Invited Speakers

Below you will find the list of confirmed speakers for ILCA 2018 in alphabetical order. To discover the scientific programme details, please visit the Programme webpage. Click a name below for more information.

Jordi Bruix, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine at the University of Barcelona and director of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) Group within the Liver Unit at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Prof. Bruix is a member of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). He founded the International Liver Cancer Association, and was its president from 2006 to 2009. He has been Associate Editor of Journal of Hepatology, Liver Transplantation, and Hepatology, and has been appointed as editor-in-chief of Seminars in Liver Disease. Prof. Bruix is also a reviewer for several journals and official agencies in the USA, Europe, and Asia.

Prof. Bruix has been the principal investigator of studies and clinical trials that have changed practice in the field of HCC, including development of diagnostic criteria and prognostic models and establishment of chemoembolization, sorafenib and regorafenib as effective options. He developed the BCLC staging and treatment strategy that has been endorsed by several international scientific associations to guide management of patients with HCC.

Ann-Lii Cheng is distinguished professor and Director of the NTU Cancer Center of National Taiwan University. He received his MD degree, PhD degree, and his specialty training in internal medicine and medical oncology at the Medical School of the National Taiwan University. In 1990, he was a research fellow at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. Dr. Cheng has been actively involved in basic and translational research in hepatocellular carcinoma and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. He was elected as Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2007. He received the national award of “outstanding contributions for science and technology” in 2008 and a national award for academic excellence in 2010. He served as president of the Taiwan Oncology Society during 2009-2011. He was elected as National Chair Professorship in 2013, and has been the founding director of NTU Cancer Center. He currently serves as the president of APPLE (Asia Pacific Primary Liver Cancer Expert Meeting) society.

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo is the Robert and Renee Belfer Chair for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Professor in the Departments of Developmental and Molecular Biology and of Medicine of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and co-director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Studies. She obtained her MD and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular biology from the University of Valencia (Spain) in 1990 and 1994, respectively, and received postdoctoral training at Tufts University, Boston. In 2002, she started her laboratory at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she continues her studies in the role of protein-degradation in neurodegenerative diseases and aging.

Dr. Cuervo’s group is interested in understanding how altered proteins can be eliminated from the cells through the lysosomal system (autophagy) and how malfunction of autophagy in aging is linked to age-related disorders including neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases.

Jean-Francois Dufour studied mathematics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and received his medical degree from the Geneva Medical School. After training in internal medicine at the University Hospital Geneva and the University Hospital Bern, he joined the laboratory of Professor I. Arias at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA where he studied the effects of calcium signalling on bile canaliculus. He then returned to the clinic to complete a gastroenterology fellowship with Professor M. Kaplan at the New England Medical Center, also at Tufts University. In 1997, Professor Dufour established his own laboratory at the University of Bern where he is currently Clinic Director and Full Professor of Hepatology.

Professor of Medical Oncology at the University Paris VII (Denis Diderot), Clinical and Translational Research, Head and Neck & Digestive Oncology at Bichat-Beaujon University Hospitals, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris Nord Val de Seine, Paris. She graduated and was board certified in medical oncology in 1998. Working on cell signalling associated with heterotrimeric G-proteins and their role in cellular invasion, she obtained her PhD in cellular and molecular biology in 2002. After a post doctoral fellowship at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center & Institute for Drug Development at the University of Texas in San Antonio, she spent 6 years at Gustave-Roussy Institute in Villejuif (1998-2004) working on clinical and translational research in phase I-II clinical studies on early drug development where she was also coordinator of head and neck oncology.

Richard Finn is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and co-director of the Signal Transduction Program in the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. He currently splits his time between patient care and laboratory and clinical research. His research interests lie in the development of molecular targeted agents and biomarkers in liver cancer and breast cancer.

Mathias Heikenwälder, MD, PhD, Germany

Mathias Heikenwälder is a trained molecular biologist, with expertise in immunology and a strong link to translational research evoked by 10 years of work and expertise in a Pathology Institution (Clinical Pathology, University Hospital Zurich). Since July this year he is Division head at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg focusing on the link between chronic inflammation and cancer. Their laboratory aims at understanding the different immune signatures of chronic inflammatory human diseases using relevant mouse models – with the final aim to generate models of chronic inflammation potentially used for pre-clinical research. Thus, they focus on comparative studies of human and animal model tissues, recapitulating human disease on a histo-pathological and pathophysiological level. They engage in classical molecular biology techniques complemented with sophisticated ways to receive as much information from tissue samples through histology (e.g. light microscopy/ immune fluorescence/ FISH/ in situ hybridization), other in vivo imaging techniques (e.g. MRI) as well as through FACS analyses for tissue homogenates. Still at the same time they are also interested in the systemic functional effects of pathologies and the interplay between several affected non-lymphoid tissues and the immune system. Finally, testing several therapeutic compounds in a single use but also combinatorial fashion is one of their goals employing established and stratified pre-clinical mouse models.

Dr. Robin Kate Kelley is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with clinical and research focus on cancers of the liver and biliary tract. She is the Principal Investigator for multiple clinical trials of novel agents and combinations including immunotherapies. She also leads the UCSF Hepatobiliary Tissue Bank and Registry which collects annotated tumor and blood specimens along with longitudinal clinical data for translational and epidemiologic research.

Tak Wah Mak is Professor of Medical Biophysics and Immunology, University of Toronto; Director, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He is internationally known for his work in the molecular biology of cancer and the immune system, and a world leader in the genetics of immunology and cancer. In 1984, he led the group that discovered the T cell receptor, and his published work on the cloning of T cell antigen receptor genes has been cited over 1,200 times.

Kim M. Olthoff, MD, is the Donald Guthrie Professor of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery, and Vice Chair for Faculty Development of the Department of Surgery. Her clinical practice is focused in adult and pediatric liver transplantation, living donor surgery, and hepatobiliary malignancies. She created and co-leads the multidisciplinary hepatobiliary tumor program at Penn. On a national and international level, Dr. Olthoff is a Past-President for the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and is currently on the UNOS/OPTN Board of Directors, and chairs the Scholarship Committee for the International Liver Transplant Society. Dr. Olthoff has an active research program in clinical and translational studies that focus on living donation and liver regeneration, early allograft dysfunction, and liver cancer, and has published over 200 manuscripts, editorials, and chapters.

Prof. John Primrose is Professor of Surgery at the University of Southampton, a post he has held since 1994. He trained in Glasgow and Leeds where he was Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Surgery. His clinical interest is in cancer, particularly hepatobiliary (HPB) cancer and Southampton is a large tertiary referral centre for HPB disease. It is the largest laparoscopic HPB centre in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Torbenson is a Professor of Pathology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, where he specializes in GI and liver Pathology. Dr. Torbenson has authored over 250 papers on the pathology of the GI tract and liver, with a focus on chronic inflammatory diseases of the liver as well as primary liver tumours. In these papers, he has described several new pathology entities as well as several new tumour types. In addition, Dr. Torbenson has authored numerous book chapters, including in the WHO Classification of Tumors of the Digestive System. He has also authored or edited four books on liver pathology, including the most recent AFIP edition on tumours of the liver.

Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA.