Invited speakers

Click on images for biographical notes

Alain Thierry

Montpellier

Ash Alizadeh

Stanford

Bernhard Zimmermann

Natera

Dennis Lo

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Diana Bianchi

NIH

Erik Sistermans

Amsterdam UMC

Fiona Kaper

Illumina

Hannah Valantine

Stanford

Irene Ghobrial

Harvard

Iwijn De Vlaminck

Cornell

Mark Pertile

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Mark Roschewski

NCI

Max Diehn

Stanford University

Michal Elovitz

Penn

Mira Moufarrej

Stanford

Nicholas Turner

Royal Marsden

Nickolas Papadopoulos

Johns Hopkins

Nir Friedman

Hebrew University

Nitzan Rosenfeld

Cambridge

Robert Woodward

CareDx

Samuel Levy

Bluestar Genomics

Scott Bratman

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Scott Kopetz

MD Anderson

Sean Agbor-Enoh

NIH

Sevahn Vorperian

Stanford

Tim Blauwkamp

Karius

Yuval Dor

Hebrew University

Alain Thierry

Montpellier

Prof. A.R. Thierry has contributed to cirDNA applications in clinical and basic research, coordinating the first prospective blinded multicenter studies to offer clinical validation of plasma analysis for detecting mutations in oncology, and demonstrating the clinical utility of using cirDNA analysis in digestive oncology. His team has also been engaged in basic research focused on cirDNA structure and function, has pioneered work on cirDNA fragmentation and its application in cancer screening, has shown the presence in blood of circulating functional cell-free mitochondria, and recently demonstrated cirDNA association with NETs production in cancer and COVID-19 disease.

Ash Alizadeh

Stanford

Dr. Alizadeh has a history of research and accomplishments in cancer genomics and is a practicing medical oncologist specializing in the care of patients with lymphoma. He has helped develop techniques for ultra-sensitive and non-invasive detection of tumor-derived cell-free DNA (CAPP-Seq) and for computational deconvolution of gene expression data for deciphering cellular heterogeneity in tumors including immune infiltration (CIBERSORT). His group's translational research focuses on understanding tumor biology and tumor response to therapy, utilizing functional genomics, computational biology, molecular genetics, and mouse models, and his clinical research focuses on diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive markers, including liquid biopsies.

Bernhard Zimmermann

Natera

Bernhard Zimmermann is head of Natera's Molecular Bio Research team and is part of the team that has built leading cfDNA tests in women's health, organ health and oncology: Panorama, Prospera and Signatera.

Dennis Lo

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dennis Lo is the Li Ka Shing Professor of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Since discovering the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma in 1997, he has been pioneering development of non-invasive prenatal testing and cancer liquid biopsies.

Diana Bianchi

NIH

Diana W. Bianchi is the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and a Senior Investigator in the Center for Precision Health Research at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Dr. Bianchi’s research focuses on noninvasive prenatal screening and development of novel fetal therapies for genetic disorders. Dr. Bianchi was elected to the US National Academy of Medicine in 2013.

Erik Sistermans

Amsterdam UMC

Erik Sistermans is associate professor of Human Genetics and head of the Genome Diagnostics laboratory of Amsterdam UMC. A clinical laboratory geneticist, he was the project leader of the TRIDENT studies which resulted in the implementation of Non Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) in the Netherlands.

Fiona Kaper

Illumina

Fiona Kaper is a Vice President and Distinguished Scientist, Advanced Science at Illumina,, where she is responsible for all research and technology development of the next generation of Illumina assays and library prep methods that support research and clinical applications. She has contributed to many different products and innovations, including the VeriSeq PGS product lines (now Vitrolife), methods for the interrogation of circulating nucleic acids, and, most recently, the Illumina COVIDSeq Assay to identify and track strains of SARS-CoV-2.

Hannah Valantine

Stanford

Hannah Valantine, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, is nationally recognized for her pioneering work in developing and applying paradigm-shifting genomic tools for the diagnosis of organ transplant rejection. She has also pursued a data-driven transformative approach to diversity equity and inclusion, receiving the NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award for this work, serving as the inaugural NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce diversity, and as a tenured investigator at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute where she established the Laboratory of Transplantation Genomics. Dr Valantine was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2020.

