Our Scientific and Lay Advisors
In order to ensure that we fund only the highest quality research, we have formed Scientific Advisory Boards (SABs) which are made up of internationally renowned scientific and medical experts that work in different areas of cancer research and social science.
The lay members of our SABs represent people personally affected by a brain tumour, ensuring that our community’s interests remain at the forefront of our grant award process.
The boards are responsible for the assessment and rating of applications for research funding and making recommendations to our Board of Trustees. Find out a little about them below.
Professor Steve CliffordProfessor Steve Clifford is appointed a Professor of Molecular Paediatric Oncology at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR), Newcastle University. He is currently the lead for the Paediatric Brain Tumour Research Group. Professor Clifford has held academic positions at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Birmingham. He completed his doctoral training in Cancer Molecular Biology at Newcastle University. Prior to this he received a Bachelor in Science (Honours) in Applied Biology at the University of Wales, Cardiff.
Dr Susan ChangDr Susan Chang is a neuro-oncologist who specializes in treating adults with brain tumours and is a co-leader for the Neuro-Oncology Program for the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has a major research focus on the development of novel therapies for patients and has served as the PI on numerous clinical trials. She is a leader on multi-programmatic National Institutes of Health supported grants that address the integration of physiologic and metabolic imaging with tissue biomarkers to optimise the management of glioma patients. She is also the Director of the Glioblastoma Precision Medicine Program aimed at leveraging the molecular and cytogenetic characteristics of glioblastoma to develop new treatments. Dr Chang has created novel supportive care programs such as the Gordon Murray Neuro-Oncology Caregiver program and the Sheri Sobrato Brisson Brain Tumor Survivorship Program, both developed to enhance the care of patients and families.
Professor Simona ParinelloProfessor Simona Parinello is a Group Head at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and an Honorary Reader at Imperial College London. After completing her undergraduate degree in Italy, Professor Parinello went on to complete her PhD in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, USA. Professor Parinello is currently investigating glioblastomas, one of the most common and aggressive type of adult brain tumour. Her work includes understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underpin adult nerve cell development and how they drive glioblastoma growth when they are deregulated. In particular, she is studying how healthy cells and glioblastoma cells communicate with each other to help the cancer cells escape a tumour via blood vessels. Through this work, Professor Parrinello aims to identify new drug targets that could help prevent the spread of tumour cells.
Dr Lucy SteadDr Lucy Stead is a University Academic Fellow and group leader in Glioma Genomics at Leeds Institute of Medical Research, St James’s University Hospital. She was awarded a PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of Leeds in 2010 and, as a trained computational cancer biologist, moved into neuro-oncology research in 2013. Her research involved the use of high-throughput sequencing to characterise brain tumour genomes and transcriptomes, and the integrated analysis of datasets to further understand the development and progression of brain cancer.
Dr Marcel KoolDr Marcel Kool is the deputy of Paediatric Neuro-oncology at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany. He heads up the Embryonal Brain Tumour and Preclinical Research Group where particular research focus is on the DNA and RNA changes that are found in different paediatric brain tumours. He is using this data on tumour changes to help inform new more targeted treatments for children.
Professor Colin WattsProfessor Colin Watts is Professor of Neurosurgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Chair of the University of Birmingham’s newly established Brain Cancer Program. Professor Watts qualified from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and trained in neurosurgery in Cambridge and London where he completed his specialist training in 2004. As a practising neurosurgeon Professor Watts has established a dedicated neurosurgical-oncology research clinic to support clinical trials and collaborative translational research.
Dr Mark GilbertDr Mark Gilbert is a senior investigator and chief of the Neuro-Oncology Branch at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has recently been named Deputy Director of the Centre for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute. He is also the founder and former leader of the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN), a consortium studying ependymoma tumours by supporting basic research, clinical trials, patient outcomes research and educational efforts in North America and Europe. Additionally, he was recently named the Co-Chair of the Brain Tumour Committee in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). Dr Gilbert’s research interests centre on developing new treatment strategies for patients with malignant primary brain tumours. His focus has been in the area of clinical research, emphasizing both large, multi-institutional studies for malignant gliomas, as well as smaller clinical trials that are designed to advance therapies for less common cancer.
Professor Cynthia HawkinsProfessor Cynthia Hawkins is a paediatric neuropathologist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada. Her practice involves both surgical and autopsy neuropathology and includes neuro-oncologic, neuromuscular and neurodevelopmental disease. She is also a principal investigator at the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre and a Professor at the University of Toronto. Professor Hawkins’ research interests include molecular pathogenesis and therapeutics for paediatric astrocytoma, in particular diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and the identification and clinical implementation of novel prognostic and therapeutic markers for paediatric brain tumours.
