Dr Tony Penna, MBBS Office for Health and Medical Research, Ministry of Health, Sydney
Executive Director of the Office of Health and Medical Research
Dr Penna began his career as a paediatrician. He was always mathematically inclined and clinical pharmacology which included pharmacokinetics and systems thinking allowed him to work with mathematical and statistical models. He also enjoyed research and seeking solutions to problems. While doing his fellowship in clinical pharmacology at Westmead he had a taste of medical administration and realised then that he had an aptitude for management and found assisting medical staff navigate management rewarding so when an opportunity arose he embarked on this new path. In 2012 he was invited to be the Executive Director in the newly established Office for Health and Medical Research.
Professor Shyamala Maheswaran, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard University, Boston, USA
Scientific Director for the Center for Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Innovation at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Professor Shyamala Maheswaran received her PhD at Boston University, followed by postdoctoral research at MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) and is a full professor at the Harvard Medical School and serves as the Scientific Director for the Center for Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Innovation at the MGH Cancer Center. She is also one of the co-founders of TellBio Inc. a startup biotech company developing CTC-based diagnostics and therapeutics. Professor Maheswaran is a world-renowned expert in defining how cellular plasticity contributes to cancer heterogeneity, metastasis, and therapeutic responses. She has published several high-profile papers on these topics and has received multiple awards for her work including the MGH Clinical Research Team Award (2008), AACR Team Science Award (2010), MGH Martin Prize for Basic Research (2015), Douglass Family Foundation Prize for Excellence in Oncology Research (2016) and the Outstanding Scientist Award from the American Association of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research (AAISCR) (2018).
Associate Professor Jeanne Tie, MBChB, FRACP, MD Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
Lower gastrointestinal medical oncology and trials lead at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Associate Professor Jeanne Tie is the lower gastrointestinal medical oncology and trials lead at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and senior research fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Her translational research focusses on personalising treatment for patients with colorectal cancer with prognostic and predictive biomarkers, in particular the clinical applications of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA). She leads several ctDNA-based randomized clinical trials in colorectal cancer which aim to assess the clinical utility of ctDNA as a minimal residual disease marker to guide adjuvant treatment decision. She has published extensively in the field of colorectal cancer and serves or has served on the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG) Scientific Advisory Committee and Lower GI working party (Deputy Chair), Cancer Adjudication Committee for the ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) International study, ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) Gastro-Intestinal Tumours Faculty and ESMO Asia Congress Gastrointestinal Track Co-Chair.
Professor Matt Trau, PhD University of Queensland, Brisbane
Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Centre for Personalised Nanomedicine at the University of Queensland
Matt Trau is a 2022 ARC Australian Laureate Fellow. He is a Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Centre for Personalised Nanomedicine at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He is also senior group leader and co-founder of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN). His research is dedicated towards developing innovative nano-diagnostics to help transform the healthcare system towards early detection and personalized treatment of disease. This approach aims to dramatically extend high quality human life through a combination of innovative diagnostic technology, molecular-guided therapies and preventative measures. Since graduating from the University of Sydney (BSc Hons I, University Medal) and the University of Melbourne (PhD in Physical Chemistry), he has held positions within industry and academia across the globe. These include a Fulbright Research Fellowship at Princeton University, USA, a research scientist at Dow Chemical and ICI Pty Ltd. Matt has also been a Visiting Professor at two of the largest Cancer Research Centres in the world: The Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle. Matt is internationally recognised for his innovative and cross-disciplinary research at the interface between chemistry, nanotechnology, biology and medicine. He has co-authored more than 250 publications, many of which appear in the highest impact journals in his field, e.g., thirteen Science and Nature family journal publications overall to date. His major awards and honours include an ARC Federation Fellowship, a Fulbright Research Fellowship to the US, a “Young Tall Poppy” Award for Queensland, a UQ Foundation/Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award, a Paul Harris Fellowship, and a Pink Circle Award for breast cancer research excellence. In Dec 2018, Matt’s laboratory published a paper in the journal Nature Communications describing a universal DNA nano-signature for cancer. This discovery and related detection technology has been dubbed the “10 minute cancer test”. It has subsequently received broad media interest globally and has been selected by CNN and the journal BioScope as one of the “Top scientific advances” for 2018
Associate Professor Anders Skanderup, PhD Genomics Institute of Singapore, Singapore
Group leader and theme lead in CaLiBRe Singapore’s national liquid biopsy program at the Genomics Institute of Singapore
Associate Professor Anders Skanderup is a Group Leader at the Genome Institute of Singapore. His group is interested in computational and data-intensive approaches to decipher the molecular basis of cancer and improve treatments. Recently, his group has contributed new computational methods for calling cancer mutations, discovery of non-coding cancer driver mutations, as well as ctDNA detection and quantification. He is also a theme lead in Singapore’s national liquid biopsy program, CaLiBRe and leads a team working on data analytics for next-generation sequencing of circulating tumor DNA. Associate Professor Skanderup has published >80 research papers with an h-index of 49. He also holds adjunct positions at Department of Computer Science at National University of Singapore, Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, as well as National Cancer Center Singapore. He obtained a B.S. in Computer Science, followed by a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics, from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He did postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, developing and applying computational methods to study cancer from high-dimensional cancer genomic datasets.
Invited National Speakers
Professor Andrew Spencer. Alfred Hospital & Monash University, Melbourne
Dr Boris Wong. The University of Melbourne, Melbourne
Associate Professor Elin Gray. Edith Cowan University, Perth
Dr Barbara Fougere, Cancer survivor and patient advocate, Sydney
Dr Dineika Chandrananda, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
Associate Professor Mark Cowley, Children's Cancer Institute, Sydney
Dr Ying Zhu, University of Technology, Sydney
Dr Jordan Jones, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne
Ms Tanzila Khan, Western Sydney University/Ingham Institute, Sydney
Dr Lavinia Tan, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
Prof Rik Thompson, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
Prof Nehmat Houssami, The University of Sydney, Sydney
Industry Sponsored Speakers
Dr. Siew-Kee (Amanda) Low, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tokyo (Thermo Fisher)
Dr Dannel Yeo, Centenary Institute, Sydney (RareCyte)
Dr Tommy Lo, Digital Biology Group, Hong Kong (Bio-Rad)