neuropathology. He did his fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital under the mentorships of David Louis and John Iafrate. Stephen Yip is a contributor to the 2016 WHO Classification of CNS Tumours. In 2012, I discovered recurrent mutations in CIC in a majority of 1p19q-codeleted, IDH mutated oligodendroglioma. He is collaborating with Marco Marra in the Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program of which he is the lead pathologist and is also branching out to practical epigenomics profiling of cancer and machine learning in glass- based pathology.