ICR Institute Advisory Board Members – Biographies

François Bénard, MD
Chair, Functional Cancer Imaging
University of British Columbia

François Bénard received his MD from the Université de Sherbrooke in 1991. In 1995 he earned his Fellowship in Nuclear Medicine from the Université de Sherbrooke as well. He completed a Research Fellowship in Positron Emission Tomography at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. He is the Scientific Director of the Centre of Excellence for Functional Imaging of Cancer at the BC Cancer agency and a senior scientist at the BC Cancer Research Center. Dr. Bénard has been selected to hold the Chair in Functional Cancer Imaging at the University of British Columbia. His current academic appointment is Clinical Professor (tenured appointment pending) in the Department of Radiology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Bénard was previously a Professor in the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology at the Université de Sherbrooke, the Chief of the Sherbrooke Molecular Imaging Center and a Clinician-Scientist at the Clinical Research Center of the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke. His research interests are in positron emission tomography (PET), nuclear medicine and cancer imaging. François Bénard was the recipient of a Clinician-Scientist training Award from the Medical Research Council of Canada (MRC). Since the beginning of his academic career, he has received uninterrupted research scholarships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Clinician-Scientist award), the Quebec Health Research Funds (Junior II and Senior scholarships), and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (Senior Scholar). His research work has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance and more recently the National Institutes of Health.

Francine Durocher, Ph.D.
Centre de recherche, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec
Laval University

Francine Durocher is a Full Professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine, Laval University, since 2010. Dr. Francine Durocher obtained her Ph.D. at Laval University in 1996. After the completion of her thesis on BRCA1, she did a first postdoctoral fellow in molecular genetics at the Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, and then completed a second postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge, England, in genetic epidemiology and statistics. She was the first Canadian to receive the Hitchings-Elion Fellowship from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (US). After the completion of her second postdoc, she started her career at Laval University in 2001, holding a Research Career Award from the Health Research Fundation/CIHR. She was the leader of a principal component of the INHERIT BRCAs (CIHR Team grant) program from 2001-2006, and is now a major co-investigator in the CIHR Team on Familial Risks of Breast Cancer. She has received major operating grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance (CBCRA) as well as from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI). Her main research program aims at identifying novel breast cancer susceptibility loci/genes and is addressed to high-risk breast cancer families in which no mutation in either of the two main susceptibility genes, namely BRCA1 or BRCA2, has been identified. Dr. Durocher is also involved in numerous international consortia, the objectives of which are aiming to identify uncommon/rare intermediate-risk genetic variants and determine their relative contribution to the familial relative risk of breast cancer.

Eva Grunfeld, MD, PhD, FCFP
Professor and Director of Research, Dept of Family and
Community Medicine, University of Toronto
Clinician Scientist, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Dr. Eva Grunfeld is a physician scientist with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Health Services Research Program and Director of the Knowledge Translation Research Network. At the same time she is the Giblon Professor and Director of Family Medicine Research at the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto. From 2004 to 2008 she founded and directed the Cancer Outcomes Research Program at Cancer Care Nova Scotia and Dalhousie University. She obtained her medical degree from McMaster University and doctoral degree in cancer epidemiology from Oxford University.

Dr. Grunfeld is a leader in cancer health services and outcomes research. Her research focuses on evaluation and knowledge translation of cancer health services, covering the entire spectrum of cancer control activities. She uses a mixed-methods approach including randomized controlled trials, qualitative research and outcomes research. Knowledge translation is integral part of all her research activities. She is internationally recognized for research on cancer follow-up and cancer survivorship. She has conducted several multi-centre RCTs on cancer follow-up care establishing the safety and acceptability of primary care based follow-up of breast cancer patients, which has influenced clinical practice guideline internationally. Dr. Grunfeld holds many peer-review grants a Principal Investigator and has served on many committees to further the goals of cancer control in Canada and internationally.

