Speaker Profiles

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Beth L. Abramson, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto

Beth AbramsonBeth Abramson MD is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is Director of the Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre & Women’s Cardiovascular Health in the Division of Cardiology at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Abramson graduated from the U. of Toronto medical school. She trained in internal medicine in Toronto and completed a clinical cardiology fellowship at the Ottawa Heart Institute. She also completed a research fellowship, during which she focused on evaluating issues related to women and heart disease. She has training in clinical epidemiology and a Masters of Health Administration from the University of Toronto. She holds fellowships in Internal Medicine from the American College of Physicians and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in both Internal Medicine and Cardiology and is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. She is actively involved in writing guidelines to educate physicians on preventive cardiology issues. She was a primary member of the 2000 CCS Consensus Conference on Women and Ischemic Heart Disease. In 2005 she co-chaired the CCS Consensus Conference on Peripheral Arterial Disease. She has been involved in writing national guidelines on menopause and cardiac disease in collaboration with the SGOC, published in 2009, updated in 2013. In 2014 she co-authored Canadian guidelines for the diagnosis and management of stable ischemic heart disease. She has been a member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Health Policy and Promotion Committee (HPPAC). She was a founding member of the Heart Truth Leadership Council, which led a national awareness campaign for women and heart disease. She has an interest in gender equity. In 2010, she took a leadership role in the POWER Study addressing quality care in women. Dr. Abramson’s academic activities also include membership on the Admissions Committee for the U. of Toronto School of Medicine. She spends much time educating the public on heart health and is a national spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Her book, Heart Health for Canadians, was published in Feb. 2013 to help people prevent and understand the issues related to heart disease. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Harold N. Segal award of Merit, in recognition of her many contributions to preventing heart disease among Canadians.

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Francois Bernier, University of Calgary

Francois Bernier is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary. He is also the Clinical Director of the R.B. Lowry Genetics Unit, which serves Southern Alberta. After obtaining his MD through the University of Manitoba, he completed his residency training in Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary. He is a Fellow of the Canadian College of Medical Genetics and a member of the American Society of Human Genetics. In addition to pediatric genetics and prenatal diagnosis, his clinical practice includes cancer genetics. He is the physician lead for the Southern Alberta Cancer Genetics clinic, which provides risk assessment and genetic testing for hereditary cancers including pediatric cancers. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his teaching in the Faculty of Medicine and his research interests include the role of the prenatal environment on child health, pediatric neurobehavioural disorders including autism and motor deficits as well as genetic disorders in isolated populations such as the Hutterites.

 

Michael Brudno, Organization Centre for Computational Medicine, SickKids

Michael Brudno is the Scientific Director of the Centre for Computational Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children and an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. After receiving a BA in Computer Science and History from UC Berkeley, Michael received his PhD from the Computer Science Department of Stanford University, working on algorithms for whole genome alignments. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley and was a Visiting Scientist at MIT. He is the recipient of the Ontario Early Researcher Award and the Sloan Fellowship, as well as the Outstanding Young Canadian Computer Scientist Award.

Michael’s main research interest is the development of computational methods for the analysis of clinical and genomic datasets, especially capture of precise clinical data from clinicians using effective user interfaces, and its utilization in the automated analysis of genomes. He also works on analysis of High Throughput Sequencing data, including methods for the discovery of structural and copy-number polymorphisms and other genomic variation, identification of functional variants, and visualization of genomic data. He is also leading HPC4Health, a private computing cloud for Toronto hospitals that is part of the Compute Canada network.

 

Dennis Bulman, University of Ottawa / Newborn Screening Ontario

Dennis Bulman, Ph.D., FCCMG, FACMG, DABMG, is a Senior Scientist at Newborn Screening Ontario and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa. He is certified by both the Canadian and American College of Medical Genetics in Clinical Molecular Genetics. Dr. Bulman’s research interests are in the field of Human Molecular genetics where he has published over 125 peer reviewed papers, ranging from single gene disorders to complex traits. For the last 20 years he has been involved in the identification of genes for rare genetic disorders, the translation of these discoveries to the clinic and more recently the implementation of new molecular testing paradigms to Newborn Screening.