Dr Gerry ThompsonDr Thompson is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Radiology at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences. Neuroimaging is essential to brain tumour research: it enables non-invasive patient preparation prior to surgery, allowing treatment response monitoring & development of new treatments. He is passionate about finding better ways to image brain tumours, giving surgeons the best information possible and giving their patients the best chance of successful surgeries and meaningful follow-up.
Dr Adrienne BoireDr Adrienne Boire is a neuro-oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 2021, Dr Boire was awarded a Geoffrey Beene Junior Faculty Chair as an outstanding young researcher. The Adrienne Boire Lab investigates metastasis to the central nervous system with a focus on the tumour microenvironment. Through this work Dr Boire’s lab hopes to identify new drug targets that could help to treat secondary brain tumours.
Dr Omer BayraktarDr Omer Bayraktar is a group leader in Cellular Genetics at Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge. After completing his undergraduate degree in Turkey, Dr Bayraktar went on to complete his PhD in Biology at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Bayraktar is fascinated by the cellular complexity of the brain. His research uses large-scale approaches to explore the diversity of human brain cells, including mapping the different types of cell, identifying how glial cells shape neuronal circuits and investigating how pathways are affected in neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr Phedias DiamandisDr Diamandis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. After completing his combined MD/PhD residency at the University of Toronto, Dr Diamandis joined the University Health Network, Toronto as a neuropathologist and clinician scientist. Dr Diamandis’s research focuses on optimising approaches used in pathology, including through the use of artificial intelligence and novel techniques. In particular, his research group are developing approaches to study the protein architecture in the brain and changes resulting from neurological disorders. Dr Diamandis is hoping that his group’s research will help to modernise pathology.
Dr Stephen MackDr Stephen Mack is an expert in paediatric brain tumours, including ependymoma and high grade glioma. He is an Associate Member in the Developmental Neurobiology Department at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr Mack’s lab is investigating the drivers of childhood brain tumours and in particular the role of fusion proteins in this process. Dr’ Mack’s research has a strong focus on translation, aiming to identify relevant drug targets in the lab that could lead to new targeted treatments.
Deborah’s daughter Ella was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma at the age of three and has suffered greatly at the hands of her treatment. Despite this she is a remarkable young girl and along with her siblings has been involved with The Charity for many years, attending a number of our Family Days. Following all the support the family received, Deborah wanted to give something back.
She is passionate about helping finding a cure for this dreadful disease but also improving the quality of life of those affected. Having been a member of the Research Involvement Network for a number of years, Deborah was honoured to be a part of our SABs to provide her expert-by-experience perspective to contribute to the funding of our research.
Christina works as a lawyer in London and has a young son who was diagnosed with a low grade brain tumour. She knows the difficulty of getting a correct and early diagnosis and is a proud supporter of our HeadSmart campaign. Christina was eager to be part of the SABs, representing patients’ views when considering funding for prospective research projects.
She wishes for her experience of diagnosis, treatment and long term effects of brain tumours to help inform future funding decisions, ensuring that they serve the best outcomes for families.
Louise was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011 and underwent surgery to remove the tumour. After receiving a high level of support from The Charity, she wanted to give something back whilst helping others who had been affected. She believes research is key in identifying the causes of brain tumours and discovering treatments that can improve the quality of life of patients.
Being a part of the SABs is important to Louise as it means helping to shape the direction of future research funding and to be able to give important input from a patient perspective.
Rachel’s husband Alex was diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma when he was 22, subsequently having a number of surgeries to remove the tumour. Unfortunately, Alex contracted ventriculitis and spent two months in neuro-ICU during which he had over 20 more operations including a craniotomy, consequently resulting in neurological deficit. Now at 31, Rachel and Alex are getting used to life together again with their beautiful 3 year old daughter.
Whilst it’s been a challenging few years for the family, Rachel wished to join the SABs to find a silver lining to their experience by contributing to future research in the hope that somewhere along the line, a cure for this devastating disease can be found.
John’s wife died aged 63 following a 15-month battle with inoperable glioblastoma. John wants to use the experience he accumulated during his wife’s treatment to develop the best possible care for others. John believes that helping others, in whatever form that takes, is the most rewarding personal experience one can have.
John has a track record of working in the voluntary sector and in social science research and, prior to retirement, he was Director of a Charity for 11 years.
Through membership of the SAB, he can apply his collected experience to help ensure that the views of those personally affected by a brain tumour are represented in funding decisions.
