ICR Institute Advisory Board Members – Biographies

John Bell, PhD
Senior Scientist, Centre for Innovative Cancer Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology
University of Ottawa

Dr. John Bell received his PhD in Virology and Immunology from McMaster University in 1982. In the following three years, he trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and then at the Medical Research Council in London, England. Dr. Bell began his independent research career at McGill University in 1986 in the Department of Biochemistry. He moved his research group to the University of Ottawa, Department of Medicine, in 1989 and became a Senior Scientist at the Center for Cancer Therapeutics at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He heads the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, a Terry Fox funded group from across Canada that is developing virus based cancer therapeutics. He is the Director of the Biotherapeutics Program for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. His research program is directed towards the development of novel biotherapeutic approaches to treating cancer. In particular his lab is focused on the development of replicating viruses for the treatment of cancer and strategies to enhance their therapeutic activity. He has received the Robert L. Noble Prize in Cancer Research from the Canadian Cancer Society, the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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.

Christine Friedenreich, PhD
Scientific Leader, Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Alberta Health Services
Adjunct Professor, Departments of Oncology and Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary
Division Head, Division of Preventive Oncology, Department of Oncology
Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary

Dr Friedenreich is the Scientific Leader for the Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research of CancerControl Alberta, Alberta Health Services and the Division Head for the Division of Preventive Oncology, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Friedenreich completed her doctorate in Epidemiology at the University of Toronto in 1990 and postdoctoral work at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France and at the University of Calgary between 1990 and 1994. She holds a Health Senior Scholar career award from Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions and in 2012 was named the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Weekend to End Women’s Cancers Breast Cancer Chair at the University of Calgary. In 2004-5, Dr. Friedenreich was the Visiting Scientist at the IARC. In 2013, Dr Friedenreich was a co-recipient of the Canadian Cancer Society’s O. Harold Warwick Prize. Dr Friedenreich’s research is focused on understanding the role of physical activity in reducing the risk of developing cancer and in improving quality of life and survival after cancer diagnosis. She has conducted over 35 research observational and randomized controlled exercise intervention trials of physical activity in cancer control. A particular focus for her research is investigating the underlying biologic mechanisms involved in the association between physical activity and cancer risk and survival.

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.

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.

Peter Siegel, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
McGill University
Associate Director
Goodman Cancer Research Centre

Dr. Peter Siegel received his Ph.D. degree from McMaster University and pursued his post-doctoral training at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University and a full member of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, where he serves as Associate Director. Since beginning his independent academic career at McGill, Dr. Siegel has held career awards from the CCS (Harold Johns Award), FRQS (Junior II research scholar) and is currently a McGill University William Dawson Scholar. Dr. Siegel’s research focuses on the fundamental mechanisms that control organ-selective breast cancer metastasis and employs pre-clinical animal models and clinical material to identify molecular mediators and cellular process that promote breast cancer metastasis to distinct sites such as the bone, lung and liver. His research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the Terry Fox Foundation, and the Cancer Research Society.

Donna Turner, PhD
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.

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.

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