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Van Andel Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team Symposium

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Van Andel Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team Symposium

October 6, 2016 @ 7:45 am - 5:00 pm

The inaugural Van Andel Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team symposium reflects the collaborative spirit of the team by bringing together leading cancer scientists, clinicians, advocates and industry partners to discuss the latest cutting-edge research. The team is honored to welcome speakers and panelists from across the U.S. and abroad, all with a common goal—to find more effective therapies for cancer. Learn more about the VARI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team and its work here.

 

Program

Speakers

Panelists

Parking

7:45 a.m.
Continental breakfast
Please note any dietary restrictions during the registration process

8:15 a.m.
Welcome remarks and introductions
Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., and Stephen Baylin, M.D.
VARI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team co-leaders

8:30 a.m.
Epigenetic landmarks define the cancer microenvironment
Susan Clark, Ph.D.
Division Head, Genomics and Epigenetics; Senior Principal Research Fellow
Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Perspectives: Monotherapy and combinatorial approaches within the immune checkpoint space

9:15 a.m.
John Byon, M.D., Ph.D.
Genentech

9:30 a.m.
Benjamin Nicholson, Ph.D.
Merck

9:45 a.m.
Sylvie Guichard, PharmD, Ph.D.
AstraZeneca

10:00 a.m.
Julie Brahmer, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University

10:15 a.m. 
Susan Wee, Ph.D.
Bristol-Myers Squibb

10:30 a.m.   
Break

Perspectives: Other combinatorial therapy approaches with a focus on the position of epigenetic therapy

10:45 a.m.
James Lowder, M.D.
Astex Pharmaceuticals

11:00  a.m.
James Christensen, Ph.D.
Mirati Therapeutics

11:15 a.m.
Patrick Trojer, Ph.D.
Constellation Pharmaceuticals

11:30 a.m.
Peter Ho, M.D., Ph.D.
Epizyme

11:45 a.m.  
Stephen Baylin, M.D.
VARI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team; Johns Hopkins University;
Van Andel Research Institute

12:00 p.m.
Discussion

12:15 p.m.  
Lunch
Please note any dietary restrictions during registration

1:15 p.m.
Panel: Epigenetic therapy in combinations
Chair: Stephen Baylin, M.D.

2:30 p.m.
Break

3:00 p.m.    
Panel: Adaptation and incorporation of DNMTis in solid tumors
Chair: Jean-Pierre Issa, M.D.—Temple University

4:15 p.m.       
New approaches for mapping of T cell recognition in cancer
Sine Reker Hadrup, Ph.D.
Technical University of Denmark

5:00 p.m.       
Symposium conclusion and remarks
Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., and Stephen Baylin, M.D.
VARI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team

Baylin_Stephen_255x187Stephen Baylin, M.D.
Co-leader, VARI –SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team
CSO’s Scholar, Van Andel Research Institute
Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Oncology and Medicine and Co-head of Cancer Biology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Stephen Baylin earned his M.D. from Duke University in Durham, N.C. in 1968 and completed his internship and first year of residency at the university. He then served as a staff associate at the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart and Lung Institute for two years before returning to Johns Hopkins to complete his residency and fellowship. He was appointed as an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins in 1974 and rose through the ranks, becoming a professor of oncology in 1986 and a professor of medicine in 1990. In 1991, he was appointed chief of the Tumor Biology Division and, the following year, was named as the associate director for research at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. He is currently Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research in the Oncology Department and co-head of Cancer Biology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Baylin has earned numerous prestigious honors, including the 2004 Investigator of the Year Award from NCI SPORE; the 2005 Shubitz Cancer Research Prize from the University of Chicago; and the 2009 Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic and Translational Cancer Research, together with VARI Research Director Dr. Peter Jones. In 2011, Drs. Baylin and Jones were jointly awarded the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor.

He has authored or co-authored more than 350 publications and served as associate editor of Cancer Research. Dr. Baylin also served on the board of the American Association for Cancer Research Board of Directors from 2004 to 2007, and was the leader of the first SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team, launched in 2009.