“I wanted to become a Young Ambassador because I think it is really important to help other people who are going through or have been through a similar situation. As it is not an easy experience, I would love to just be someone who listens and understands those who feel lost or as if they are alone in their situation.”
Dr Nick Foreman
Dr Nick Foreman is a leading paediatric neuro-oncologist and holds the position of Seebaum/Tschetter Chair of Paediatric Neuro-Oncology at Children’s Hospital Colorado. He has a key interest in the development of clinical protocols for children with difficult to treat brain tumours and his lab interests concentrate on the development of novel therapies with glial tumours.
Dr Foreman runs a lab working to develop new therapies for resistant brain tumours in children. They do small trials internally; then those are taken to the Paediatric Oncology Experimental Trials Consortium, which is comprised of eight institutions. They are looking at the role of micro-RNAs in brain tumours and how they regulate activity within the cell.
Dr Paola Scaffidi
Dr Paola Scaffidi is a senior Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London, where she leads the Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory. After completing her doctoral training in Milan, Italy, she moved to the US National Cancer Institute as postdoctoral fellow to study how altered nuclear architecture contributes to the ageing process and cancer development. In 2014, she established her laboratory at the CRUK London Research Institute, which then became part of the Francis Crick Institute.
Dr Scaffidi investigates how disruption of epigenetic control contributes to the establishment and maintenance of malignant phenotypes, with a particular focus on chromatin-based mechanisms that generate functional diversity within individual tumors. By dissecting how cancer cells hijack the epigenetic network, her research aims to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited for therapeutic purposes.
Professor Martin van den Bent
Prof Dr Martin J. van den Bent trained as a neurologist. In 1992, he joined the Neuro-Oncology Unit of Erasmus MC Cancer Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In 2007 he was appointed as Professor of Neuro-Oncology at Erasmus University. He has been the principle investigator of many international multicenter phase II and III trials on both high- and low- grade glial tumors that contributed to the standard of care of glioma patients. From 2003 to 2009 he was the chair of the EORTC Brain Tumor Group. Between 2018 and 2020 he was president of the European Association of NeuroOncology (EANO), and is currently the chair of the EANO guideline committee. Prof van den Bent served on several ASCO committees including a committee on guidelines for molecular diagnostics in glioma. He is a repeat recipient of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.
Dr Christian Dillon
Dr Dillon joined PhoreMost Ltd., a UK-based biopharmaceutical company, in June 2021 as Vice President of Biology and was subsequently promoted to Chief Scientific Officer at the end of 2021. Prior to this he served as Associate Director at Cancer Research UK’s Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories where he acted as programme director for a number of drug discovery alliances with pharmaceutical partners. As part of the senior leadership team at CRUK he oversaw the progression of its portfolio of small molecule and therapeutic antibody projects, three of which have recently progressed to clinical development. Additionally, Christian has led scientific negotiations with commercial partners resulting in several high value partnerships for CRUK.
Christian is a biologist by training with over 16 years of experience working at the interface between academia and industry. He has sat on a number of oncology target funding and review panels and is currently a member of Deep Science Ventures’ Scientific Advisory Board. Christian obtained his first degree in Biology from Imperial College, received his PhD from University College London, before pursuing postdoctoral research at the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology.
Professor David Ashley
Professor David Ashley’s career in cancer research dates more than two decades. He is credentialed in both paediatric and adult neuro-oncology practice and this has been the focus of his efforts in translational research and leadership. As evident from his publication and grant support record, his primary academic focus has been on neurologic tumours, the development of innovative therapies and approaches to care. These efforts have included basic and translational laboratory research. Prof Ashley’s experience includes moving laboratory findings in brain tumour immunology and epigenetics into early phase clinical trials. He has expertise in immuno-oncology, having developed and clinically tested dendritic cell vaccines and other immuno-therapeutics. His achievements in research have led to change in practice in the care of children and adults with brain tumours, including the introduction of new standards of practice for the delivery of systemic therapy.
Prof Ashley is highly regarded for this work, as evidenced by numerous invitations to plenary sessions and symposia of international standing. He has been the principal investigator of a number of important national and international studies, both clinical and pre-clinical. He is recognized as a senior figure and opinion leader in neuro-oncology nationally and internationally. He has held several significant leadership roles, including Director of two major cancer centres, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and Andrew Love Cancer Centre – Barwon Health. He has recently served as the Chair of Medicine at Deakin University and Barwon Health, the Program Director of Cancer Services at University Hospital Barwon Health, and Executive Director of the Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre (Australia). I began my current position as Director of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumour Centre, Head, Preuss Laboratory, in March 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the clinical care, research, and educational program related to Brain Tumour Centre. He is also a senior investigational neuro-oncologist within the adult brain tumour program at Duke.
