Invited Speakers

Invited Speakers


Bruno Silva Santos

Bruno Silva-Santos is a Principal Investigator and Vice-Director of Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM), and Associate Professor (with Habilitation) of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, Portugal. He did his PhD (1998-2002) with Dr. Mike Owen at The London Research Institute (CRUK), and trained as a post-doc (2002-2005) with Prof. Adrian Hayday at King’s College London. He returned to Portugal in 2006 to establish a molecular immunology laboratory at IMM. His research is dedicated to T lymphocytes and their key roles in immunity to infection and cancer. His projects range from the development of these cells in the thymus, to their functions upon infection or tumour challenge. He has made major contributions to the understanding of gamma-delta T cell differentiation (see Silva-Santos et al. Science 2005; Ribot et al. Nature Immunol 2009; Schmolka et al. Nature Immunol 2013) and response to tumours (Correia et al. Blood 2011; Rei et al. PNAS 2014; Silva-Santos et al. Nature Rev Immunol 2015). The European Research Council (ERC) awarded him a Starting Grant in 2010 and a Consolidator Grant in 2015. He was also selected to the EMBO Young Investigator Programme (in 2011) and nominated to the European Academy of Tumour Immunology (in 2012). He serves as editor for four peer-reviewed journals and heads the Scientific Council of Lymphact SA, a biotech company focused on cancer immunotherapy.


Jolanda M. de Vries

Jolanda de Vries (PhD) is a Professor at the Department of Tumor Immunology at the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences. She was one of the pioneers to translate dendritic cell biology into potential clinical applications. The first clinical phase I/II studies in which patients were vaccinated with DCs loaded with tumor-specific peptides were initiated in 1997. She also developed a novel immuno-monitoring assay that is highly predictive for extended survival after vaccination with DCs (J Clin Oncology 2005). Her primary scientific interest continues along the line of DC-immunotherapy and in particular the migration and imaging of DC. For example, in-vivo imaging of ex-vivo labeled cells using MRI (Nature Biotechnology 2005). New opportunities for other cell-types (e.g. subsets of DCs) and combination therapies are now being developed.


Frederick Arce Vargas

I trained as a surgical oncologist in the Universidad de Costa Rica. I then joined Mary Collins group in University College of London where I worked on genetic modification of dendritic cells for tumour immunotherapy and obtained a PhD in 2010. Since 2011, I have been working with Sergio Quezada and Karl Peggs in the Cancer Immunotherapy group in the UCL Cancer Institute. The main interest in our group is to understand how the regulation of the immune response to cancer and what are the mechanisms that explain the response or resistance to tumour immunotherapy. Therefore, we have been characterising the immune landscape in murine tumour models and in human cancers in order to design and understand the mechanisms of action of different forms of tumour immunotherapies. My particular interest focuses on engineering of antibodies targeting clinically relevant and novel immunomodulatory molecules.


Jeffrey Weber

Dr. Weber earned his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from Rockefeller University, and received his M.D. from New York University. He completed his internship and residency in Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and his fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. Currently, Dr. Weber is senior faculty of NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center as Deputy Director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center and Co-Director of its melanoma program, and oversees its work in experimental therapeutics. Most recently, Dr. Weber was Director of the Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center at Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. His past experience includes clinical, research and teaching positions at the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Southern California where he was Chief of Medical Oncology and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. A specialist in cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Weber is principal investigator (PI) on several ongoing studies funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), including trials in clinical drug development, vaccines, and studies on autoimmunity and melanoma. He has been continuously NCI R01 funded for the last 16 years, and was the Principal Investigator and Director of the Moffitt Skin Cancer SPORE (P50) NCI grant. Dr. Weber has published more than 100 articles in the top peer-reviewed journals in his field. Dr. Weber currently sits on the scientific advisory boards of cancer-related biotechnology companies, numerous cancer institutions and foundations. Dr. Weber’s research interests are in the field of immunotherapy for cancer. As a translational clinical investigator, Dr. Weber has performed a variety of vaccine trials, protocols involving adoptive cell therapy, and novel immunotherapy trials in melanoma patients. Clinically, he has held 10 investigator-initiated IND over the last decade, and has pursued cutting edge trials. He has been a pioneer in the clinical advancement of antibodies that induce autoimmunity as a surrogate for clinical benefit in cancer, and the management of the autoimmune side effects.


Rolf Lewensohn

Rolf Lewensohn has a scientific background in DNA repair apoptotic signalling in cancer as related to cancer therapy. His research focuses on the sensitivity of human tumours to radiation, as well as conventional and experimental chemotherapeutic drugs, with regard to the role of growth factor, DNA repair, and apoptotic signalling. He and his group aim to develop new oncological treatments in the form of novel drug candidates and precision radiotherapy, with a personalized cancer medicine approach. The general interest of the research group is the development of novel treatments (both drugs and radiotherapy), mainly focused on lung cancer and furthermore breast, renal, and cervical cancer, multiple myeloma, and acute myeloid leukemia. From all types of malignancies, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. In parallel, the group runs clinical trials on lung cancer at the Karolinska university hospital, in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners. Furthermore, the group has a leading role in the EurocanPlatform, an EU-funded project to bring together 28 European cancer institutions and organizations, with the aim to improve outcomes for cancer patients and reduce mortality. Within the Karolinska Institute, and Karolinska university hospital, Rolf Lewensohn is the primary initiator of the development of a personalized cancer medicine program. The ultimate goal of this program is to individualize therapy at all stages of disease by quickly and efficiently translating the latest scientific advances into concrete improvements of the care for cancer patients.


