We are happy to have received the possibility of having renowned speakers share their research with us at AMP EUROPE 2018!

Omar Abudayyeh, MD, PhD, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA
Aysel Ahadova, PhD, Heidelberg University, Germany
Rene Bernards, PhD, Netherlands Cancer Insitute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
William Dalton, PhD, MD, M2Gen, Tampa, FL, USA
Sandi Deans, PhD, UK National External Quality Assessment Service (UK NEQAS), Sheffield, UK
Carl Figdor, PhD, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Mark Hoffman, PhD, The Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO, USA
Hugo Horlings, MD, PhD, Netherlands Cancer Insitute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS, Natera, San Carlos, CA, USA
Michael Neumaier, MD, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
Marina N. Nikiforova, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Klaus Pantel, MD, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
Trevor Pugh, PhD, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada
Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, West Cancer Center, Memphis, TN, USA


Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH

Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, is Director of Clinical Research at West Cancer Center and Associate Vice Chancellor of Research at University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. He received his medical degree in 2005 from the University of Pennsylvania, obtained a Masters in Biomedical Ethics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard. He completed internal medicine training at UCLA, and fellowship hematology/oncology at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. At West Cancer Center, Dr. VanderWalde serves as Chair of the Protocol Review Committee, co-chair of the Molecular Oncology Tumor Board, and Chair of the Cutaneous Malignancy Tumor Board. He additionally serves as the Chair of the Clinical Trials Governance Board at University of Tennessee, the Medical Director of the Clinical Trial Network of Tennessee (CTN2), and the Executive Director of the Office of Clinical Research. Dr. VanderWalde has conducted multiple studies in immunotherapy and targeted therapy, including serving as PI for a number of immunotherapy and targeted therapy basket trials. He is a recipient of grants from the American Association of Cancer Research, Stand Up to Cancer, and the Hope Foundation, among others.

Trevor Pugh, PhD, FACMG

Trevor Pugh, PhD, FACMG is a cancer genomics researcher and clinical molecular geneticist interested in understanding clonal shifts in cancer and non-cancerous cell populations in serial biopsies and circulating tumour DNA collected during clinical trials, particularly immunotherapies. He is also working to decipher subclonal genetic relationships amongst metastatic sites suggestive of effective combination treatments, and to discover oncogenic mechanisms underlying tumours of unknown etiology including breast, brain, neuroendocrine, gynecological, pediatric, and other rare cancers. Dr. Pugh is appointed as Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto Department of Medical Biophysics. He is Scientific Director of the Princess Margaret Genomics Centre and Director of the Translational Genomics Laboratory, a joint initiative with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research to enable clinically-oriented genomics projects. He also spends a portion of his time as a clinical molecular geneticist within the University Health Network Laboratory Medicine Program.

Klaus Pantel, MD

Klaus Pantel, MD is Chairman of the Institute of Tumour Biology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. The institute is part of the Centre of Experimental Medicine and the University Cancer Center Hamburg (UCCH). Prof Pantel graduated in 1986 from Cologne University in Germany and completed his thesis on mathematical modelling of haematopoiesis in 1987. After his postdoctoral period in the USA on hematopoietic stem cell regulation (Wayne State University, Detroit), he performed research at the Institute of Immunology, University of Munich for 10 years. The pioneer work of Prof Pantel in the field of cancer micrometastasis, circulating tumor cells and circulating nucleic acids (ctDNA, microRNAs) is reflected by more than 400 publications in excellent high ranking biomedical and scientific journals (incl. NEJM, Lancet, Nature Journals, Cancer Cell, Science Translational Medicine, Cancer Discovery, PNAS, JCO, JNCI, Cancer Res.) and has been awarded the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award 2010, German Cancer Award 2010, and ERC Advanced Investigator Grant 2011. Moreover, Prof Pantel coordinates the European IMI consortium CANCER-ID (www.cancer-id.eu) on blood-based “Liquid Biopsies” in lung and breast cancer comprising 37 partner institutions from academia, non-profit organzations and industry.