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Timothy Caulfield, University of Alberta

Timothy CaulfieldTimothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Over the past several years he has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary research endeavours that have allowed him to publish over 300 academic articles. He is a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation and the Principal Investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary projects that explore the ethical, legal and health policy issues associated with a range of topics, including stem cell research, genetics, patient safety, the prevention of chronic disease, obesity policy, the commercialization of research, complementary and alternative medicine and access to health care. Professor Caulfield is and has been involved with a number of national and international policy and research ethics committees. He has won numerous academic awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He writes frequently for the popular press and is the author of two recent national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin 2015).

 

 

Radha Chari, Chair Department Ob-Gyn, Zone Department Head, University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services

Radha was born in Edmonton, Alberta and raised in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, completing medical school at the University of Saskatchewan in 1988, an internship in London, Ontario in 1989, and residency in Ob-Gyn at the University of Alberta in 1993. She then completed a Maternal-Fetal-Medicine Fellowship in Memphis with Dr. Baha Sibai, and returned to Edmonton 1995. She became a Ob-Gyn residency program director in 1997, and MFM Division Head 2004-2014. In 2014, she was appointed Ob-Gyn Chair and AHS Zone Clinical Department Head. She currently maintains a MFM practice at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, and has helped develop regional and provincial clinical programs/protocols in perinatal care, including the Edmonton First Trimester Screening Program. She is currently a co-chair of the provincial working group developing the implementation plan for the future Alberta Prenatal Genetic Screening Program. Radha is also currently co-chair of the SOGC GMOC Committee and is also working with the CCMG on developing guidelines for Chromosome Microarray in the Prenatal Setting in Canada.

 

Philip Chen, Sonic Healthcare USA

Phil is the Chief Healthcare Informatics Officer at Sonic Healthcare USA, one of the largest medical diagnostics companies in the world. He leads Sonic’s informatics products and services, including the development of the iMorpheus clinical decision support, patient engagement and care coordination software and the associated operations. Phil is a board-certified pathologist and known nationally in the fields of Clinical and Pathology Informatics. He has developed several community and population-based informatics initiatives which have been widely recognized, including by the Quality Profiles published by National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and by CNN Headline News. Phil received his MD an PhD from University of Alabama in Birmingham and completed his Pathology residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Prior to join Sonic, he was a Professor and the Vice Chair of Pathology at the University of Miami and Jackson Health Systems in Florida.

 

Judy Chernos, University of Calgary

Judy Chernos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics, University of Calgary and served as Acting /Interim Department Head from 2010-2012 She is appointed as a senior Cytogeneticist and Clinical site-head of Genetics Laboratory Services (AHS) based at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary. She obtained her BSc in Zoology and Anthropology from the University of Toronto. After moving west, she completed a PhD from the University of Calgary in Medical Genetics (1988) examining the effects of cryopreservation on chromosomal anomalies in gametes, followed by CCMG post-doctoral training in Cytogenetics. She has been an active Fellow of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists since 1991 and is currently the President-elect of the CCMG Board of Directors (commencing presidency in June 2016). Dr. Chernos is a keen educator at all levels. Her longstanding scientific interest is in elucidating the nature of unique constitutional chromosome anomalies using traditional and genomic technologies and correlating with clinical phenotypes.

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Kent C. Dooley, Clinical Director – BC Chemistry, LifeLabs

Kent C. DooleyKent Dooley obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UBC in 1976. He then did a post doctorate fellowship in inherited metabolic diseases at the BC Children’s Hospital. This was followed by a clinical chemistry fellowship at the University of Texas in Houston where he was subsequently appointed to the and to the position of Assistant Technical Director of Clinical Chemistry at Hermann Hospital and Assistant professor of pathology at the University of Texas Medical School – Houston. In 1981 he moved to the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia to become the Head of Clinical Biochemistry. In 1984 he became a Founding Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemists. In 1990 he assumed to role of Director of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the IWK Grace Health Center. His primary clinical and research interests are in newborn screening, inherited metabolic diseases and pediatric and maternal-fetal clinical chemistry. From 1999 – 2007 he was the Chair of the Nova Scotia Newborn Screening Committee and from 2001 – 2003 President of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. In 2007 he was awarded the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists award for Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Chemistry. Alson in 2007 he moved to a position at LifeLabs, a private reference laboratory in Victoria, BC. Dr. Dooley was appointed Clinical Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of British Columbia in 2008. He became Clinical Director of Chemistry for LifeLabs BC in 2014.

