Plenary Sessions

The iMig 2018 Scientific Committee is excited to announce the list of confirmed plenary speakers.

Plenary Session I: Global Perspective on Trends in Mesothelioma

Gunnar Hillerdal
Karolinska Hospital, Sweden

Pulmonary physician, studied at Uppsala University, Sweden. Studied asbestos-related diseases since 1975. Thesis 1980 about pleural plaques. Published a number of papers on mainly asbestos and the pleura, now half retired. Worked at the University Hospitals of Uppsala and Karolinska, Stockholm, now half-time work in Gavle, Sweden, as pulmonary specialist.

Paul Demers
University of Toronto, Canada

Paul Demers is the Director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre at Cancer Care Ontario and a Professor with the University of Toronto. He is an epidemiologist whose research focuses on workplace carcinogens and has been a member of many expert panels for IARC, NTP, US IOM, and others.

Matthew Soeberg
The University of Sydney, Australia

Matthew is an epidemiologist with the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute. His research focuses on accurately describing Australia’s malignant mesothelioma epidemic, including determining trends in incidence and survival. Matthew recently assisted the Vietnam Government’s Health and Environment Management Agency to publicly report cases of malignant mesothelioma recorded in Vietnam’s regional cancer registration system. Matthew completed his PhD at the University of Otago, Wellington, using linked Census, cancer and mortality data to determine ethnic and socioeconomic trends in cancer survival for 21 cancer sites. Matthew has worked for WHO on health impact assessment methods and a project looking at the environmental impacts of health sector activities. Matthew is also currently working on an Australian-first randomised controlled trial looking at cardiorespiratory and climate change co-benefits of improving energy efficiency and warmth in 1,000 low-income Australian households.

Plenary Session II: Immunotherapy of Mesothelioma

Francoise Galateau-Salle
Cancer Center Leon Berard, France

Biography TBA

Hedy Kindler
University of Chicago, USA

Biography TBA

Plenary Session III: Asbestos Control Perspectives: Before the Ban, the Ban, after the Ban

Eric Jonckheere
Belgian Asbestos Victims’ Association, Belgium

Eric Jonckheere is a Belgian airline pilot. Asbestos is part of his everyday environment since 1937. His grand-father Paul was a key player in keeping the Eternit factories open during WW2. Pierre, his father, worked at Eternit as an engineer. He grew up in Kapelle, north of Brussels. It was paradise until the passing of Pierre due to mesothelioma in 1987. He was 59. Then his mother, Francoise, and brothers, Pierre-Paul and Stephane, suffered from the same cancer, respectively in 2000, 2003 and 2010. He became an anti-asbestos activist when he realized many families couldn’t speak up. The entire village suffers from extensive environmental exposure but the local politicians and union leaders are at the mercy of the plants owners. Since their victory in the Brussels court, they have moved the case-law and the knowledge of the dangers of asbestos to the general public. As president of ABEVA, it’s important to share experiences across borders.

Guillermo Villamizar
Fundclas, Colombia

I am visual artist and from art social practices. I did research about asbestos related diseases and its impact in colombian health workers.

Peter Tighe
Australian Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, Australia

Peter Tighe was appointed Chief Executive Officer in August 2013 for a period of five years. Peter was National Secretary of the Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union from 1995 to 2013 and was also National Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union and Executive Member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions from 1991 to 2013. Mr Tighe was also chair of EE-Oz Energy Skills Australia, E-Profiling Pty Ltd, the National Electrical and Electronic Industry Training Council and trustee/board member of CBUS Superannuation. Mr Tighe has extensive experience in workplace health and safety issues and in tackling the hazards of asbestos containing materials.

Bob Blakely
Canada’s Building Trades Unions, Canada

Biography TBA

Plenary Session IV: The Genome and Epigenetics of Mesothelioma

Jean Didier
INSERM, France

Dr Didier JEAN is an Inserm research scientist in Paris. After his PhD in France, he carried out postdoctoral studies at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Since 2010, he has focused his basic and translational research on malignant pleural mesothelioma, aiming to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying this pathogenesis.

Michele Carbone
University of Hawaii Cancer Center, USA

Carbone proposed that genetics influenced environmental carcinogenesis, studied his hypothesis in remote areas of the world and designed the experiments to answer these questions. He discovered that heterozygous germline BAP1 mutations modulate susceptibility to asbestos and to UV-light and thus cause cancer, and elucidated key mechanisms.

Plenary Session V: Multidisciplinary Management

Harvey Pass
New York University, USA

Harvey I. Pass MD is the Stephen E. Banner Professor of Thoracic Oncology at NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Pass has co-authored over 530 peer-reviewed publications and 11 books. Dr. Pass has been the recipient of the NIH Directors Award, the IMIG Wagner Medallion, the Pioneer Award from the Mesothelioma Foundation, and the Merit Award from the IASLC.

John Cho
Princess Margaret Hospital, Canada

Dr. John Cho is a staff radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. He did his medical training at Queen’s University, residency at University of Alberta, and a doctorate at University of Amsterdam. His research interest is focused on multimodality treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. He is a PI on the SMART (Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy) study which is evaluating the results of short accelerated hemithoracic radiation followed by extra-pleural pneumonectomy.

Andreas Rimner
Memorial Sloan Kettering, USA

Andreas Rimner, M.D., is an assistant attending in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York. He earned his medical degree at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Germany. In 2003, he did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory for radiation biology of Dr. Zvi Fuks, after which he went on to complete his residency and chief residency in radiation oncology at MSKCC. In 2010, Dr. Rimner joined the faculty as the primary thoracic radiation oncologist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at MSKCC. Given his interest in rare malignancies of the thorax, including malignant pleural mesothelioma, he has been an active expert member of the MSKCC mesothelioma group and has recently completed a phase II study on the role of hemithoracic pleural IMRT. He has authored multiple peer-reviewed original articles and reviews about the role of radiation therapy in this rare disease and is currently the Principal Investigator of a prospective multicenter phase II trial on hemithoracic pleural IMRT after lung-sparing surgery and another clinical trial on the combination of immunotherapy and radiation therapy for mesothelioma.

Plenary Session VI: Immunotherapy, Bench to Bedside

Jenette Creaney
University of Western Australia, Australia

Professor Jenette Creaney is a molecular biologist within the School of Medicine, University of Western Australia (UWA). She is a principal investigator with the National Research Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD) and heads the Biomarkers and Discovery Unit. Her research program focusses on biomarkers and integrates biospecimen collection and laboratory research within a framework of clinical trials.

Christophe Blanquart
University of Nantes, France

Dr. Christophe Blanquart is Associate Researcher at CRCINA in Nantes (France). He started to work on mesothelioma in 2009. His work aims at developing immunotherapy approaches based on the use of epigenetic drugs. Currently, his research focuses on the evaluation of new epigenetic drug combinations to improve anti-tumor effect.

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