In 2015, he accepted an appointment at VARI as co-leader of the VARI-SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team, which he leads with Dr. Jones, and as a professor in the Center for Epigenetics. In addition to his work at VARI, Dr. Baylin will continue his work at Johns Hopkins.

Julie Brahmer, M.D.
Interim Director
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University

byon_johnJohn Byon, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Medical Director
Product Development Oncology
Genentech

John C.H. Byon, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assoicate Medical Director in the Hematology Franchise at Genentech/Roche. He received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993), a PhD in Physiology (1998) and MD (2002) from Tulane Univerity. John completed an Internal Medicine Residency and Hematology-Oncology Fellowship at the University of Washington (2009). He went on to complete a Post-doctoral fellowship with Thalia Papayannopoulou in Hematology, where he studied the role of microRNAs in normal and malignant hematopoiesis. He also saw patients in the Hematology clinic at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance from 2009-2014, as well as duties as attending physician on the in-patient Hematology Consult, Medical Oncology and Acute Leukemia services. He received a K12 grant to better understand the role of microRNAs in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and whether manipulation of microRNA expression could be utilized as an approach to expand HSCs ex vivo as a possible source for stem cell transplantation. Since joining Genentech in 2014, John has focused on the clinical development of Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in hematological malignancies, in particular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NPL), multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia.

james_christensenJames Christensen, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Christensen joined Mirati in June 2013 and has responsibilities for Translational Medicine, Companion Diagnostic Strategy, and Drug Discovery Research.  Prior to Mirati, he was the Senior Director of Oncology Precision Medicine in the Oncology Research Unit at Pfizer, a group focused on developing strategies toward patient identification, novel combination approaches, and development of biomarker approaches. Dr. Christensen joined Pfizer in 2003 and his responsibilities there included leading nonclinical research efforts for oncology programs including sunitinib (Sutent®) research activities and leading the nonclinical and translational biology efforts for other research and development programs including crizotinib (Xalkori®). Dr. Christensen participated as a member of the Pfizer Cancer Research or Oncology Research Unit leadership team from 2005-2013. Prior to 2003, Dr. Christensen was at SUGEN/Pharmacia as a Group Leader on the Preclinical Research and Exploratory Development team where he was responsible for leadership of c-Met and erbB family preclinical development programs and aspects of research and development for sunitinib. Dr. Christensen initiated his industry experience at Warner Lambert/Parke-Davis with research focus in receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) biology and RTK pathway biomarker development in the oncology therapeutic area. Dr. Christensen has authored or co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed research articles in scientific journals including Science, Nature, Cancer Cell, New England Journal of Medicine and others. In addition, Dr. Christensen participates on the editorial boards for Cancer Research and Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Dr. Christensen received his PhD degree focusing in Molecular Pharmacology from North Carolina State University with dissertation research directed toward characterization of mechanisms of apoptosis dysregulation during the process of carcinogenesis.

clark_susanSusan Clark, Ph.D., AAS
NHMRC Senior Research Principal Fellow
Head, Division of Genomics and Epigenetics
Head, Epigenetics Research Laboratory
Garvan Institute for Medical Research

Professor Susan Clark, FAA, has a highly acclaimed international reputation for her work in cancer epigenetics. Susan is a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Head of the Genome and Epigenetics Division at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. She graduated in 1982 with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Adelaide. Her molecular studies over her career have addressed profound questions about the importance of epigenetics in early development and in disease, especially in cancer. The techniques she pioneered in the early 1990s, including bisulphite methylation sequencing, helped to revolutionize epigenomic research. Susan was a founding member of IHEC (International Human Epigenome Consortium) and led the formation of the AEpiA (Australian Epigenetics Alliance). She has a number of awards including the RPAH Research Medal (2002), Julian Wells Medal (2003); “Biochemisch Analytik Preis” for outstanding contribution for Methylation analysis in 2004; In 2006 was elected a Fellow of the World Technology Network for Biotechnology, 2012 was awarded the National Rotary Vocational Award and in 2015 was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and received the NSW Cancer Institute “Make a Difference” Award and the Nadine Watson Annual Lecture Award.