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Callum Fraser, Senior Research Fellow, University of Dundee

Callum FraserProfessor Callum G Fraser graduated BSc and PhD from the University of Aberdeen. After a year of postdoctoral work in the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, he returned to the University of Aberdeen as Lecturer in Chemical Pathology. From 1975, he was Chief Clinical Biochemist at the then new Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia, and Honorary Senior Lecturer, later Associate Professor. He returned to Scotland in 1983 and was Director of Biochemical Medicine, NHS Tayside, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. He is currently Senior Research Fellow in the Scottish Bowel Screening Research Unit; Honorary Professor, Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening, University of Dundee; and Honorary Consultant Clinical Biochemist, NHS Tayside. He has published over 300 papers, 11 book chapters and two monographs, *Interpretation of Clinical Chemistry Laboratory Data” and the best-selling “Biological Variation: From Principles to Practice” translated into Japanese, Russian, Italian and Turkish. Over the last 15 years, he has been heavily involved in the setting up, development, and roll-out of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme and the assessment of newer faecal tests. He is a founding Member of the Expert Working Group on Faecal Immunochemical Tests for Screening of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee, World Endoscopy Organization. He has been honoured by, inter alia, the Foundation Award and Honorary Membership of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine.

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Dekel Gelbman, FDNA

Mr. Dekel Gelbman is the CEO of Boston-based FDNA, the developer of FACE2GENE, a free app used by hundreds of genetics professionals worldwide. Mr. Gelbman has led the ongoing efforts for this technology from its initial conception through to its current use in tens of thousands of patient evaluations each year.

 

Dina N. Greene, Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Dina N. GreeneDr. Dina Greene embarked on her scientific career in Gainesville, Florida by obtaining a degree in Microbiology from the University of Florida. As an undergraduate she distinctly remembers falling in love with biochemistry when she enrolled in the class “The Physiology and Biochemistry of Prokaryotes”, where she immediately understood that some of her happiest moments would be spent deciphering complicated scientific phenomena. Dr. Greene then obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Emory University and subsequently migrated west, trading in her southern roots for snow-filled mountains, to complete the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program at the University of Utah. In 2011 Dr. Greene joined the staff at Northern California Kaiser Permanente, where she served as Scientific Director of Chemistry. Dr. Greene recently left Kaiser Permanente, accepting a faculty position at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her passion for laboratory medicine stems from the contributions she can make toward positively impacting the quality of laboratory testing and the diverse populations that these results can impact.

 

 

Ann M. Gronowski, Professor Pathology and Obstetrics & Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine

Ann M. GronowskiAnn M. Gronowski, Ph.D., is Professor of Pathology & Immunology, and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis Missouri). She is Associate Medical Director of the Clinical Chemistry and Serology & Immunology laboratories at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Dr. Gronowski received her Ph.D. in Endocrinology- Reproductive Physiology from University of Wisconsin, and is a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Gronowski is past president of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Her research focuses primarily on the laboratory diagnostics of endocrinology and reproductive physiology with a particular emphasis on maternal fetal medicine. She edited the book entitled “Handbook of Clinical Laboratory Testing During Pregnancy”.