Dr Floris Barthel
Floris Barthel, MD is an Assistant Professor at the Cancer and Cell Biology Division at the Translational Genomics Institute (TGen) and the Department of Computational and Quantitative Medicine (DCQM) at the Beckman Research Institute (BRI) at City of Hope (COH). He did his postdoc at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and later at the Jackson Laboratory in Farmington, Connecticut studying the molecular makeup of glial brain tumors. During these years, he published first-author papers in top-tier journals including Nature and Cell. In 2021 he transitioned into his current role at TGen, where his research program aims to dissect the role of telomere dysfunction in gliomagenesis using high-throughput sequencing and computational analysis. Supported by a K99/R00 transitional award from the National Cancer Institute he is funded to interrogate the strategies of telomere maintenance in cancer cells. He was recently awarded the Research Rising Star Award by The Brain Tumour Charity.
Dr Anat Stemmer-Rachamimov
Dr. Stemmer-Rachamimov has earned her MD in the University Statale di Milano, Italy; and has done her training in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology in Canada (Memorial University and University of Western Ontario) and the United States (Massachusetts General Hospital; Harvard University). She is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she practices Neuropathology and has a research lab. She is the co-director of the neruo oncology tumor repository in MGH and the director of the histology core of the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center (DFHCC) in MGH. Dr. Stemmer-Rachamimov’s has a longstanding interest, involvement and expertise in CNS tumour pathology, molecular biology and gene therapy. Her research interests are focused on brain tumors and hereditary brain tumor syndromes, specifically the neurofibromatoses (NF2, NF1 and schwannomatosis). Her research and clinical expertise include the histopathology and molecular changes of peripheral nerve sheath tumors and she participated in the formulation of clinical criteria for their diagnosis and grading. Dr. Stemmer-Rachamimov has worked extensively with animal modelers and is an expert in comparative pathology of brain tumours. She has over 180 publications; mostly in the brain tumours field.
Dr Susan Chang
Dr Susan Chang is a neuro-oncologist who specializes in treating adults with brain tumours and is a co-leader for the Neuro-Oncology Program for the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has a major research focus on the development of novel therapies for patients and has served as the PI on numerous clinical trials. She is a leader on multi-programmatic National Institutes of Health supported grants that address the integration of physiologic and metabolic imaging with tissue biomarkers to optimise the management of glioma patients. She is also the Director of the Glioblastoma Precision Medicine Program aimed at leveraging the molecular and cytogenetic characteristics of glioblastoma to develop new treatments. Dr Chang has created novel supportive care programs such as the Gordon Murray Neuro-Oncology Caregiver program and the Sheri Sobrato Brisson Brain Tumor Survivorship Program, both developed to enhance the care of patients and families.
Dr Annette Molinaro, PhD
Dr Annette Molinaro is a Professor of Neurological Surgery, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Dr Molinaro’s research interests and expertise are focussed on developing and implementing statistical and machine learning methods in cancer research; spanning basic research, translational, and clinical studies. In her current roles as the Director of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics for the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery and Biostatistics Core Director for both the Brain SPORE and Program Project, Dr Molinaro advises study design and modelling and analyses data from all UCSF Brain Tumor Center projects in imaging, genetics, genomics, epidemiology, and immunology. This may involve predicting clinical outcomes from enormous datasets like DNA sequencing arrays, or large-scale epidemiology studies. In addition, she is deeply involved in the design and analysis of both adult and paediatric clinical trials at UCSF. She has also designed and overseen the coordinated acquisition of all clinical, imaging, and genomic data in neurological surgery in the Brain Tumor Center Database.
Dr Jeffrey Wefel PhD, ABPP
Dr Jeffrey Wefel is a board-certified neuropsychologist, Associate Professor, and Neuropsychology Section Chief in the Department of Neurooncology. He maintains an active consultation-liaison service where he conducts comprehensive neuropsychological assessments, presurgical fMRI of higher-order cognitive function for neurosurgical planning, and offers interventions to adult cancer patients suffering from the central nervous system effects of cancer, cancer treatment, or other illnesses. He provides clinical and research mentoring as a Program Supervisor within the Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellowship program and holds an appointment as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology graduate program at the University of Houston where he is involved in the training of Neuropsychology graduate students.
Dr Wefel’s research activities seek to characterize the prevalence, pattern, course, risks, and biologic and neural substrates for the development of neurocognitive dysfunction associated with cancer and cancer therapies. Ultimately, this will lead to identification and testing of interventions to prevent and/or minimize cognitive dysfunction. He is the neurocognitive study chair on numerous cooperative group, industry sponsored and investigator initiated trials involving patients with breast cancer, brain tumour and brain metastasis, many of which integrate cognitive and neuroimaging outcomes as well as exploration of genetic moderators of cognitive and brain outcomes.