guichard_sylvieSylvie M. Guichard, PharmD., Ph.D.
Senior Principal Scientist AstraZeneca Oncology iMed

Sylvie Guichard is currently project lead at AstraZeneca Oncology in the US and also leading the target discovery efforts for oncology, in particular CRISPR-based approaches. Sylvie has championed projects targeting chromatin remodelers in oncology for several years engaging with both internal and external parties.  Before joining AZ in the US, Sylvie was successively Translational Science Strategist and Lead Bioscentist in Oncology, contributing to several drug discovery programs such as the mTOR clinical programs (AZD8055 and AZD2014) or the ATR program (AZD6738). Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Sylvie was heading the Translational and Research Science Unit  at the CRUK Cancer Centre in Edinburgh. Sylvie obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and PharmD from the University of Toulouse. She was a postdoctoral fellow at St Jude Children’s Hospital working on VDEPT as a therapeutic strategy for neuroblastoma before being awarded a professorship at Toulouse School of Pharmacy.

hadrup_sineSine Reker Hadrup, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Section for Immunology and Vaccinology
National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark

Dr. Sine Reker Hadrup is an expert in T cell-detection by use of MHC multimers. She has focused for many years on development of multiplex strategies for T cell detection to comprehensively assess antigen-specific tumor reactivity among T cells in cancer patients. Dr. Hadrup is heading a research group at the Technical University of Denmark. Novel technologies developed in her research group allows simultaneous detection of >1000 different antigen-responding T cells. Currently, the research group is focusing on using this technology to unravel the immune reactivity towards cancer associate neo- and shared epitopes, as well as understanding the influence of cancer therapy on the immune recognition fingerprint in individual patients.

Peter T.C. Ho, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Epizyme Inc.

Dr. Ho is currently is the Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer at Epizyme Inc., a clinical stage, publicly-held biopharmaceutical company that is creating novel epigenetic therapies for cancer patients based in Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Ho received his B.A. in biology from The Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. and Ph.D. (pharmacology) degrees from Yale University.  He completed pediatrics residency at The Children’s Hospital of Boston followed by clinical fellowships in pediatric hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and in clinical oncology and regulatory sciences jointly through the U.S. FDA and the NCI.  He served as a Senior Investigator at the Investigational Drug Branch of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program at the NCI.  His pharmaceutical experience includes positions of increasing responsibility including Senior VP of the Oncology Center of Excellence in Drug Discovery at GlaxoSmithKline, and VP of Oncology Clinical Development at Johnson and Johnson.  He was co-Founder and President of BeiGene Ltd., a Beijing, China-headquartered biotech dedicated to the discovery and development of cancer therapies.

Since 1995, he has been directly responsible for the first-time-in-human dosing of 17 anticancer agents and has overseen the development of over 50 oncology compounds in clinical phases of testing.  These compounds have included small molecule inhibitors of intracellular signal transduction cascades, direct cytotoxic agents, hormonal antagonists, epigenetic modulators, radiopharmaceuticals, cytokines, monoclonal antibodies, monoclonal antibody conjugates and oncology supportive care agents.  This work has contributed to five NCE approvals to date:  Gleevec®; Arranon®; Tykerb®; Promacta®; Votrient®.

Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Chief Scientific Officer, Van Andel Research Institute
Co-leader, VARI–SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team

Dr. Jones was born in Cape Town, raised and attended college in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and received his Ph.D. from the University of London. He joined the University of Southern California in 1977 and served as Director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Centerbetween 1993 and 2011. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His laboratory discovered the effects of 5-azacytidine on cytosine methylation and he first established the link between DNA methylation, gene expression and differentiation. He pioneered the field of epigenetics, particularly its role in cancer, and helped develop novel therapies for cancer. Dr. Jones is a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research, a Fellow of the AACR Academy, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and received several honors, including the Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Cancer Institute. He and his colleague Dr. Stephen Baylin shared the Kirk A. Landon Award for Basic Cancer Research from the AACR in 2009 and the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society in 2011.

lowder_jamesJames N. Lowder M.D.
Executive Director, Clinical Development
Astex Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Lowder trained in hematology and oncology at Case Western Reserve and Stanford University Hospitals, was on the staff of the Cleveland Clinic and has held a variety of positions in diagnostic and therapeutic companies. His past clinical and research experience has included the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, including anti-idiotype antibodies and anti-T cell antibodies, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, including supportive care, dose escalation trials for preparative regimens, modification of bone marrow for transplantation, cytokines for immunotherapy, notably Interleukin-2, and targeted agents, including ibrutinib. Most recently at Astex, he has worked on the development of next-generation hypomethylating agents, including guadecitabine and ASTX-727, an oral combination of decitabine and E7727, a cytidine deaminase inhibitor.

ben-photo-june-2016_croppedBen Nicholson, Ph.D.
Principal Scientist, Oncology Discovery, Merck

Dr. Nicholson helps to lead the epigenetics effort within Merck Oncology. As a component of this work he works closely with a broad range of academic and industry collaborators to enhance the understanding of epigenetic mechanisms and how these might be applied to improve cancer therapy. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Nicholson led efforts to develop novel therapeutics targeting the ubiquitin pathway at Progenra which was preceded by a position at Nereus Pharmaceuticals which specialized in marine natural product drug discovery. Dr. Nicholson obtained his degree and PhD in biochemistry from the University of Bristol in the UK before performing his postdoctoral studies at UC San Diego.

trojer_patrickPatrick Trojer, Ph.D.
Vice President of Research, Constellation Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Patrick obtained his Ph.D. in biology with a focus on protein biochemistry and molecular biology at the Leopold Franzens University in Innsbruck, Austria

He conducted his postdoctoral studies in Dr. Danny Reinberg’s laboratory at NYU School of Medicine focused on understanding functional consequences of dynamic changes in histone lysine methylation states. There he gained strong expertise and an extensive track record in epigenetics and chromatin biology.

In 2008, Patrick left academic research to become the founding scientist of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a Biotech startup company focused on the discovery and development of chromatin drugs

Patrick was the project team lead on the EZH2 inhibitor discovery program that successfully progressed from hit identification to the clinic.

Today, Patrick is heading the Research organization of the company, overseeing Constellation’s oncology target identification and validation, all drug discovery activities from hit identification to DC nomination and pre-clinical and clinical biomarker discovery efforts.

ahuja_nitaNita Ahuja, M.D., MBA, FACS
Professor of Surgery, Oncology and Urology
Vice Chair of Research and Academic Affairs
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Nita Ahuja is the Jacob C. Handelsman Professor of Surgery, Oncology and Urology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She serves as the Vice Chair of Research and Academic Affairs for the Department of Surgery and the Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology. Her clinical practice is focused on treatment of complex GI malignancies including recurrent colorectal cancers, pancreas cancers and sarcomas. Dr. Ahuja directs a highly productive translational laboratory focused on development of epigenetic therapeutics for treatment of solid cancers. Her laboratory was instrumental in identifying the methylome of multiple cancers including colorectal, pancreas and breast cancers. Dr. Ahuja subsequently led the first trials testing combination epigenetic therapies in colorectal cancer as a member of the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team. Dr. Ahuja is now focused on testing epigenetic chemo priming as well as immune priming in solid tumors.  Her laboratory has also developed biomarkers for early detection and novel therapeutics including blood based biomarkers for early detection of pancreas cancer. Dr. Ahuja has published over 100 peer reviewed publication, written several textbooks and is a member of multiple scientific editorial boards.


