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. She is an NHMRC Research Fellow and Fellow of the Faculty of Science, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. 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. As such she is a major contributor to international collaborative initiatives to establish guidelines and recommendations for producing reliable molecular data. Dr Branford leads the International Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Genomics Alliance, which is a collaboration involving researchers from 10 countries. Among their aims is to establish a genomically based risk classification system. Dr Branford was the recipient of the International Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Foundation Prize in 2016 for outstanding contributions to the improvement of treatment in emerging economic regions, and the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine Distinguished Award in 2017 for significant contributions in molecular diagnostics.
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). 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 Translational Haematology 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)
Professor Richard Lock was recruited as Head of Children’s Cancer Institute’s Leukaemia Biology Program in 1998 from the position of Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Prior to his move, he had attained an international reputation in the cancer-related fields of cell cycle control, drug resistance and mechanisms of programmed cell death (apoptosis). At Children’s Cancer Institute, Professor Lock has successfully developed a clinically relevant laboratory model for the in vivo growth of human acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cells – the first such model in Australia. The model now plays a central role in the preclinical evaluation of anticancer agents and the identification of new targets for targeted therapies as part of the US National Cancer Institute’s Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium. Professor Lock is the inaugural Deputy Director of the UNSW Centre for Childhood Cancer Research. He is also Head, Preclinical Drug Testing Core (PDTC) Team for the Zero Childhood Cancer personalised medicine program led by Children’s Cancer Institute and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.
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 Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Services in 2007 and established a first-in-human and early phase hematology clinical research unit at the hospital in 2009.
Dr Rachel Thijssen (VIC)
Dr Rachel Thijssen is a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. She completed her PhD within the Immuno-Hematology department of the Academic Medical Center (AMC), Amsterdam, the Netherlands before moving to Australia. Her research focuses on unravelling how haematopoietic cancer cells evade cell death, particularly elucidating the emergence of resistance in venetoclax treated CLL using state-of-the-art technologies such as single cell sequencing.
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.