Irene Ghobrial

Harvard

Dr. Ghobrial is a Professor of Medicine and the Lavine Family Chair for Preventative Cancer Therapies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. She is the Director of the Center for Prevention of Progression Diseases (CPOP) and is the co-leader of the Stand Up to Cancer Myeloma Dream Team. Her research focuses on identifying and developing effective therapeutic interventions for precursor conditions of myeloma, novel biomarkers of disease progression, and potentially curative therapies in the pre-malignant phase that exploit the immune microenvironment in bone marrow.

Iwijn De Vlaminck

Cornell

Iwijn De Vlaminck is an Associate Professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. His research focuses on the development of precision medicine technologies for the monitoring of infectious diseases and immune related complications. In 2017, he was awarded the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. He is a co-founder of Kanvas Biosciences.

Mark Pertile

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Dr. Mark Pertile is a clinical scientist specializing in reproductive genetics and genomics. As head of the Division of Reproductive Genetics at the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia, he heads the non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) laboratory. He has a long-standing interest in early human embryology and development and works with teams that help identify the causes and origins of genetic conditions before, during, and after pregnancy.

Mark Roschewski

NCI

Dr. Mark Roschewski is a clinician scientist currently serving as the Clinical Director of the Lymphoid Malignancies Branch of the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. There, the primary goal of his research team is to translate novel findings from the molecular biology of lymphoma into innovative therapies for lymphomas. In addition to his team’s work demonstrating the effectiveness of new targeted therapies, his team collaborates on developing circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) as a predictive and prognostic biomarker in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and other lymphoma subtypes.

Max Diehn

Stanford University

Dr. Max Diehn is the Jack, Lulu, and Sam Willson Professor, Division Chief of Radiation and Cancer Biology, and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University. He is a physician scientist and practicing radiation oncologist whose main research focus is on the development and application of liquid biopsy technologies for cancer detection, characterization, and monitoring. Dr. Diehn is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the National Academy of Medicine.

Michal Elovitz

Penn

Michal A. Elovitz, MD is a physician-scientist and the Hilarie L. Morgan and Mitchell L. Morgan President’s Distinguished Professor in Women’s Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Elovitz has been actively involved in fundamental and translational research for over 20 years. Her research has been funded by the March of Dimes, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and NIH. Dr. Elovitz supports and advocates for innovative and collaborative research, from the bench to the bedside, to advance the mission of improving health outcomes for women and their children.

Mira Moufarrej

Stanford

Mira Moufarrej developed three liquid biopsy tests that measure cell-free RNA to predict how far along a pregnancy is and whether a mother is at risk of preeclampsia and preterm delivery, with results available earlier than with traditional diagnostics. This work paves the way for affordable, simple, and reliable tests for preeclampsia and preterm delivery risk administered early enough for meaningful clinical intervention. For this work, Mira received the 2021 “Cure it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize and recognized as a top 10 innovation of 2019 in the MIT Technology Review.

Nicholas Turner

Royal Marsden

Professor Nicholas Turner is a Consultant Medical Oncologist who specialises in the treatment of breast cancer. He is a Team Leader in Molecular Oncology at the Breast Cancer Now Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the Genotyping, Phenotyping and Cancer Evolution Theme Lead for The Royal Marsden and ICR NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and the Breast Cancer Domain Lead of the Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnerships. His research interests include the development of new therapies for breast cancer and using liquid biopsies to deliver more precise treatment for breast cancer.

Nickolas Papadopoulos

Johns Hopkins

Nick Papadapalus is the co‐discoverer of the genetic basis of the predisposition to hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). He was part of the interdisciplinary team that was first to sequence all of the protein coding genes of four common human tumor types and subsequently identified novel mutations in chromatin remodeling genes in human cancers. Currently, he focuses on the development of clinical applications for early detection and monitoring of cancer. He has developed sensitive methods for the detection of multiple type of cancers in liquid biopsy, including CancerSEEK. He has co-founded companies that develop diagnostics for cancer.

Nir Friedman

Hebrew University

Nir Friedman is a Professor of Computer Science and Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His major research interests include Systems Biology, Chromatin biology, Gene Regulatory Networks, Computational Biology, and Probabilistic Graphical Models. Prof. Friedman pioneered the use of probabilistic graphical models for reconstructing regulatory networks from high-throughput biological assays. His lab is studying molecular mechanisms of transcription and chromatin by combining novel high-throughput experiments and analysis, and more recently the analysis of cell-free chromatin.