Ronald James Heslegrave, PhD
Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Public Health,
School of Graduate Studies and the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto

Ronald J. Heslegrave, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto and is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Public Health, School of Graduate Studies and the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. Over the last 29 years he has served as a working scientist for the Federal Government and as the Director of Research in Psychiatry at St. Michael's and Wellesley Central teaching Hospitals at the University of Toronto. For the last 19 years, he has been the Chair of various Research Ethics Boards, a Board which reviews all medical research for the Institution. For the last 10 years he has chaired the Board at the University Health Network (including the Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret (Cancer) Hospitals) and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto who together conduct over 1500 new medical research protocols each year. Six years ago he was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (OCREB) which reviews all multiple-site cancer trials in Ontario. OCREB is the first centralized REB in Ontario and one of the first in North America. OCREB provides a single centralized REB review process for multi-site oncology trials being conducted across Ontario and currently acts as the REB of record for 20 of the 24 centres in Ontario that conduct oncology research, including all the major academic centres. For many years, Dr. Heslegrave also chaired the Harmonization Task Force for the Toronto Academic Health Science Committee which standardized research ethics board procedures and practices across the 10 University of Toronto fully-affiliated hospitals and the University of Toronto. Dr. Heslegrave also serves as an ethics advisor to the Institute of Cancer Research of CIHR. From a research perspective, however, he has been working in the area of fatigue and shiftwork for the last 25 years. He has been involved in the implementation of a fatigue management strategy for shiftworking commercial motor vehicle drivers in Canada and the U.S. as well as consulting to the FAA on similar matters. Dr. Heslegrave has over 200 scientific publications and presentations in a variety of areas and maintains international collaboration in the area of fatigue and shiftwork. He has coauthored 3 references guides on shiftwork issues: Making the Shift Work, Working the Shift: A Self-Health Guide, and Fatigue Management: A Guide for Canadian Coast Guard Managers, Officers, and Crew.

David G. Huntsman, MD, FRCPC, FCCMG
Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of British Columbia
Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Professor of Gynaelcologic Oncology Staff Pathologist at the BC Cancer Agency and a Consulting Pathologist at the Vancouver General Hospital

Dr. David Huntsman is a Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of British Columbia (UBC) and is the Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Professor of Gynaelcologic Oncology. He is a a Staff Pathologist at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA), and a Consulting Pathologist at the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). Dr. Huntsman attended medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland from 1984–88 and after completing a rotating internship, practiced family medicine in Labrador for two years. Following his experience in family medicine, he entered and completed a pathology residency and trained in clinical molecular genetics at UBC and subsequently studied cancer genetics at Cambridge University, UK. Dr. Huntsman is currently the Director of the BC multidisciplinary ovarian cancer research team (OvCaRe), Medical Director of the Centre for Translational and Applied Genomics (CTAG) at the BCCA, and co-Director of the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre (GPEC) at the Jack Bell Research Centre, VGH. Dr. Huntsman research has led to development of predictive and prognostic tissue based cancer biomarkers for ovarian cancer and a wide variety of other tumor types. His team created a blueprint for subtype specific ovarian cancer control and have been leaders in the application of novel genomics technologies to ovarian cancer. As collaboration is critical in his field, Dr. Huntsman happily leads and engages in a wide number of multidisciplinary research groups. Most recently he has been working with Professor Pieter Cullis on the creation of broad based personalized medicine initiative for British Columbia. Dr. Huntsman has recently been awarded the inaugural Virginia Greene leadership award for ovarian cancer research and advocacy (Sept 2011), 2011 Killam Research Prize UBC Faculty of Research and Karen Campbell National Award for Research Excellence Ovarian Cancer Canada Feb 2012.

Jon Kerner, Ph.D.
Chair, Primary Prevention Advisory Group
Senior Scientific Advisor
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

Jon Kerner chairs the Partnership's Primary Prevention Advisory Group and is the senior scientific advisor for cancer control and knowledge translation for the Partnership.

Dr. Kerner previously served as deputy director for research dissemination and diffusion of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which is part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Before joining the National Cancer Institute in 2000, Dr. Kerner spent 20 years as a peer-reviewed and funded researcher at two National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Georgetown University's Lombardi Cancer Center. He also served as a peer reviewer on many National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health special emphasis panels and study sections. This includes chairing the NIH Community Prevention and Control Study Section (now known as the NIH Community-Led Health Promotion Study Section).

