Scientific Program Committee

Jennifer Quizi

Chair:

Jennifer Quizi, PhD

Director, Scientific Affairs, BioCanRx

Most recently, Jennifer was the Senior Clinical Research Program Manager for the laboratory of Dr. John Bell at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. In this role she was key in driving translational research initiatives. Previously Jennifer worked in industry as a Clinical Research Scientist for a pre-clinical SME in the cancer space. She was also Operations Manager at the Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre. Jennifer holds a PhD in cellular and molecular medicine from the University of Ottawa.


John Bell

Chair:

John Bell, PhD

Scientific Director, BioCanRx

Dr. Bell is a world-renowned thought leader in oncolytic virus research and development. In addition to his many academic contributions to the field, Dr. Bell established a GMP manufacturing program that has produced clinical grade oncolytic viruses for worldwide use in phase I and II clinical trials. Dr. Bell co-founded and was the Chief Scientific Officer of Jennerex Biotherapeutics, which was acquired by SillaJen. Dr. Bell also co-founded Turnstone LP, an enterprise linking four Canadian research institutes to drive the clinical and commercial development of a proprietary next-generation oncolytic vaccine platform.


Alex Chambers

Alex Chambers

Director, pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR)

Before joining CADTH's pCODR in 2014, Ms. Chambers was a Clinical Epidemiologist with Health Quality Ontario and the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC). Ms. Chambers holds a Masters degree from McMaster University, and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree from the University of Waterloo.


Brad Nelson

Brad Nelson, PhD

Scientist and Director, Deeley Research Centre, BCCA

Dr. Nelson is a native of Vancouver BC. He received his B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. He completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Phil Greenberg and held faculty positions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington in Seattle. In 2003, he became the founding Director of BC Cancer's Deeley Research Centre in Victoria BC. He is a Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and a Professor of Biochemistry/Microbiology at the University of Victoria. Dr. Nelson's lab uses genomic and molecular approaches to study the immune response to cancer, with an emphasis on ovarian cancer. As Co-Director of BC Cancer's Immunotherapy Program, he is leading a phase I clinical trials program focused on adoptive T cell therapy for gynecological cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, and other malignancies.


Ismael Samudio

Ismael Samudio, PhD

Senior Director of R&D, Virogin Biotech Ltd

Ismael Samudio obtained his Ph.D. in genetics from Texas A&M University (2002) and received postdoctoral training in pharmacology and toxicology at the Institute of Biotechnology in Houston. Ismael then worked as a scientist in the Section of Molecular Hematology at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he led and supported various preclinical and clinical studieson the antileukemic and antitumor effects of various targeted agents, including the recently approved BH3 inhibitor Venetoclax. In 2015, after receiving additional training in immunotherapy at the BC cancer agency in Vancouver,Ismael was recruited to the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to lead an immunotherapy initiative and eventually became Director of Biologics for CDRD. Ismael's Biologics team developed several novel anti-tumor biotherapeutics, including CAR-T, antibody drug-conjugates (ADC), and functional antibodies. In 2019, Ismael assumed the role of Senior Director of R&D for Viroginwhere he is responsible for overseeing the development of anoncolytic virus pipeline and supporting the clinical translation of the lead program VG-161.


Jeanette Boudreau

Jeanette Boudreau, PhD

Assistant Professor Department of Microbiology & Immunology, and the Department of Pathology at Dalhousie University

Dr. Boudreau is Assistant Professor Boudreau Department of Microbiology & Immunology,and the Department of Pathology at Dalhousie University. Her team investigates how human natural killer cell immunogenetics program immune responsiveness to cancer and infectious diseases. They use bioinformatics, humanized in vivomodels, cell-signal analysis, and highly-parametric flow cytometry to understand how genetic variation creates diversity in human immune potentials. Her interdisciplinary and collaborative work aims to translate research findings into precision therapies. Dr. Boudreau received her PhD from McMaster University and underwent Postdoctoral Training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


Marcus Butler

Co-Leader, Immuno-oncology Translational Research Initiative
Medical Oncology Disease Site Lead for Melanoma/Skin Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
Associate Member, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto


Natasha Kekre

Natasha Kekre, PhD

Associate Scientist & Assistant Professor, The Ottawa Hospital

Dr. Natasha Kekrehas been appointed to the Department of Medicine in the Division of Hematology, within the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at The Ottawa Hospital, effective October 2015. She is also an associate scientist within the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. She completed her Bachelor's in Science at theUniversity of Windsor then obtained her medical degree from the University of Ottawa. She then trained at the University of Ottawa in Internal Medicine and Hematology. She went on to do a fellowship in stem cell transplantation at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA with a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University. Her research is focused on developing early phase clinical trials and moving home grown therapeutic strategies into patients. She collaborates with a number of local investigators and scientists in Ottawa, studying hematologic malignancies and blood and marrow transplant recipients more specifically. Her laboratory research focuses on oncolytic virus infected cell vaccine therapy in leukemia. She is also collaborating with scientists and physicians across Canada to build a Canadian CAR-T cell platform (chimeric antigen receptor T cells are immune cells engineered to kill cancer cells), bringing this exciting new therapy to Canadian patients. Her other clinical research interests include improving transplant related outcomes and projects with an epidemiologic focus, including but not limited to decision modeling and meta-analyses.


Nicole Mittmann, M.Sc., PhD

Chief Scientist and Vice-President of Evidence Standards, CADTH Tommy Alain, PhD Scientist, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute


Tommy Alain

Tommy Alain, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and Principal Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

Tommy Alain is a Scientist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (CHEO RI), and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. His training is in virology, innate immune responses, cell biology, and oncology. Dr. Alain received his B.Sc. (2000) in Biochemistry from University Laval in Quebec City, Canada, and his Ph.D. (2007) in Medical Science from the University of Calgary, Canada. During his Ph.D. research, Dr. Alain studied the virology and the oncolytic potencies of reovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus, herpes simplex virus and myxoma virus against brain cancers. From 2007 to 2013 he pursued post-doctoral work at McGill University studying mRNA translational control and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, linking both viral immunity and oncology research. His current research in Ottawa focuses on exploiting translation initiation factors and downstream effectors of mTOR complex 1 to modulate innate immune responses to oncolytic viruses, and to augment the anti-proliferative efficacies of cancer therapeutics. Dr. Alain is also a member of the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, a group of scientists from across Canada that seeks to understand, improve, and develop oncolytic viral immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.