azad_niloNilofer S. Azad, M.D.
Associate Professor of Oncology

Dr. Azad is an Associate Professor of Oncology and a member of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program within the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC).  She completed her fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute and became a member of our faculty in July 2008.  Since joining the faculty of the SKCCC at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Azad is the PI of numerous early phase clinical trials in solid tumors and gastrointestinal cancers.  Dr. Azad is a clinically active medical oncologist and will continue to submit LOIs related to her research interests and will serve as protocol chairperson on studies related to her research interests.  She is the co-leader of the newly restructured phase I clinical research program at the SKCCC with Dr. Michael Carducci, who holds the NCI funded U01 grant.  With colleagues at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Emory University Cancer Center, she has co-founded the TREAT (Translational Research & Experimental Therapeutics) consortium dedicated to increasing minority access to phase I studies.  She is a member of the GI subcommittee in ECOG and within the Mayo-led Phase 2 Consortium, a NCI funded mechanism to support the conduct of phase 2 studies, and the PI of a trial through that group.

Dr. Azad’s laboratory is dedicated to translational research in drug development that will form the foundation of future clinical trials.  Her research focuses on epigenetic alterations in cancer cells, which are changes in gene expression due to potentially reversible modifications of DNA.  Her lab is currently investigating drugs that work through epigenetic mechanisms as well as epigenetic molecular differences in tumors that may change the efficacy of treatment. These preclinical studies are designed to move directly into early phase clinical trials, with strong laboratory correlates that will be used to further hone the therapeutic regimens, as a quintessential example of bench-to-bedside medicine.

Baylin_Stephen_255x187Stephen Baylin, M.D.
Co-leader, VARI –SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team
CSO’s Scholar, Van Andel Research Institute
Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Oncology and Medicine and Co-head of Cancer Biology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Stephen Baylin earned his M.D. from Duke University in Durham, N.C. in 1968 and completed his internship and first year of residency at the university. He then served as a staff associate at the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart and Lung Institute for two years before returning to Johns Hopkins to complete his residency and fellowship. He was appointed as an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins in 1974 and rose through the ranks, becoming a professor of oncology in 1986 and a professor of medicine in 1990. In 1991, he was appointed chief of the Tumor Biology Division and, the following year, was named as the associate director for research at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. He is currently Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research in the Oncology Department and co-head of Cancer Biology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Baylin has earned numerous prestigious honors, including the 2004 Investigator of the Year Award from NCI SPORE; the 2005 Shubitz Cancer Research Prize from the University of Chicago; and the 2009 Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic and Translational Cancer Research, together with VARI Research Director Dr. Peter Jones. In 2011, Drs. Baylin and Jones were jointly awarded the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor.

He has authored or co-authored more than 350 publications and served as associate editor of Cancer Research. Dr. Baylin also served on the board of the American Association for Cancer Research Board of Directors from 2004 to 2007, and was the leader of the first SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team, launched in 2009.

In 2015, he accepted an appointment at VARI as co-leader of the VARI-SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team, which he leads with Dr. Jones, and as a professor in the Center for Epigenetics. In addition to his work at VARI, Dr. Baylin will continue his work at Johns Hopkins.

Anthony El-Khoueiry, M.D.
Medical Director, Clinical Investigations Support Office
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center


gronbaek_kirstenKirsten Grønbæk, Ph.D., DMSc.

Professor, Chief Consultant Hematologist
University of Copenhagen/Rigshospitalet

I have a longstanding interest in translational genetics and epigenetics of hematological cancers.  While my doctoral thesis was mainly on the genetics of lymphoma, I have now extended the scope to other hematological cancers with a main interest in translational epigenetics.