Marina N. Nikiforova, MD, FCAP

Marina N. Nikiforova, MD, FCAP Professor of Pathology Director, Molecular & Genomic Pathology Laboratory Department of Pathology University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Marina N. Nikiforova, MD, FCAP is Professor of Pathology and Director of the Molecular & Genomic Pathology Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Nikiforova has a longstanding clinical and research interests in genomics of thyroid cancer and brain tumors and she has led the development of a novel NGS-based tests for preoperative diagnosis of thyroid cancer in FNA samples (ThyroSeq) and for diagnosis, prognostication and treatment of adult and pediatric brain tumors (GlioSeq). Dr. Nikiforova is a member of the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) where she served on Nominating committee, Program Committee, and as a Chair of Solid Tumors subdivision. During past two years, Dr. Nikiforova served as a Chair of the Clinical Practice Committee and on the Board of Directors at AMP. Under her leadership, the committee has developed analytical and clinical guidelines for NGS analysis and variant interpretation in cancer. She is also a member of the Laboratory Practice Committee at the American Thyroid Association (ATA). Dr. Nikiforova has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles and five book chapters, most of which in the area of molecular diagnostics of cancer.

Michael Neumaier, MD

Michael Neumaier, MD is a Clinical Chemist and Laboratory Physician. He holds the chair for Clinical Chemistry of Heidelberg University in Germany. He is the vice Dean of his Medical Faculty, the director of the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and member of the Executive Board at the University Hospital Mannheim. Since 2009 he is a member of the German National Gene Diagnostics commission at the Robert-Koch-Institute, Berlin, a long-standing member in the advisory board of the German Medical Council and chairman of the working group on Quality Management in Molecular Diagnostics. In the German Society for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (DGKL), he acts – by appointment of the German Chamber of Physicians - as a director of the comprehensive national external quality assessment (EQA) system run by the Reference Institute for Bioanalytics (RfB). Since 1998, he has initiated and organized various regular EQA programs for molecular diagnostics with up to 700 participating laboratories. Between 2014 and 2016, Prof. Neumaier was President of DGKL. Since 2018 he is President of the EFLM. His main scientific interests are the pathobiochemistry of malignant disease, the development and validation of methods for the molecular diagnostics of cancer in bodily fluids and the molecular immunology of innate immune cells expressing variable immunoreceptors.

C. Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS

Cheng-Ho Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS is the Chief Scientific Officer, Oncology, at Natera. He comes from a long history as a pioneer in cancer genomics. Most recently, he led the clinical genomics program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Previously, at Johns Hopkins and Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Lin was part of one of the first clinical genomics labs in academia and led the computational analyses of the first ever exome sequencing studies in cancer, including breast, colorectal, pancreatic, glioblastoma, medulloblastoma, and melanoma. He has published in top academic journals, such as Science, Nature, and Cell, and has been an expert in national and international media outlets, such as New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Washington Post, and the Financial Times. Dr. Lin holds an MHS in Bioinformatics, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and an MD from Johns Hopkins University as well dual majors in Cognitive Science and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University.

Hugo Horlings, MD, PhD

Hugo Horlings, M.D., PhD, is a certified surgical pathologist from the Netherlands (2014). My areas of expertise include breast, gynecological and molecular pathology. I have been awarded with a Translational research fellowship 2014-2018 from the Dutch Cancer Society to obtain training in clinical genomics – the application of large scale and high throughput genomic technologies in clinical settings. This will maximize my ability as a pathologist to make personalized medicine a reality. I have pursued this training in the laboratories of prof. Marc van de Vijver, Prof. Rene Bernards, Prof David Huntsman and in collaboration with several other experts at Stanford University and Rockefeller University USA. Currently, I am starting my own research group at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. The main research interest of my group is to define genetic properties of breast and ovarian carcinomas associated with cancer- immune interactions and response to immunotherapy.

Mark Hoffman, PhD

Mark Hoffman, PhD, serves as the Chief Research Information officer for Children’s Mercy Hospital (CMH) and the Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Hoffman has delivered a TED talk on the “Envirome” and won the iThermometer category in the Google wearable devices in healthcare challenge in 2015. He is an inventor on 19 issued patents and a member of the American Academy of Inventors. Dr. Hoffman is the PI on a CDC funded laboratory data warehouse project. Prior to CMH, he served as VP for Research and Genomics at Cerner, where he led the development of their molecular diagnostics solution, their clinical trials capability, initiatives in public health and their “big data” research efforts. Twitter: @markhoffmankc