Marie Dutreix

Marie Dutreix is a Biologist (Ph.D.), director of research at the Centre for National Research in Science (CNRS) and the co-founder of the biopharmaceutical company “DNA Therapeutics” ( She is an expert in DNA repair & genetic instability, cancer biology and radiobiology. She spent three years in the Department of Human Genetics at the Yale University (CT, USA) working on genetics and biochemistry of DNA Recombination in the laboratory of Prof. Charles Radding. Upon her return to France she joined the Research Department of Institut Curie where she continued her research on the genetic instability mechanisms in Yeast and mammalian cells. She leads the group “Recombination, Repair and Cancer” in the research unit of “Normal and pathological Signaling: from the Embryo to the innovative Therapy of Cancers” located at the Orsay campus of the Institut Curie. She leads the medical and scientific program of “radio-oncology” of the Institut Curie. She develops new strategies to treat tumours resistant to conventional treatments. She discovered a new strategy (siDNA) to inhibit DNA repair in vivo ( She is president of the «Société Française du Cancer». She received the National special prize of «création d’entreprise de technologies innovantes» (2005), prize of the University Paris Sud XI of valorisation of research (2005), prize “tremplin” for biotechnology innovation of the Senate (2006), and an award from the “Ligue contre le Cancer” (2010). She was awarded in 2013 “Chevalier de l’ordre National du Mérite”.


Wytske M. van Weerden

Dr. Wytske M. van Weerden is a senior scientist in biology and staff member of the department of Urology. She received her PhD in 1992 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam after which she continued her research on prostate cancer. She has centered her preclinical research group around the unique panel of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) models for prostate cancer, which she extended to also include castration and chemotherapy-resistant models. Her group is dedicated to the following research interests: prostate cancer modeling, with special attention to the development of novel clinically relevant PDX models of resistance to contemporary therapies, modeling of (bone)metastasis, ex vivo tissue slices and 3D co-cultivation models; resistance mechanisms of hormone - and chemoresistant CRPC, with special focus on androgen receptor and PI3K-targeted therapies, steroidogenic bypass mechanisms as well as drug transporters; and finally, multimodality prostate-targeted molecular imaging using prostate specific nanobodies. Furthermore, her group is actively involved in evaluating novel (targeted) therapies and testing of novel compounds, the latter in close collaboration with the pharmaceutic industry. Her group includes postdocs and PhD students supported by several technicians and biotechnicians. She is a mentor of several master students. The research group collaborates nationally (CTMM-PCMM, the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF)-Alpe D’HuZes and several Dutch pharmaceutic companies) and internationally in projects funded by the EU (Framework -7 GIANT, IMI-PREDECT), global foundations like Movember, and several international pharmaceutic companies. Her research work has been presented at both translational and basic science research meetings worldwide, and published in peer-reviewed journals.


Tiffany A. Traina

Dr. Traina is a member of the Breast Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, and Assistant Professor for the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City. She received her doctor of medicine from Weill Cornell Medical College, completing her Internal Medicine training at The New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell University campus and her Medical Oncology and Hematology training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her primary research interests focus on the development of improved therapies for patients with breast cancer with a particular focus on triple negative breast cancer, the androgen receptor and the use of mathematical modeling to optimize drug delivery schedules. Dr. Traina has published widely in journals such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, and Cancer. Her work has been presented at the annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and ESMO. She serves on the ASCO Scientific Program Committee for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer/Cytotoxics/Local Therapy track and is a member of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium Triple Negative Breast Cancer Working Group. She has been recognized for her academic, patient care and community service efforts including the Hally Yaccino Steiner Award from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Teacher Appreciation awards from MSKCC and Weill Cornell Medical College, the 2014 Hero Award from the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation and the Outstanding Service Award from the Junior League.


Gunther Boysen

Gunther holds the title of Doctor of Science (Dr. Sc. ETH Zurich) from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Currently he is a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, UK. He joined the team of Professor Johann de Bono in April 2014 after moving from Professor Mark Rubin’s group at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. His research focuses on understanding the impact of genetic alterations on tumor progression and their role as potential drug targets. Gunther’s recent work unraveled the mechanism leading to genomic instability in a subset of prostate cancer – potentially targetable with DNA damaging drugs. In addition, Gunther is leading efforts to develop better models for castration resistant prostate cancer, which include the organoid technology, genomic-engineering by CRISPR/CAS9 and patient derived xenograft mouse models. His research has been awarded with the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Young Investigator Award (2007), Department of Medicine Grant for Innovative Research (2013), Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship (2014) and the ICR Dean’s award (2015).