Professor Martin van den Bent, MD, PhD
Prof Dr Martin J. van den Bent trained as a neurologist. In 1992, he joined the Neuro-Oncology Unit of Erasmus MC Cancer Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In 2007 he was appointed as Professor of Neuro-Oncology at Erasmus University.
He has been the principle investigator of many international multicenter phase II and III trials on both high- and low- grade glial tumors that contributed to the standard of care of glioma patients. From 2003 to 2009 he was the chair of the EORTC Brain Tumor Group. Between 2018 and 2020 he was president of the European Association of NeuroOncology (EANO), and is currently the chair of the EANO guideline committee.
Prof van den Bent served on several ASCO committees including a committee on guidelines for molecular diagnostics in glioma. He is a repeat recipient of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.
Dr Mark Gilbert
Dr Mark Gilbert is a senior investigator and chief of the Neuro-Oncology Branch at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has recently been named Deputy Director of the Centre for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute. He is also the founder and former leader of the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN), a consortium studying ependymoma tumours by supporting basic research, clinical trials, patient outcomes research and educational efforts in North America and Europe. Additionally, he was recently named the Co-Chair of the Brain Tumour Committee in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG).
Dr Gilbert’s research interests centre on developing new treatment strategies for patients with malignant primary brain tumours. His focus has been in the area of clinical research, emphasizing both large, multi-institutional studies for malignant gliomas, as well as smaller clinical trials that are designed to advance therapies for less common cancer.
Dr Arzu Onar-ThomasDr. Onar-Thomas is a Full Member (Professor) at the Biostatistics Department of the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She leads the statistical support for Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program (NBTP) within the St Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also the contact-PI of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC) and the Executive Director of its Operations, Biostatistics and Data Management Core. Additionally, she serves as the Lead Statistician for the CNS Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group supporting CNS trials in design, operations, and analysis. Her statistical research focuses on clinical trial design with an emphasis on experimental therapeutics as well as rare diseases. She has extensive experience in collecting and analyzing outcome, toxicity and correlative study data generated in the context of clinical trials or compiled retrospectively. She has also collaborated on a large number of pre-clinical projects. Dr. Onar-Thomas is also on the Faculty of the St Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is an active member of various statistical and clinical trials organizations, a member of the NCI Brain Malignancy Steering Committee, and serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology .
Dr Jordan HansfordCI Jordan R. Hansford (BScH, MSc, MBBS, FRACP) I am a mid-career clinician specializing in the treatment of paediatric brain tumours. I have contributed to over 65 papers cited >4000 times in pediatric pre-clinical and clinical brain cancer research. In 2016 I was appointed the lead of our Neuro-Oncology group at the RCH Melbourne and remained in that role until taking my role in South Australia. I am a PI or co-PI on several national and international brain tumour studies including early phase studies. In 2018 I was named RCH Principal Investigator for the Children’s Oncology Group and lead of clinical research. In 2019, I was named Associate Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. In 2022 I was named Professor at University of Adelaide through the affiliate South Australian Immuno-genomics Cancer Institute, Team Leader, Program Leader – Paediatric Neuro-Oncology at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and clinical lead in Neuro-Oncology at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide and will lead the Proton Radiotherapy integration team. I have been awarded or co-awarded nearly $10M in funding for pre-clinical or clinical trials including but not limited to AIM-Brain PROject ($1.9m co-funded Cancer Australia and RCD Foundation), $500K LGG Avastin – Vinblastine clinical trial (Cancer Australia), $250K COZMOS Phase 1/1b study of Carboplatin and 5-Azacitadine in brain tumours (Australian Brain Cancer Mission funding) and $7m for PXCOG studying photon vs proton radiotherapy (NIH, USA). I am involved intimately with several national and international collaborations. I am an advisor for the Rare Brain Tumours Consortium based out of the Hospital for Sick Children Toronto. I am a director of ANZCHOG and am the chair of our Brain group. I sit on the Australian Brain Cancer Mission advisory board. Through our national and international clinical trials, I have led or contributed to many paediatric brain tumour trials leading to disease specific improvements to clinical care and outcomes including the translation of methylation profiling to the upfront diagnostics of paediatric brain tumours. This has led to changes in clinical practice across the country.