Dr. Kerner received his bachelor of science degree from McGill University and his Ph.D. in community psychology from New York University. He received his postdoctoral training in cancer epidemiology, biostatistics and clinical trials design at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Benjamin G. Neel, PhD
Director, Ontario Cancer Institute and The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute
Professor, University of Toronto
Tier I Canada Research Chair

Dr. Neel earned his PhD in Viral Oncology from the Rockefeller University in 1982, under Dr. William S. Hayward, and his MD degree from Cornell University Medical School the following year. He completed medical internship and residency training at the former Beth Israel Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) from 1983-85, and then pursued post-doctoral work with Dr. Raymond L. Erikson at Harvard University from 1985-1988. In 1988, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and began his own independent research laboratory in the Molecular Medicine Unit at Beth Israel. He rose through the ranks at HMS, becoming a Professor of Medicine in 1999. He also served as the Director of the Cancer Biology Program since 1994 and as Deputy Director for Basic Research, Hematology Division at BIDMC since 2003. In 2006, he was appointed to the William B. Castle Chair of Medicine at HMS. Also in 2006, he was appointed Director Designate of the Ontario Cancer Insitute, and will assume that position full time, as well as the position of Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto in 2007. Dr. Neel is an internationally recognized expert in the field of cellular signal transduction, with particular expertise in the biology and regulation of protein-tyrosine phosphatases. He holds multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, and private foundations (e.g. LLS, Waxman Foundation). He is the author of ~125 original papers, several of which have been work published in leading scientific journals such as Cell, Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, Science, Nature, Nature Medicine and Nature Genetics. His graduate work on oncogene activation by slowly transforming RNA tumor viruses, was adjudged one of the 50 most important discoveries in cancer research by the journal Science. He was the inaugural recipient of the Gertrude Elion Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, and also received a Junior Faculty Research Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and an NIH MERIT award. He has served on study sections and ad hoc review panels for the NIH, ACS (Mass Division), and the California Tobacco and Breast Cancer Research Programs, respectively. He also was a long time member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Ceptyr, Inc., a biotechnology company whose goal is to discover PTP inhibitors for the treatment of diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

Louise Parker, BSc, PhD (Chair)
Canadian Cancer Society (Nova Scotia Division) Chair in Population Cancer Research,
and Professor of the Departments of Medicine and Paediatrics, Dalhousie University

Dr. Parker is a cancer epidemiologist from Newcastle in the UK who, in fall 2007, was appointed as the Canadian Cancer Society (Nova Scotia Division) Chair in Population Cancer Research at Dalhousie University in Halifax where she is Professor of the Departments of Medicine and Paediatrics. She has extensive experience in etiological research – especially in childhood cancer and adult disease – and has received extensive national and international funding for her research which has included the study of transgenerational effects of radiation exposure and childhood cancer. More recently, her research on the investigation of cancer risk associated with CT-scan exposure is funded by NIH and the UK Dept of Health. She is currently Principal Investigator of the Atlantic PATH project, which is part of the CPACC funded Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, the largest cancer (and other health) cohort study ever undertaken in Canada. In the UK, Dr. Parker was Head of the Department of Child Health at Newcastle University and led a highly active paediatric and lifecourse epidemiology research group. She was also Associate Director of R&D at the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in London and was a member of several national advisory committees including COMARE, the Committee for Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment. Dr. Parker has authored more than 180 peer-reviewed research papers, many on paediatric cancer epidemiology and on the relation between lifestyle and adult health. She sits on the editorial boards of several journals and has participated in grant review for many agencies including NCIC, the EU Frameworks, UK MRC and the Finland Medical Research Council.