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Brenda Hemmelgarn, Professor and Head, Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

Brenda HemmelgarnDr. Brenda Hemmelgarn is a clinician scientist with sub-specialty training in Nephrology from the University of Calgary and a PhD in epidemiology from McGill University. She is Professor and Head of the Department of Community Health Sciences where she undertakes her academic activities, and maintains a clinical practice in nephrology through the Department of Medicine. Her research interests are in the study of chronic medical conditions including chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, as well as knowledge translation strategies to improve care provided to this patient population. She is the recipient of the Roy and Vi Baay Chair in Kidney Research, has over 350 peer-reviewed publications, and has received numerous awards and recognitions including Fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

 

Barry Hoffman, Clinical Biochemist, Mount Sinai Hospital

Dr. Hoffman is a Staff Clinical Biochemist in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital with responsibility for the Prenatal Screening Service to detect Trisomy 21 and 18 and Open Neural Tube Defects. The Mount Sinai Laboratory offers conventional screening and screens about 20,000 pregnancies a year. Dr. Hoffman holds the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto where he has been actively involved for many years in the training of Fellows enrolled in the Postdoctoral Clinical Biochemistry Diploma Program of the Faculty of Medicine.

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A. Micheil Innes, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, Alberta Childrens’ Hospital

Dr. Innes obtained his BSc in Biology (Human Genetics) from McGill University, his MD from the University of Alberta and completed RCPSC training in Medical Genetics from the University of Manitoba. Since 2000 he has been at the University of Calgary where he is currently an associate professor in the Departments of Medical Genetics and Pediatrics and a clinical geneticist based out of the Alberta Children’s Hospital. His clinical interests include dysmorphology and neurogenetics. His research interests include the clinical and molecular delineation of novel genetic syndromes and the clinical genetics of specific founder populations. He is an investigator with Care 4 Rare Canada. He is a member of a research team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute that has identified over 20 novel disease genes. Dr. Innes is the past chair of the Specialty Committee in Medical Genetics (now Medical Genetics and Genomics) at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and is the National Coordinator for Orphanet Canada.

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Vathany Kulasingam, Clinical Biochemist, University Health Network

Dr. Vathany Kulasingam completed her PhD at the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto. Following her PhD, she completed a post-doctoral training diploma program in Clinical Chemistry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Kulasingam is currently a clinical biochemist at the University Health Network in Toronto, an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry. Her current interests include novel tumor biomarker discovery and application of omics to clinical practice.

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Nathalie Lepage, Professor, University of Ottawa

Nathalie LepageDr. Lepage is a full professor in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She is the Head of the Biochemical Genetics and Prenatal Screening Laboratory at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Canada, the laboratory director for the Hawkesbury General Hospital, and a laboratory consultant for clinical Biochemistry for the teaching Montfort Hospital, both located in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She is a fellow from the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (CACB) and a fellow from the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists.
Dr. Lepage has also served as a leader (president and/or chair) of several provincial and national professional associations, including the CACB and the Ontario Society of Clinical Chemists. She has received the CACB Award for Outstanding Service to the profession of Clinical Biochemistry and the Mentor of the Month Award from the AACC. Current areas of clinical and research interests are in pediatric reference intervals, in prenatal screening for chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects, and in laboratory management.

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David Malkin, Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Malkin is Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Biophysics, POGO Chair in Cancer Control, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Medical Director of the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario. He is a pediatric oncologist, Director of the Cancer Genetics program, a Senior Scientist in the Genetics and Genome Biology Program at SickKids, and co-Director of the SickKids Cancer Sequencing (KiCS) program which integrates and translates next generation sequencing into clinical care of children with cancer. Dr. Malkin’s research program focuses on: 1) genetic and genomic mechanisms of childhood cancer susceptibility; and 2) signaling pathways and novel therapeutic targets in rhabdomyosarcoma. Recently, his work has addressed the application of genomics to develop rational clinical surveillance and treatment guidelines for children and adults at genetic ‘high risk’ for cancer. His work has been funded by the Terry Fox Research Institute, Canadian Cancer Society, CIHR, CFI, Genome Canada, the NIH, Ewing Foundation Canada, and the Department of Defense (US).