Nitzan Rosenfeld

Cambridge

Nitzan Rosenfeld, PhD, FMedSci, is a Senior Group Leader at the University of Cambridge and CSO of Inivata, Ltd. Dr. Rosenfeld is a leader and pioneer of the field of cancer liquid biopsies. His research group at the CRUK-Cambridge Institute develops methods and proof-of-concept applications of liquid biopsies for cancer precision medicine. In 2014 he co-founded Inivata, a cancer genomics company unlocking liquid biopsies to transform the care of cancer patients, which was acquired in 2021 by NeoGenomics.

Robert Woodward

CareDx

Dr. Woodward joined CareDx in 2001 to apply genomics to the field of transplantation. He initially led biomarker discovery and the development of AlloMap, a gene expression test that has become an integral component of heart transplant patient care. More recently, Dr. Woodward led development and validation of AlloSure, a clinical application of cell-free DNA in solid organ transplantation.

Samuel Levy

Bluestar Genomics

Samuel Levy has served in leadership roles in multiple companies and in academic positions over the last 20 years. He has worked in diverse areas of genetics and genomics including human genome sequencing (Celera Genomics, J. Craig Venter Institute), clinical genomics and stem cell biology (Scripps Research Institute), oncology-based molecular diagnostics (Genomic Health) and single cell genomics for drug discovery (Quanticel Pharmaceutical acquired by Celgene). He co-founded Impact Genomics/Lexent Bio (acquired by Foundation Medicine) and was one of the early developers of epigenomics-derived liquid biopsy applications for molecular diagnostics at Bluestar Genomics.

Scott Bratman

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Dr. Scott Bratman is the Dr. Mariano Antonio Elia Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Research at University Health Network, Staff Radiation Oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Associate Professor at University of Toronto. Taking a bench-to-bedside approach, Dr. Bratman’s research program is devoted to the development of innovative tools for personalized cancer medicine, with a focus on head and neck cancer, risk-adapted therapy, and circulating biomarkers.

Scott Kopetz

MD Anderson

Scott Kopetz, MD, PhD, is an Oncologist in Houston, Texas, and is affiliated with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has been in practice for more than 20 years. Dr. Kopetz also enjoys the intellectual challenges of the lab, the emotional engagement of the clinic and has the motivation to bridge the two.

Sean Agbor-Enoh

NIH

Dr. Agbor is a Lasker Clinical Research Tenure-Track Investigator and Chief of Laboratory of Applied Precision Omics at NHLBI, with a joint appointment at Johns Hopkins. His research addresses gaps that contribute to poor transplant outcomes. He showed that cell-free DNA detects transplant rejection 2 – 4 months earlier than histopathology, setting the stage for clinical trials/research consortia that he leads, including Genomic Research Alliance for Transplantation (GRAfT), COVID-19 Injury Map and others. He is developing additional cell-free DNA approaches with broad applicability in transplant and non-transplant conditions.

Sevahn Vorperian

Stanford

Sevahn Vorperian is a fourth year doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. Advised by Professor Stephen Quake, Sevahn studies the origins of cell-free RNA using single cell transcriptomics and its applications in diagnostic technology development. She is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Benchmark Stanford Graduate Fellowship, and Stanford ChEM-H CBI.

Tim Blauwkamp

Karius

Tim Blauwkamp, co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Karius, has been driving innovation in DNA sequencing, regenerative medicine, and microbiology for 20 years. At Karius, Dr. Blauwkamp’s work with microbial cell-free DNA enabled the launch of the world’s first liquid biopsy test for infectious disease. As Head of Molecular Biology for Moleculo he led the company’s long-read DNA sequencing assay development and commercial service, culminating with the company’s acquisition by Illumina.

Yuval Dor

Hebrew University

Yuval Dor is a professor of biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where his lab studies postnatal tissue dynamics: the molecular mechanisms by which cells regenerate and die. Much of his work focuses on pancreatic beta-cells and diabetes, as well as pancreatic cancer. In recent years he has developed a method to study cell death in humans, using methylation signatures of cell-free circulating DNA. This new type of liquid biopsy opens a minimally-invasive window into tissue dynamics in health and in pathologies including cancer, infection, and neurodegeneration.