Geoffrey A. Porter, MD, MSc, FACS, FRCSC
Professor in the Department of Surgery and the Ramia Chair in Surgical Oncology at Dalhousie University and QEII Health Sciences Centre

Dr. Geoffrey Porter, Professor in the Department of Surgery and the Ramia Chair in Surgical Oncology at Dalhousie University and QEII Health Sciences Centre, focuses his research on health services research in cancer. Dr. Porter came to the Department of Surgery in 2000 after completing a two-year fellowship in surgical oncology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He began his post-secondary studies in 1986 at Queen’s University, graduating with distinction in 1989 (Bachelor of Arts in Life Sciences), then in 1992 went on to graduate with a degree in medicine. From Queen’s University, Dr. Porter attended the University of Alberta where he received a Master’s in Medical Sciences (epidemiology) in 1996 and completed a five-year residency in general surgery in 1998. Dr. Porter is currently a Professor in the Department of Surgery as well as in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, and holds the Gibran and Jamile Ramia Chair in Surgical Oncology Research. Dr. Porter serves, or has served, on many local, national, and international committees (see CV) and has held major leadership roles including as Clinical Head of the Cancer Care Program within the Capital District Health Authority, and has been the Chair of the Surgical Quality Control Committee within the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). He currently is the Director of the Cancer Outcomes Research Unit in Halifax, and is the National Project Lead, Breast Cancer Synoptic Reporting, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC). His research interests are broadly categorized as cancer health services research related with a specific focus on cancer surgery. Dr. Porter has published more than 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals, has made over 84 peer reviewed scientific presentations and has contributed chapters to several textbooks related to cancer.

Donna Turner, Ph.D.
Epidemiologist / Provincial Director Population Oncology
CancerCare Manitoba

Donna Turner is an epidemiologist and Provincial Director of the Population Oncology portfolio at CancerCare Manitoba; she is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Her path to this position began with training at the University of Victoria in Health Information Science (B.Sc. 1988), followed by graduate work in epidemiology and oncology from the Universities of Calgary (M.Sc. 1991) and Alberta (Ph.D. 1997) and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. She further developed her interest in cancer epidemiology by working at two Canadian cancer agencies (the Alberta Cancer Board and CancerCare Manitoba). As a result of these experiences, her research interests revolve around the use of population-based cancer registry data, particularly record linkage using cancer registries and administrative data (information collected as part of the management of health care insurance plans or employment) as a means of informing cancer control activities. Her current position allows her to work in various aspects of cancer control research – from prevention/etiology to early detection to diagnosis/treatment to outcomes – using the population-based data resources of the provincial health department and the cancer agency in Manitoba.

André Veillette, M.D.
Director of Molecular Oncology Laboratory Unit
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)
Canada Research Chair in Signalling in the Immune System
International Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Veillette received his M.D. in 1982 from Laval University. He was a professor at the McGill Cancer Center at McGill University and is currently professor in the Department of Molecular Oncology at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal. In 1995 he was elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He has received the André Dupont Young Investigator Award, the Merck Frosst Prize, and the Marcel-Piché Award. In 2002 he was named Canadian Research Chair in Signalling in the Immune System; in 2007 he received the Léo-Pariseau Prize, a Quebecois prize awarded by the Francophone Association for Knowledge and sponsored by Merck Frosst; in 2008 he was elected member of the Royal Society of Canada; and in 2009 he received the Hardy-Cinader Award from Canadian Society of Immunology and was elected member of Association of American Physicians. Dr. Veillette's research interest is to elucidate the signalling mechanisms regulating immune cells.

Krista Wilkins, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick

Dr. Krista Wilkins is a Registered Nurse, and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick (Fredericton campus). Dr. Wilkins received her Bachelor of Science Honours degree in psychology (1997) and Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (2002) from Dalhousie University. She obtained a Master's of Nursing with a focus in cancer nursing (2005) from the University of Manitoba. She is the first graduate of University of Manitoba's innovative PhD in Cancer Control (2010), a joint program offered by the Faculty of Nursing and Department of Community Health Sciences. Her research interests are in cancer survivorship; psychosocial concerns; health promotion and wellness; family-centered care; arts-based inquiry; transition; second cancer risk; qualitative research methods; and mixed methods. She was the recipient of a CIHR Doctoral Award and Canadian Cancer Society Research Studentship, among many other research scholarships. Dr. Wilkins is a member of the Canadian Task Force on Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, which establishes and supports research to optimize the quality of life and health outcomes of adolescents and young adults with cancer.