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Jillian Parboosingh, University of Calgary

Jillian Parboosingh is an Associate Professor in the department of Medical Genetics, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary and a CCMG-certified Molecular Geneticist in the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Alberta Health Services. She has over 14 years of experience in molecular diagnostics and gene discovery research. Seven years ago, she began utilizing next generation sequencing technology for gene discovery, saw its usefulness for research and potential in diagnostics. She and her colleagues have since seen their share of gene discoveries including the identification of the underlying cause of Nager and Cerebrocostomandibular syndromes. She is a member of Care of Rare, optimizing the clinical implementation of whole exome/clinome sequencing.

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Peter A. Senior, Professor, University of Alberta

Dr. Peter Senior is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Alberta. He is the Medical Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program and co-director of the Northern Alberta Diabetic Nephropathy Prevention Program. He is originally from the UK where he completed his specialist training in Diabetes and Endocrinology and received his PhD in 2002. His clinical and research interests focus on type 1 diabetes, islet transplantation, hypoglycemia and diabetic nephropathy. He has been an investigator in a number of clinical trials in both diabetes and islet transplantation ranging from large multicentre studies (eg ACCORD) to smaller investigator-initiated trials. Dr Senior is a popular speaker who has lectured in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has authored more than 80 peer reviewed publications and 5 book chapters. He has served as an associate editor for the journals Diabetic Medicine, Cell Transplantation and the Canadian Journal of Diabetes. He is Vice Chair of the Clinical & Scientific Section of the Canadian Diabetes Association.

 

Kathleen Sulik, Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Kathleen K. Sulik, Ph.D. is professor of Cell Biology and Physiology and a member of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC USA. Dr. Sulik is an embryologist and teratologist with extensive medical and postgraduate teaching experience. This has included a major commitment to teaching gross anatomy and embryology. For the latter, a freely available web-based program entitled Embryo Images was developed (http://syllabus.med.unc.edu/courseware/embryo_images/). The basic research conducted in Dr. Sulik’s laboratory has focused on achieving a better understanding of the mechanisms and pathogenesis of birth defects; in particular, those resulting from first trimester maternal alcohol use. Her mouse model-based work has shown that embryos at developmental stages present in the human 3rd week post fertilization are vulnerable to alcohol-induced defects characteristic of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Identification of relationships between alcohol-induced structural brain changes and other structural abnormalities (especially those of the face) has been a major area of emphasis. This work has been facilitated by high-resolution fetal and postnatal magnetic resonance imaging. The current research emphasis of Dr. Sulik’s laboratory is on identification of genetic and environmental factors that modify alcohol’s teratogenesis. Overall, the results of this work have provided new insights for clinical investigation and practice, as well as for prevention approaches. In 1995-6 Dr. Sulik served as the president of the Teratology Society and in 2004-5 as president of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Study Group. These organizations, along with the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have honored Dr. Sulik with awards in recognition of her contributions to the FASD field.

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Alexander Wyatt, University of British Columbia

Dr. Alexander Wyatt is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and a Senior Research Scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. He has a background in molecular biology and human disease genetics from the University of Oxford, as well as considerable experience in cancer bioinformatics and the analysis of complex datasets. Dr. Wyatt has a strong academic history in translational cancer genomics and his current research is focused on understanding and targeting the molecular landscape of castration-resistance prostate cancer. His lab leverages a variety of innovative next-generation sequencing techniques to interrogate tissue and liquid biopsies from patients enrolled on several ongoing clinical trials. He has been the recipient of multiple awards including a prestigious Coalition to Cure Prostate Cancer Young Investigator Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation and a Movember Rising Star in Prostate Cancer Research Award from Prostate Cancer Canada. Read more about Dr. Wyatt’s research here: http://blogs.ubc.ca/wyattlab/.

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George Zogopoulos, McGill University

Dr. Zogopoulos is an assistant professor of surgery at McGill University, a hepato-pancreato-biliary and abdominal organ transplant surgeon at the McGill University Health Centre, and a clinician-scientist at the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. He is a scholar of the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé, with a translational research program in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Zogopoulos established and directs the Quebec Pancreas Cancer Study, a familial pancreatic cancer and peri-ampullary tumour research registry. His research focuses on the genetics and molecular subtypes of pancreatic cancer and includes a clinical screening program for individuals at increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

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