Below is the list of confirmed national invited speakers for NDLR 2021.
To view international speakers click here.
Prof Susan Branford (SA)
Professor Susan Branford is a Section Leader at the Centre for Cancer Biology and Head of the Leukaemia Laboratory in the Department of Genetics and Molecular Pathology at SA Pathology. Her research is focused on understanding the factors that predict for response to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy and the mechanisms of drug resistance for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia. Dr Branford leads the International Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Genomics Alliance. Among their aims is to establish a genomically based risk classification system. Dr Branford has received a number of international prizes for her research, including the 2021 International Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Foundation Rowley Prize for significant contribution to the understanding of the biology of chronic myeloid leukaemia.
Dr Claudia Bruedigam (QLD)
Dr Claudia Bruedigam graduated in Biochemistry from University of Potsdam, Germany, and subsequently undertook training as Marie Curie early-stage researcher within the European Research Training network “NucSys” with a focus on nuclear receptor systems biology in aging-related diseases. Claudia obtained her PhD in Molecular Medicine from Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 2015, and is currently developing her research program, funded by an NHMRC New Investigator project grant, in the Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Leukaemia Research Laboratory, headed by A/Prof Steven Lane, at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia. Her current research focuses on the development of a comprehensive, representative AML PDX resource in conjunction with biomarker discovery, pre-clinical testing and optimisation of novel therapeutic agents, with a strong focus on the first-in-class telomerase inhibitor imetelstat.
A/Prof Emily Blyth (NSW)
A/Prof Blyth is a bone marrow transplant physician and haematologist at the Westmead Hospital Department of Haematology, Deputy Director of the Sydney Cellular Therapies Laboratory at Westmead, an NHMRC Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research at the University of Sydney.
Dr Catherine Carmichael (VIC)
Dr Catherine Carmichael is a group leader at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases within Monash University’s Central Clinical School in Melbourne. She completed her PhD and initial postdoctoral training at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute between 2004-2013, before moving to the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases in 2014. Her research focuses on gaining an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive malignant transformation of the myeloid lineage; with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic strategies for the poorest outcome subtypes of AML.
Prof Sarah-Jane Dawson (VIC)
Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson is a clinician-scientist. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Melbourne in 1998, and trained as a medical oncologist in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. Following postdoctoral studies at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, she returned to Melbourne in 2014 to head the Molecular Biomarkers and Translational Genomics Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She also holds a joint appointment with the Centre of Cancer Research at The University of Melbourne (since 2016) and currently holds a CSL Centenary Fellowship (2018-2022). She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and was recipient of the Jian Zhou Medal in recognition of translational medical science in 2020. Her current research interests are focused on the development of noninvasive blood-based biomarkers (‘liquid biopsies’) for clinical application, including early detection, risk stratification and disease monitoring in cancer management.
Dr Lev Kats (VIC)
Dr Lev Kats is a group leader within the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Program at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He was awarded his PhD in 2009 from Monash University and completed his post-doctoral training at Beth Israel Deaconess Centre/Harvard Medical School. Dr Kats is interested in epigenetic regulation of haematopoiesis and leukaemia and his laboratory uses mouse models to understand how specific genes contribute to leukaemia initiation and maintenance.
Dr Colm Keane (QLD)
Colm is a haematologist and researcher at Mater Research, University of Queensland and the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. He obtained his PhD from Griffith University in Lymphoma Biology in 2015, completed an MBA also at Griffith University in 2012 and an MSc. in Haemato-pathology from the University of York in the same year. His research interests relate to how the immune system responds to lymphoma. This is with a particular focus on the commonest aggressive lymphoma DLBCL and rarer forms of DLBCL like those occurring solely in the brain or in the setting of immunosuppression. His work has been published in Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Haematology and Clinical Cancer Research. He is a current NHMRC ECF holder.
Prof Richard Lock (NSW)
Richard Lock is Head of the Leukaemia Biology Group, Head of the Blood Cancers Theme, and a Conjoint Professor at Children’s Cancer Institute, UNSW Sydney. He was awarded his PhD from the University of London in 1987 for research carried out at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, then carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Florida and the University of Louisville, USA. The principal focus of his research is in the development and utilisation of orthotopic patient-derived xenograft models of paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and acute myelogenous leukaemia to study their biology and treatment. In 2005 he was the only Principal Investigator outside of the USA invited to participate in the National Cancer Institute-funded Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium, which has received continuous NCI funding for 21 years. He has published over 185 articles in peer-reviewed journals, is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2018.