I have well established national and international collaborations on clinical and translational research with the Danish and, in particular the Nordic MDS group, which I co-chair with Professor Eva Hellström–Lindberg, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and with the Nordic Mantle Cell Lymphoma study group where I am heading the biobank and biological studies. I hold the clinical responsibility for treatment of MDS patients at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University hospital, the national hospital of Denmark. My lab is within the next-door Biotech Research an Innovation Centre (BRIC) where I have well-established collaborations with basic scientists, in particular Professors Kristian Helin, Bo Porse and Anders H. Lund. Together, we have developed an extensive program on unraveling the pathogenesis of hematological cancers with focus on cancer stem cell directed therapy.

Since 2014 I have had the honor to also participate in collaboration on translational epigenetics in the Van Andel Research Institute–Stand up to Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team, thus representing a European branch of this team.

guichard_sylvieSylvie M. Guichard, PharmD., Ph.D.
Senior Principal Scientist AstraZeneca Oncology iMed

Sylvie Guichard is currently project lead at AstraZeneca Oncology in the US and also leading the target discovery efforts for oncology, in particular CRISPR-based approaches. Sylvie has championed projects targeting chromatin remodelers in oncology for several years engaging with both internal and external parties.  Before joining AZ in the US, Sylvie was successively Translational Science Strategist and Lead Bioscentist in Oncology, contributing to several drug discovery programs such as the mTOR clinical programs (AZD8055 and AZD2014) or the ATR program (AZD6738). Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Sylvie was heading the Translational and Research Science Unit  at the CRUK Cancer Centre in Edinburgh. Sylvie obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and PharmD from the University of Toulouse. She was a postdoctoral fellow at St Jude Children’s Hospital working on VDEPT as a therapeutic strategy for neuroblastoma before being awarded a professorship at Toulouse School of Pharmacy.

issa_jean-pierreJean-Pierre Issa, M.D.
American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor of Medicine
Director, Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology
Temple University School of Medicine
Co-Leader, Program in Cancer Epigenetics,
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health

Dr. Issa received his undergraduate training and his M.D. from the American University of Beirut followed by residency in internal medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital and fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in Baltimore. He was on the faculty at Johns Hopkins from 1994-1999, at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center from 1999-2011, and at Temple University School of Medicine from 2011, where he is currently Professor of Medicine and Director, Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology.

Dr. Issa’s laboratory has made significant contributions to the understanding of epigenetics in the pathophysiology and treatment of cancer. Some of his lab’s discoveries include the effects of aging (1994) and inflammation (2000) on promoter DNA methylation, the CpG Island Methylator Phenotype (1999), methylation-independent gene silencing in cancer by Polycomb group proteins (2008), and a link between epigenetics and the microbiome in colon cancer (2014). Starting in 2000, his group initiated laboratory research directed clinical trials that showed that low doses of hypomethylating drugs specifically target DNA methylation and are optimal in the treatment of leukemias. This work contributed to the FDA approval of decitabine in 2006, and led to a large number of epigenetic therapy clinical trials in different malignancies. His current research focuses on mechanisms of epigenetic alterations in aging and cancer, translation of epigenomic studies for precision medicine, development of drugs for reprogramming the epigenome, and clinical trials of epigenetic therapy in cancer.

Dr. Issa’s research has been recognized by numerous awards including a Sidney Kimmel Foundation Scholar Award in 1997, election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2003, an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship in 2007, the Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research from MD Anderson in 2007, the Rosenthal Award from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2011, and election to the American Association of Physicians in 2015.

yanwen_jiangYanwen Jiang, Ph.D.
Scientist, Oncology Biomarker, Genentech

Yanwen Jiang received his PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Chicago under the mentorship of Dr. Michelle Le Beau in 2007. During his postdoctoral training with Drs. Ari Melnick and Olivier Elemento at Weill Cornell Medical College, he focused on using genomics and epigenomics approaches to understand clonal evolution and heterogeneity of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Following his postdoctoral training, Yanwen became an instructor at the Institute for Computational Biomedicine and the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. His research interests included using genomics and experimental approaches to elucidate the mechanism of lymphomagenesis associated with mutations of epigenetic modifiers. Yanwen joined Genentech in 2016. Currently, he is the biomarker lead of the ongoing Atezolizumab plus Tazemetostat trial in lymphoma, and the biomarker lead of Venetoclax trials in a variety of hematological malignancies at Genentech.