Dr Matthias KarajannisDr Matthias Karajannis is a Paediatric Neuro-Oncologist and Chief of Paediatric Neuro-Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering. After completing his paediatric residency training and a fellowship in paediatric haematology/oncology at Duke University Medical Centre, he pursued additional training in paediatric neuro-oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Centre. Alongside caring for patients at MSK, he also conducts research. His research translates clinical observations and findings from the laboratory to better ways to diagnose and treat children and young adults with brain tumours. Currently, he is the principal investigator of several early-phase clinical trials to find new treatments for neurofibromatosis (an inherited condition increasing the likelihood of nervous system tumours). He is also serving in leadership roles and as a study chair in multicentre clinical trial groups, such as the Children’s Oncology Group, the Paediatric Brain Tumour Consortium, and the Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium.
Dr Michael WellerDr. Michael Weller has been Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, since 2008. He qualified in medicine in Cologne, Germany, after completing his thesis on proliferative disorders of the retina. A postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Clinical Immunology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, followed where he identified death receptor targeting as a potential treatment strategy for glioblastoma. In 2005, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of General Neurology at the University Hospital Tübingen, Germany, where he had previously received his education in clinical neurology. Dr. Weller has received several awards in recognition of his contributions to cancer research, including the German Cancer Award in 2007 and the San Salvatore Foundation Award 2021. He served as Chairman of the Neuro-Oncology Group of the German Cancer Society from 2001-2008. He is the Chairman of the German Glioma Network of the German Cancer Council, joined the Executive Board of the European Association for Neuro-Oncology (EANO) in 2010 and served as President of EANO for 2014-2016. He was also the Chairman of the Brain Tumor Group of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) (2015-2021) and hosted the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology Societies (WFNOS) Meeting 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland. He serves as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2012-2014), Journal of Neurochemistry, Journal of Neuro-Oncology, Brain (2011-2020), Glia and Neuro-Oncology, and he was the Associate Editor Europe of Neuro-Oncology from 2006-2013. Dr. Weller was involved in major practice-changing clinical trials including the registration trial for temozolomide in glioblastoma and served as Principle Investigator on the NOA-03, NOA-04, NOA-08 and G-PCNSL-SG-1 trials in Germany and the DIRECTOR and ARTE trials in Switzerland. Dr. Weller has a research focus on the immunology of gliomas and served as the Principle Investigator of the phase III immunotherapy trial, ACT IV (Rindopepimut). He was a lead investigator in the three immune checkpoint inhibitor trials in glioblastoma, CheckMate 143, 498 and 548. Furthermore, his team has established a close collaboration with the Zurich-based company Philogen to develop novel immunotherapeutic agents referred to as immunocytokines that are now tested in early clinical trials.
Dr Jurgen LemiereDr Jurgen Lemiere is a Neuropsychologist at UZ Leuven. His journey started in oncology by completing a PhD in Psychology from KU Leuven and later went on to work as Neuropsychologist at UZ Leuven, where he is now works in the Department of paediatric oncology. Dr Lemiere is also an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine as well as being a member of KU Leuven’s child & youth, and cancer institutes. In the most recent study, he created a pioneering prototype for a ‘children’s pain and anxiety toolkit’ that incorporates multiple sensory elements, aiming to be innovative.
Dr Antony MichalskiDr Antony Michalski has been a paediatric consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) since 1993 where he leads a multi-disciplinary team committed to delivering the best outcomes and patient centred care. Until very recently Dr Michalski chaired the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia central nervous system subgroup, promoting research into childhood brain tumours through development of clinical trials. Dr Michalski has also published 34 papers in peer reviewed journals and has written book chapters and reviews. He holds national grants for research into childhood brain tumours.
Dr Paul BrennanDr Paul Brennan is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Neurosurgery and Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon and works out of both the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian. Dr Brennan is leading on projects we fund looking at the transition of low-grade tumours into high-grade tumours, as well as on a project awarded as part of our Adult Early Diagnosis initiative. “Our research aims to understand the reasons why some adult patients take longer than others to be diagnosed with a brain tumour. The team will propose simple guidelines that will help GPs better identify which patients have a brain tumour and hopefully lead to rapid referral to a specialist. This research could transform the lives of brain tumour patients.”
Professor Terri ArmstrongProfessor Terri Armstrong has taken up a post at the National Institute of Health in the USA. She will be continuing the work she did as a professor in the Department of Family Health at the University of Texas Health School of Nursing where she held the school’s prestigious Dunn Distinguished Professorship in Oncology Nursing. She also was concurrently an Advanced Practice Nurse in the Department of Neuro-Oncology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Professor Armstrong has worked in the field of neuro-oncology since 1992, with research focuses on symptom assessment and management and myelotoxicity. Professor Armstrong has has also held the position of vice president of the Society of Neuro-Oncology, an international multidisciplinary organisation for those involved in research and care of neuro-oncology patients.
Mr Michael JenkinsonMr Michael Jenkinson is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Neurosurgery at University of Liverpool, as well as a Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre. Mr Jenkinson specialises in surgery for brain tumours including awake craniotomy, intra-operative brain mapping, pineal and intraventricular tumours. Mr Jenkinson’s research interests include the quality of life and cognitive functioning in patients with incidental meningioma and those undergoing surgical resection and radiotherapy of intracranial meningioma as well a running an international meningioma trial (ROAM: radiation versus observation for atypical meningioma) funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). Mr Jenkinson is the chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) brain tumour clinical studies group, a founding member of the British-Irish Meningioma Society and sits on the Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS) academic committee.
Dr Rachel CoxDr Rachel Cox is a consultant paediatric oncologist based at University Hospitals Bristol. Her specialities include the late effects of childhood cancer treatment (Aftercare); treatment of all paediatric solid and brain tumours; supportive care of childhood cancer patients; Transition and management of chronic illness; Palliative care in cancer. Dr Cox is also a member of a number of professional organisations including the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group’s late effects sub group and the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE).
Professor Filomena MagginoProfessor Filomena Maggino is an Associate Professor of Social Statistics at Sapienza University of Rome. She serves as: Editor-in-Chief of Social Indicators Research journal, President and co-founder of the Italian Association for Quality-of-Life Studies (AIQUAV) and is a past-president of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS). She is a member of several international associations, including Eurostat’s Expert Group on Quality of Life and many editorial boards of scientific journals and scientific committees. Professor Maggino’s research interests include social indicators, statistics and political communication as well as quality of life, quality of society and well-being measurement and analysis.
Dr Diane PuccettiDr Diane Puccetti is a leading paediatric hematologist-oncologist in Madison, Wisconsin and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Meriter Hospital and University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. She received her medical degree from University of Toledo College of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Dr Puccetti is the Director of the Caring for Life clinic and leads the late effects clinical research programme at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. The goals of the clinic include detecting and treating problems related to being a childhood cancer survivor, facilitating transition of medical care to an adult care system and sharing ongoing research findings with childhood cancer survivors.
Professor Maggie WatsonProfessor Maggie Watson holds honorary appointments of Clinical Psychologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital, and a Professorship at University College London, UK. Professor Watson was a Research Fellow at Kings College Medical School, University of London specialising in psychosocial aspects of cancer and was appointed Consultant Clinical Psychologist in 1991 at the Royal Marsden Hospital. She was Head of the Royal Marsden Hospital’s Psychological Medicine Department for the period 2003 – 2010 and is author or editor of seven books and 190 publications. Professor Watson co-founded the British Psychosocial Oncology Society in 1982 and is a past president of the International Psycho-oncology Society. Her clinical research interests include psychological interventions including cognitive behavioural therapy as well as cancer and families.
Dr Linda DirvenDr Linda Dirven completed two Masters degrees, one in Human Movement Sciences at the VU University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2007), and one in Sports and Exercise Science at the London Metropolitan University in London, United Kingdom (2008). She received her PhD from the VU University Medical Center (2012) based on her thesis “Benefits and risks of targeted treatment in rheumatoid arthritis”. Between 2009 and 2014, she also obtained her registration as Epidemiologist B at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, the Netherlands. Dr Dirven currently works as an epidemiologist at the departments of Neurology and Radiation Oncology of the LUMC, with a focus on Neuro-oncology. The main focus of her research is on the evaluation of clinical outcomes in brain tumour patients, such as health-related quality of life, functioning in daily life, neurocognition, epilepsy, and end-of-life care, as well as on the development and validation of (patient-reported) instruments to measure these outcomes.
Professor Susan ShortProfessor Susan Short is Professor of Clinical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology Wellcome Trust. She has a specialist interest in treating adults with poor prognosis brain tumours as well as optimisation of radiotherapy for brain tumour patients. She trained at King’s College London and then worked at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals and The Royal Marsden Hospital, where she completed specialist training in Clinical Oncology in 2001. Her PhD in radiation biology was awarded in 1999 by University of London. Since then she has worked in clinical and translational neuro-oncology, as Senior Lecturer at University College London between 2007 and 2012 and since April 2012 as Professor of Clinical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology at the University of Leeds.