Carl Figdor, PhD

Carl Figdor PhD, is a professor of Immunology and head of the department of Tumor Immunology at the Radboudumc in Nijmegen. He obtained his Masters degree in biology in 1979 from the University of Utrecht and his PhD degree in medicine in 1982 from the University of Amsterdam working at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, where he got tenured in 1985 and started his own research group. In 1992 Carl Figdor became Professor in Cell Biophysics at the University of Twente, and in 1994 he moved to the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen to start a new department on Tumor Immunology. Here he initiated a large translational program exploiting the immune system to fight cancer. Until 2010, he was scientific director of the RIMLS, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, a research institute within the domain of molecular mechanisms of disease that became internationally recognized during his leadership In 2006, he won the Spinoza Prize, which is also known as “the Dutch Nobel Prize”, for his groundbreaking research on the use of immune cells against cancer and for the translation of fundamental research into patient care. His research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms controlling antigen presenting cells, in particular dendritic cells. Carl Figdor was one of the first to use dendritic cell therapy in patients. He modified dendritic cells to ‘teach’ a patient’s immune system to recognize tumor cells. Major current research projects include the use of antigen loaded dendritic cell vaccines in the treatment of cancer patients and the generation of synthetic dendritic cells. Professor Figdor received several prizes and honours including the Van Loghem Award (1999), Eijkman Medal (2000), Spinoza prize (2006), Dutch Cancer Foundation research award, the ERC Advanced Grant (2010) and the NWO Gravity Grant (2013). He is a member of the Academia Europaea and the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences. He became a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2012.

Rene Bernards, PhD

René Bernards, PhD, his laboratory at the Netherlands Cancer Institute uses functional genomic approaches to find vulnerabilities of cancers that can be exploited therapeutically. Using the concept of synthetic lethality, his laboratory searches for combinations of drugs that are lethal for cancer cells and for vulnerabilities of cancer cells of a defined genotype. As one example, his laboratory identified the combination of a BRAF inhibitor and an EGFR inhibitor as effective for the treatment of BRAF mutant colon cancer. There are currently eleven clinical trials ongoing that test the efficacy of the cancer therapies suggested by genetic screens from his laboratory. He also developed the first clinically used gene expression test for early breast cancer: MammaPrint.

Omar Abudayyeh, MD, PhD

Omar O. Abudayyeh, MD, PhD, is an M.D.–Ph.D. student in the Harvard–Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Health Sciences and Technology program. In the laboratory of Feng Zhang at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, his doctoral research focuses on the discovery and characterization of novel CRISPR proteins, such as Cpf1, C2c1 and Cas13a/C2c2, in bacteria for the purpose of expanding the genome-editing toolbox and studying mammalian biology. His recent work has focused on using the RNA-targeting CRISPR system Cas13 for building a transcriptome engineering toolbox for applications in diagnostics and therapeutics.

William S. Dalton, PhD, MD

William S. Dalton PhD, MD, is a medical oncologist and molecular pharmacologist with an interest in new drug discovery and mechanisms of drug resistance. He is also the past President and CEO of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, USA. He founded a health information solutions company called M2Gen, and helped form ORIEN (Oncology Research Information Exchange Network), a data sharing alliance, comprised of seventeen of the nation’s leading cancer centers. The mission of ORIEN is to accelerate cancer discovery and deliver hope through collaborative learning and partnerships. Dr. Dalton helped to develop an IRB approved protocol called Total Cancer Care (TCC) designed to follow patients throughout their lifetime, with patients consenting to provide clinical, tissue, and molecular data to support precision medicine. All ORIEN members agree to use the same TCC protocol and consent and have developed standards for data generation and sharing. The ORIEN system is now being used to identify new cancer biomarkers to predict treatment response, molecular pathways to determine mechanisms of resistance, and development of evidence-based clinical decision support tools at the point of care. He has over 200 publications, and numerous patents in the fields of drug discovery and computer/information networking.

Sandi Deans, PhD

Sandi Deans, PhD is a Consultant Clinical Scientist and the Director of Genomics Quality Assessment (GenQA) part of the UK National External Quality Assessment Service (UK NEQAS) which is based in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The EQA Scheme delivers assessment of molecular genetic testing, molecular pathology testing, cytogenomic testing, newborn screening, prenatal diagnosis, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, variant interpretation and a technical next generation sequencing scheme; ensuring high quality genomic testing, end to end. Dr Deans is the National Laboratory and Scientific Lead within the NHS England 100,000 Genomes Project Genomic Implementation Unit and collaborates closely with Genomics England to deliver high quality whole genome sequencing for both the rare diseases and cancer programmes. Dr Deans is a Honorary Reader in Genomic Medicine at Edinburgh Univeristy and a Senior Honorary Lecturer in the Medical School, University of St. Andrews.

Organizing Committee


Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, PhD

Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA

Rami Mahfouz, MD, MPH

American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Vice Chair

Winand Dinjens, PhD

Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Ernst-Jan Speel, PhD

Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Albrecht Stenzinger, MD

University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Laura Tafe, MD

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, USA


For the conflict of interest disclosures of the Organizing Committee, please see HERE.