2017 Confirmed Symposium Speakers:

Alexander Eggermont

Institut Gustave Roussy

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Alexander  Eggermont  is  the  Director  General  of  the  Gustave  Roussy  CCC,  Villejuif/Paris-Sud,  France.  He
is  Full  Professor  of  Oncology  (Classe  Exceptionnelle)  at  the  Paris-Sud  University  in  Paris.  He  is  Full  Professor of Surgical Oncology as well as Endowed Professor of  International  Networking  in  Cancer  Research  at  the Erasmus  University  Medical  Centre  in  Rotterdam,  The Netherlands. He holds the Joseph Maisin Chair in Oncology  at  the  Catholic  University  of  Leuven  in  Belgium.  In 1987, he obtained his PhD in tumor immunology on ‘Interferon and IFN-Inducers in the Treatment of Cancer’ at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and he is a former Fellow  of  the  NCI  Surgery  Branch,  Bethesda,  USA.  His clinical specialties include immunotherapy, melanoma, sarcoma and regional therapy techniques as well as general  drug  development.  Alexander  Eggermont  is  a  past Chair of the EORTC Melanoma Group and current Chair of the Adjuvant Therapy Committee EORTC MG.

Marij Welters

Leiden University Medical Center

Patrick Hwu

MD Anderson

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Dr. Patrick Hwu is a leading tumor immunologist focused on the areas of vaccines, adoptive T-cell therapies, and immune resistance. He was recruited to MD Anderson Cancer Center as the first Chairman of the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology in 2003. He has served as Co-Director of the Center for Cancer Immunology Research since 2004. In addition, he has been Chair of the Department of Sarcoma Medical Oncology since June 2012. Most recently, he accepted the appointment of Head of the Division of Cancer Medicine, Dr. Hwu's research and clinical efforts have led to insights and advances in the understanding of the interactions between tumors and the immune system, and the development of cellular therapies. He is the principal investigator on several NIH R01 translational immunotherapy grants, and other peer-reviewed grants. Several novel, ongoing clinical trials have resulted based on his group’s work, which include a trial of T-cells modified with chemokine receptor genes to enhance their migration to the tumor. Most recently, his preclinical studies have focused on combinations of immune checkpoint blockade and T-cell therapy, as well as rational combinations of targeted therapies and immunotherapies. Both of these concepts are being moved into the clinic to improve treatment outcomes for our patients.

Johanna Olweus

Oslo University Hospital Radiumhospitalet/Jebsen Center for Cancer Immunotherapy

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Johanna Olweus received her M.D. and her Ph.D. from the University of Bergen, Norway. She is a specialist in Immunology and Transfusion medicine and since 2008 Full Professor at the University of Oslo and Head of Department of Cancer Immunology at the Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital Radiumhospitalet. Since 2013 she is the Director of K.G. Jebsen Center for Cancer Immunotherapy. Olweus and her research group focus on the development of new strategies for T-cell based cancer immunotherapy and mechanistic analyses of the immune responses in clinical immunotherapy trials.

Christian Ottensmeier

University of Southampton

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Christian Ottensmeier is Professor in Experimental Cancer Medicine at University of Southampton. He graduated in Münster, Germany and began his specialist training there. After a 3-year training fellowship in the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, he moved to Southampton. He completed his oncology training and also undertook his PhD there. He has been a consultant in medical oncology since 2000. Clinically his interests are thoracic malignancies and melanoma, and he has co-developed a number of national NCRI studies in lung cancer. He manages a broad and active clinical trials portfolio in both lung cancer and melanoma.Christian leads the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre in Southampton, and the early translation of immunotherapeutic strategies into the clinic is his core academic interest. The portfolio of his own trials includes single centre and multicentre studies with both immunotherapeutics developed in house as well as collaborative work with industry.

Manel Esteller Badosa

University of Barcelona

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Manel Esteller graduated in Medicine from the Universitat de Barcelona, where he also obtained his Ph.D. degree specialising in molecular genetics of endometrial carcinoma. Dr. Esteller was a Postdoctoral Fellow and a Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins University and School of Medicine, (Baltimore, USA) where he studied DNA methylation and human cancer. His work was decisive in establishing promoter hypermethylation of tumour suppressor genes as a common hallmark of all human tumours. From October 2001 to September 2008 Manel Esteller was the Leader of the CNIO Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory. Since October 2008, Dr Esteller is the Director of the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program (PEBC) of the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL) in Barcelona, Professor of Genetics in the University of Barcelona, and an ICREA Research Professor. His current research is devoted to the establishment of the epigenome maps of normal and transformed cells, the study of the interactions between epigenetic modifications and non-coding RNAs, and the development of new epigenetic drugs for cancer therapy. Author of more than four hundred original peer-reviewed manuscripts, he is also a Member of numerous international scientific societies, Editorial Boards, reviewer for many journals and funding agencies and recipient of prestigious awards.

Olivier Lantz

Institut Curie

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Olivier Lantz heads the clinical immunology laboratory at the Institut Curie Hospital in Paris. He also heads a basic immunology research group in the research center. He received his MD and Ph.D. degrees from Orsay University in 1986 and 1990, respectively. Before joining Institut Curie in 2000, he was associate professor at the Medical University of Paris South. He is author or coauthor of over 120 peer-reviewed articles. His research interests are focused on basic immunology (discovery and characterization of NKT and MAIT cells, biology of CD4 T cells, interactions between the immune system and tumors). He is strongly involved in translational immuno-oncology (immunomonitoring, biomarkers, preclinical assessment of anti tumor immunotherapies).

Eric Vivier

Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy

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Eriv Vivier is a professor of immunology at Aix-Marseille University, France. He graduated with the highest honors (silver medal) from the École Nationale Vétérinaire de Masons-Alfort and received his doctoral degree in immunology from Paris XI University. He began his post-doctoral training as a Fogarty International Center Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School with Paul J. Anderson and Stuart F. Schlossman (the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).
He joined Aix-Marseille University as a professor at the Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML) in 1993 and became its director in 2008. In 1999, Dr. Vivier cofounded the biotech company Innate-Pharma.
In 2014, he was one of the founders of Marseille-Immunopole, an immunology cluster linking fundamental research, therapeutic innovation, and industrial development in the Aix-Marseille region.
The Vivier laboratory has since been a world leader in the generation of transgenic mouse models for the dissection of NK-cell function in vivo. Building on these basic research results, the Vivier laboratory has also been involved in the development of innovative treatments for cancer.
These studies on NK cells led to the involvement of the Vivier laboratory in the discovery of ILCs through the detection and characterization of the ILC3 cell subset in human and mouse intestine. Dr. Vivier has published more than 300 scientific articles and is on the editorial boards of leading peer-reviewed journals.
In recognition of his scientific achievements, Dr. Vivier has received numerous awards, e.g. from the French National League against Cancer (1996, 2004, and 2013). In 2007, Dr. Vivier became a senior fellow of the Institut Universitaire de France, and, in 2013, he was elected to the French National Academy of Medicine.


Ugur Sahin


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Ugur Sahin is the co-founder and CEO of  BioNTech AG. He is an entrepreneurial researcher and inventor who has made essential contributions to more than 60 independent patents in various life science and biotechnology fields, including pioneering innovations that provide the basis for the foundation of BioNTech AG.  His key focus is translating scientific ideas into innovations that help individual patients, an interest that was originally prompted by his experiences as a trained physician. Ugur Sahin has received prestigious awards from  the  German  Hemato-Oncology Association, the German Association for Immunology, the  German Ministry of Education and Research, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Ugur Sahin is a co-founder of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals,  a co-founder and chair of the translational research institute TRON, and a co-founder of the CI3- Rhein-Main Cluster for Individualized Immune Intervention.

Carl Figdor

Radboud University Medical Center

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Carl Figdor is professor of Experimental Immunology Radboud University. In 2006 he received the NWO/Spinoza Prize for his groundbreaking research into the use of immune cells against cancer and for how he translates fundamental research into patient care. Carl Figdor played an important role in the founding of the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, which under his leadership has become an institute of excellence with world fame aspirations.006 for his groundbreaking research into the use of immune cells against cancer and for how he translates fundamental research into patient care. Carl Figdor played an important role in the founding of the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, which under his leadership has become an institute of excellence with world fame aspirations.

Özlem Türeci

Ci3-Cluster for Individualized Immune Intervention

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Özlem Türeci is an MD with over 20 years experience in cancer research where her main focus has been the identification of immunotherapeutic drug targets and development of antibody-based therapies for solid tumors. She is a founder of Ganymed, and she became Chief Executive Officer in November 2008. She is chair and co-initiator of the Cluster of individualized Immunointervention (CI3, winner of the German leading-edge cluster competition in 2012).  Furthermore, she is an executive board member of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) and is dedicated to immunovation. ÖzlemTüreci co-developed the SEREX technology for the characterization of tumor antigens. She was awarded the Vincenz Czerny Prize of the German Association for Hematology and Oncology, and the Calogero Pagliarello Research Prize of the University of Saarland.

Stefan Stevanovic

University of Tübingen

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Stefan Stevanović is Professor in Molecular Immunology at the University of Tübingen. For many years, he has been working on the elucidation of interactions between MHC molecules, their ligands, and T cells. Antigen processing leading to the generation of T-cell epitopes from viral proteins or tumor-associated antigens has been a major focus of his work. After revealing most of the relevant HLA peptide motifs, he helped to establish the website SYFPEITHI, a widely used tool for epitope prediction. In order to establish cancer immunotherapy based on peptide vaccination, he has build-up a GMP laboratory for synthetic peptides. Topics in basic research: HLA-peptide interactions, mapping of the HLA ligandome by ligand elution and mass spectrometric analysis, determination of peptide motifs of all common HLA molecules, screening for T cell reactions against viral epitopes. Applied and translational research: Epitope prediction, GMP-grade peptide synthesis, composition of multi-epitope peptide cocktails for immunotherapy. 

Vincenzo Cerundolo

University of Oxford

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Vincenzo Cerundolo is Professor of Immunology and Director of the MRC Human Immunology Unit of the University of Oxford. He graduated in Medicine at the University of Padua, Italy where he completed his PhD in Immunology, and subsequently moved to the UK as an EMBO Fellow to work with Professor Alain Townsend on antigen presentation. In 1990 he described the first human antigen processing deficient cells, which led to the cloning and characterisation of TAP1 and TAP2 genes. Vincenzo was appointed Professor of Immunology at the University of Oxford in 2000 and became Director of the MRC Human Immunology Unit in 2010. In 2012 he was appointed Head of the Investigative Medicine Division of the newly-formed Radcliffe Department of Medicine of the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of Merton College, of the Royal College of Pathologists, Batsheva Fellow of the Israeli Academy of Medical Sciences, and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK. Research carried out in Professor Cerundolo’s laboratory is mainly focussed on gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms that control the cell-cell interplay required for optimal expansion and activation of tumour-specific T cell populations and to apply this knowledge to the development of better treatment strategies in cancer patients.