lowder_jamesJames N. Lowder M.D.
Executive Director, Clinical Development
Astex Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Lowder trained in hematology and oncology at Case Western Reserve and Stanford University Hospitals, was on the staff of the Cleveland Clinic and has held a variety of positions in diagnostic and therapeutic companies. His past clinical and research experience has included the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, including anti-idiotype antibodies and anti-T cell antibodies, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, including supportive care, dose escalation trials for preparative regimens, modification of bone marrow for transplantation, cytokines for immunotherapy, notably Interleukin-2, and targeted agents, including ibrutinib. Most recently at Astex, he has worked on the development of next-generation hypomethylating agents, including guadecitabine and ASTX-727, an oral combination of decitabine and E7727, a cytidine deaminase inhibitor.

trojer_patrickPatrick Trojer, Ph.D.
Vice President of Research, Constellation Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Patrick obtained his Ph.D. in biology with a focus on protein biochemistry and molecular biology at the Leopold Franzens University in Innsbruck, Austria

He conducted his postdoctoral studies in Dr. Danny Reinberg’s laboratory at NYU School of Medicine focused on understanding functional consequences of dynamic changes in histone lysine methylation states. There he gained strong expertise and an extensive track record in epigenetics and chromatin biology.

In 2008, Patrick left academic research to become the founding scientist of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a Biotech startup company focused on the discovery and development of chromatin drugs

Patrick was the project team lead on the EZH2 inhibitor discovery program that successfully progressed from hit identification to the clinic.

Today, Patrick is heading the Research organization of the company, overseeing Constellation’s oncology target identification and validation, all drug discovery activities from hit identification to DC nomination and pre-clinical and clinical biomarker discovery efforts.

Susan Wee, Ph.D.
Principal Scientist, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Susan Wee, Ph.D., is a Principal Scientist in the Immuno-Oncology drug discovery group at Bristol-Myers Squibb located in Princeton, NJ. Susan obtained her BS from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. During her Ph.D., she used genetic and biochemical approaches to identify the COP9–signalosome complex which serves as an assembly platform for the protein degradation machinery. Susan then joined the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow where she identified a mechanism explaining why KRAS-mutant cancers are resistant to MEK inhibitors as well as discovered that PTEN-deficient tumors are dependent on PIK3CB. Notably, her studies on the PI3K-pathway has led to the development of p110β-specific small molecule inhibitors which are currently in clinical studies. In 2008, Susan joined BMS as an investigator in the Oncology drug discovery department, where she led programs targeting proteins spanning the WNT-pathway to epigenetic regulators. During this time, Susan initiated the BET discovery program at BMS and led it from target concept through to full-development. Currently, she leads a team of scientists to identify small-molecule inhibitors that enhance anti-tumor immunity and complement clinically approved immune checkpoint therapies.

Cynthia A. Zahnow, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in Oncology
SKCCC at Johns Hopkins University

Complimentary parking will be available at the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) Lyon and Bostwick Parking Ramps. Please note that the GRCC lots are first-come, first-served and typically reach capacity by 8:00 a.m. See the symposium registration desk for parking validation tickets.

The GRCC Lyon Parking Ramp is located one block south of Van Andel Research Institute on Bostwick Ave. NE.

The GRCC Bostwick Parking Ramp is located at the corner of Fountain St. NE and Ransom Ave. NE.  From Division Ave., turn east onto Fountain St. NE (this is a one-way street going east up the hill). Continue two blocks east of Division Ave. The GRCC Bostwick Parking Ramp will be on the left (if you cross Ransom Ave. NE, you’ve gone too far).

Additional parking is available at nearby meters and pay-lots that are not eligible for validation. Additional information on parking in Grand Rapids is available here.

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Details

Date:
October 6, 2016
Time:
7:45 am - 5:00 pm
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