Dr Mark KieranDr Mark Kieran now works in the pharmaceutical sector, but was previously Director of Paediatric Medical Neuro-Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr Kieran’s research interests have two major areas of focus. The first in the identification of novel molecular targets in pediatric brain tumors, especially astrocytomas (low-grade, high-grade and DIPG) and personalized therapies to treat these tumors both more effectively and with less toxicity. The second area of research is to better understand the tumor microenvironment. Dr Kieran was instrumental in advising on our initiative to establish a Research and Innovation Centre for Paediatric Low Grade Brain Tumours.
Dr Nicholas ForemanDr Nick Foreman is a leading paediatric neuro-oncologist and holds the position of Seebaum/Tschetter Chair of Paediatric Neuro-Oncology at Children’s Hospital Colorado. He has a key interest in the development of clinical protocols for children with difficult to treat brain tumours and his lab interests concentrate on the development of novel therapies with glial tumours. Dr Foreman runs a lab working to develop new therapies for resistant brain tumours in children. They do small trials internally; then those are taken to the Paediatric Oncology Experimental Trials Consortium, which is comprised of eight institutions. They are looking at the role of micro-RNAs in brain tumours and how they regulate activity within the cell.
Professor Barry Pizer, MBChB, PhD, FRCPCHProfessor Barry Pizer is a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He is a prominent member of the national Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) and has sat on the Executive group of the CCLG. He has a particular interest in tumours of the central nervous system in children and young people, and is a member and has chaired the CCLG CNS Tumour Division. He was Chair of the CCLG Supportive Care Working Group and founded both the CCLG Mouth Care Group and Good Ideas Group. He previously chaired the International Society of Paediatric Oncology-Europe Brain Tumour Group and has led on a number of national and international clinical trials, particularly for medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumour in childhood. Professor Pizer is committed to helping to provide support for paediatric oncology in developing countries (PODC) and established the CCLG PODC Group. He has helped develop paediatric oncology units in Nepal, Cameroon and Bosnia.
Dr Uri TaboriDr Uri Tabori is an active physician in the treatment of children with cancer, focusing particularly on those with brain tumours at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada. Based on his clinical and research interests, he participates in the development of systems for early detection and intervention in individuals determined to be at high-risk of developing brain tumours. This includes patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 and 2, Li-Fraumeni syndrome and mismatch repair genes. The Tabori lab is focused on combining biological and translational research in paediatric oncology. Specifically, they are interested in studying mechanisms underlying brain tumour immortality and recurrence in the context of predisposition to cancer.
Dr Sam BlackmanDr Sam Blackman is a physician-scientist and paediatric haematologist-oncologist who focuses on the clinical development of new therapeutics for cancer. He is currently the Head of Clinical Development at Silverback Therapeutics and was previously the Senior Medical Director at Juno Therapeutics where he focused on the development of immunotherapy treatments for leukaemia. Previously, he was the Head of Translational Medicine at Seattle Genetics where he oversaw integration and planning for early clinical testing of new immunotherapy treatments. Dr Blackman’s research interests include oncology drug development, translational research in oncology, pharmacology and molecular biology.
Professor Richard GilbertsonProfessor Richard Gilbertson has been working in paediatric oncology as both a clinician and a researcher for almost 25 years, earning his MBBS and PhD degrees from Newcastle University in 1992 and 1998. In 2000, he moved to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA where he served as the Co-Leader of the Neurobiology and Brain Tumour Program and founding Director of the Molecular Clinical Trials Core, before being appointed as the Comprehensive Cancer Centre Director, Executive Vice President, and Lillian R. Cannon Endowed Chair in 2011. In 2014, he was appointed as the Scientific Director of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Professor Gilbertson now sits as the Li Ka-shing Chair of Oncology, Head of Dept. of Oncology and Director of the Cambridge Cancer Centre at Cambridge University. His research has helped to identify that there are different sub-types of medulloblastoma and ependymoma – two of the most common kind of childhood brain tumour. This has been translated into numerous diagnostic tests and innovative clinical trials for children with cancer.
Dr Paul Northcott, PhDDr Paul Northcott is a leading paediatric cancer genome scientist, currently holding a post as Principal Investigator in the Department of Developmental Neurobiology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Northcott lab is interested in solving the molecular and cellular origins of the childhood brain tumour medulloblastoma. Coupling cutting-edge next-generation sequencing and integrative computational approaches with in vivo functional studies, they aim to comprehensively understand the genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptional landscapes underlying medulloblastoma heterogeneity and developmental biology.
Professor Duane MitchellProfessor Duane Mitchell is Co-Director of the Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy and Director of the University of Florida Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program. He leads a comprehensive immunotherapy brain tumor program that is focused on translational research. Professor Mitchell’s research interests include expanding upon personalized cancer treatment approaches and offer unique clinical options at University of Florida for adult and children diagnosed with high-grade brain tumours.
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