A/Prof Hang Quach (VIC)
Associate Professor Hang Quach, of the University of Melbourne, is the director of Clinical Haematology and Clinical Haematology Research at St.Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. She is a member of the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) and a member of the Myeloma Scientific Advisory Group (MSAG) for Myeloma Australia, where she leads the development and biennial update of the Australian National Treatment Guideline for Multiple Myeloma. In addition, A/Prof Quach is the co-chair of the Myeloma Working Group of the ALLG (Australasian Lymphoma Leukaemia Group) and also serves as a councillor of the Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC) on multiple myeloma, to the Australian Minister of Veterans’ Affairs.
Prof Andreas Strasser (VIC) - Metcalf Oration
I am a cancer researcher trained in cell biology, immunology and molecular oncology. I have made major contributions to the discoveries that defects in cell death can cause cancer, autoimmune disease and impair the response of cancers to chemotherapy. My current work aims to reach a detailed understanding of the molecular control of programmed cell death. My team is exploiting this knowledge to develop novel treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases that directly activate the cell death machinery.
Prof Andrew Spencer (VIC)
Professor Andrew Spencer is Head of the Malignant Haematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Service at The Alfred Hospital, Professor of Haematology at Monash University, Head of the Myeloma Research Group and Co-Director of the ACRF Blood Cancer Therapeutics Centre at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, all in Melbourne, Australia.
Prof Spencer completed his medical training in clinical and laboratory haematology in Brisbane and Sydney in 1992. He then was awarded a LRF (UK) Fellowship and spent 3 years at The Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, United Kingdom where he undertook research into B-cell clonality in chronic myeloid leukemia and was awarded a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of London. Subsequently he moved to The Alfred Hospital where he established an independent translational research program. He was appointed Head of Malignant Haematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Services in 2007 and established a first-in-human and early phase haematology clinical research unit at the hospital in 2009.
Dr Rachel Thijssen (VIC)
Dr Rachel Thijssen is a senior Postdoctoral Fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI). She completed her PhD within the Immuno-Hematology department of the Academic Medical Center (AMC), Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Based on her outstanding achievements during her PhD studies and the highly promising nature of her proposed work, she was awarded a prestigious Fellowship from the US Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2017, which has enabled her to move to Australia and undertake postdoctoral training at the WEHI. Her research focuses on unravelling how haematopoietic cancer cells evade cell death, with a focus on venetoclax relapse in leukaemias and lymphomas using state-of-the-art single-cell technologies such as single-cell RNA-seq (CITE-seq) and Full-Length Transcriptome sequencing (FLT-seq). This work was granted a Cure Cancer and Cancer Australia Grant starting in 2020.
A/Prof Daniel Thomas (SA)
With unique training experience at the Stanford School of Medicine, including mentoring from Professors Ravindra Majeti, Irving Weissman, Hiro Nakauchi and Craig Jordan (UC Denver), Daniel Thomas is a clinical haematologist and pathologist whose goals in research are to develop new drugs for the treatment of cancer and lead a productive cutting-edge cancer research group in Australia.
The over-arching goal of A/Prof Thomas’ research is to find novel mutation-specific drug targets for somatic mutations, especially in poor prognosis and difficult to treat cancer types, using acute myeloid leukemia as a test bed. His unique skills developing humanized in vivo models for AML, isolation and testing of pre-leukemia stem cells and bioinformatic algorithms together with key academic and industry networks will ensure success long term, attracting other leading scientists and skills to Australia and hopefully inspire medical students to pursue research and to think beyond the textbook.
Prof Judith Trotman (NSW)
Professor Judith Trotman (University of Sydney) is a haematologist and Australian lymphoma clinician researcher who leads a number of international trials collaborations and provides global leadership in charting the role of PET scanning in lymphoma. She is committed to embedding research into clinical care as the founding Director of the Concord Repatriation General Hospital Haematology Clinical Research Unit, NSW Australia, as the current Head of the Haematology Department and as a Board member of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance. She is also committed to the implementation of research findings into practice, as evidenced by her successful MBS listing of PET for indolent lymphomas. She has developed a number of digital practice and research initiatives in collaboration with colleagues and patients, including the first published Haematology MDT SOP, the ClinTrial Refer smartphone Application and the WhiMSICAL study. She has published extensively in leading journals including NEJM, Blood, Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology and The Lancet Haematology.
A/Prof Andrew Wei (VIC)
A/Prof Andrew Wei is a haematologist and the head of leukaemia research at The Alfred. A/Prof Wei is also Chairperson AML disease group Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group, Victorian Cancer Agency Research Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor, Australian Centre for Blood Diseases.
After completing doctoral studies at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 2005, A/Prof Wei joined The Alfred in 2008 to develop the Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) research program. He has been the AML disease group chairperson for Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group since 2009 and has led multiple nationwide cooperative group studies as chief investigator.