Joan Seoane

In 1998, Joan Seoane obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Barcelona. Previously, in 1993, he had obtained his BSc degree in Chemistry, branch of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Joan joined the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York as a post-doctoral fellow in 1998. From 1998 to 2001, he worked as a Research Fellow at this institution and subsequently, from 2001 to 2003, as a Research Associate. He was appointed ICREA Research Professor in 2004 and established his own Group back in Barcelona at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). In 2007, he became a member of the Young Investigator EMBO program and the recipient of a European Research Council grant. In 2008, he became Board member of the European Association of Cancer Research (EACR). Since 2011, Joan is the Director of the Translational Research program at VHIO within the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital. He is the recipient of several awards such as the MSKCC research fellow award, the Banc Sabadell biomedical award, the Josef Steiner award and the Drs. Diz-Pintado award. Research Interests: Dr. Seoane's main objective is to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of cancer, including the concept of intratumor heterogeneity. Specifically, his research is focused on the study of brain tumors. The understanding of the molecular mechanisms that govern brain tumors is required in order to design rational, specific and successful therapeutic approaches.


Alberto Cambrosio

Professor, at McGill University since 1990. Professor Cambrosio's area of expertise lies at the crossroads of medical sociology and the sociology of science and technology. His work focuses on the “material culture” of biomedical practices, and in particular on the study of the application of modern biological techniques to the diagnosis and the therapy of cancer, the comparative (North-America - Europe) development of cancer clinical trials, and the role of visual imagery in the development of immunology. He is especially concerned, in how biomedicine has come to grips with the multiple and ubiquitous cultural, social and practical differences and variations with which it is increasingly confronted. More in particular, he is interested in the creation of institutions and instruments to manage these differences and generate consensus, however partial or temporary in nature, and thus with the social and historical dynamics of biomedical regulation, objectification and standardization. Professor Cambrosio’s most recent project (supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds Québécois de Recherchesur la Société et la Culture and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) examines ‘genomics in action’, i.e., as applied to concrete instances of medical work, by investigating public, academic and commercial programs that capitalize on the therapeutic insights offered by the new molecular genetics of cancer. Research Areas: Cancer Clinical Trials; Laboratory-Clinical Interactions; Material Culture and Regulation of Biomedicine; Network Analysis of Biomedical Research; Visualization and Scientific Imagery; Science & Technology Studies; Sociology of Biomedicine.


Luis Paz Ares

Dr Paz-Ares is currently Associate Professor of Medicine (Complutense University), Chair of the Oncology Department at the Hospital Universitario Doce de Octubre, and Head of the Lung Cancer Unit at the CNIO (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas), Madrid Spain. He obtained his medical degree in 1986 from the Universidad Autonoma, where he also completed his studies for a PhD in Oncology in 1993. In 1995 he obtained his MSc in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Glasgow, UK, and in 2003 he was awarded a Master degree in Clinical Units Management from the Universidad UNED, Madrid. Dr Paz-Ares originally trained in Medical Oncology and in 1993 he took up a post as a European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Fellow in New Drug Development at the CRC Department of Medical Oncology in Glasgow. In 1995 he moved to the Doce de Octubre University Hospital, Madrid and was Head of the Lung and GU Tumours and Drug Development Units. He moved to Seville in 2007 to chair the Medical Oncology Department at the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital until December 2014 when he took his current position. His main research interests include the testing and development of novel therapies, and lung cancer. He is the author of more than 180 papers in peer-reviewed journals, as well as many book chapters. He is an active member of various scientific societies (including ASCO, ESMO, IASLC and other) and collaborative groups (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC], the Spanish Lung Cancer Group and the International Germ Cell Cancer Collaborative Group).


Richard Marais

Richard obtained his BSc in Genetics and Microbiology from the University College London in 1985, after which he undertook his PhD in Comparative Studies on Protein Kinase C Isotypes at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London, which he completed in 1989. He then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, until 1993. Richard then moved to The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London as an Independent Postdoctoral Research Fellow. It was at the ICR where Richard spent the next 19 years of his career focusing on cell signalling in melanoma, developing a particular interest in the role of oncogenic BRAF. During his time at the ICR, Richard progressed to Team Leader of the Signal Transduction Team in 1998, then to Professor of Molecular Oncology in 2007, to Deputy Chair, Section of Cell and Molecular Biology, in 2008, and finally to the Division Head, Division of Cancer Biology, in 2011. Throughout his career, Richard has received numerous accolades for his contributions to cancer research. In 2007, he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2009, he was elected Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences and became an EMBO member. In 2011, he received the Society for Melanoma Research Estella Medrano Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to melanoma research. Richard became Director of the CRUK Manchester Institute in February 2012 where he also continues to head his Molecular Oncology Group. In 2015, Richard was elected to the Academia Europaea.