News & Events

2019 Transoral Surgery Symposium

In recognition of its 10th Anniversary, the Ohlson Research Initiative is hosting a 1-day national symposium dedicated to enhancing knowledge and exploring the issues and controversies regarding the expanding role of Transoral Surgery in the treatment of head and neck cancer. The symposium aims to bring together multidisciplinary national and international experts in the field for a day of presentations, interactive panels and audience interaction to achieve these goals. The program brochure can be found here.

The Symposium is being held in Theatre 3 at the Cumming School of Medicine on Friday, September 27th, 2019. Attendees are required to register via Eventbrite.

Invited Presenters:

Dr. Michael Hinni - 2019 Ohlson Lecturer, "Lessons Learned in Transoral Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer"

Dr. Shamir Chandarana - “Emerging Trends in Epidemiology and Treatment of OPSCC”

Dr. Anthony Nichols - "The Emergence of Transoral Robotic Surgery in the Setting of the HPV Epidemic of Oropharyngeal Cancer" AND "Transoral Surgery De-escalation: Trials for HPV +ve Oropharyngeal Cancer"

Dr. Martin Bullock - "Pathological Interpretation of Transoral Surgery Specimens: Challenges and Opportunities"

Dr. Robyn Banerjee - "A Review of De-escalation Strategies for HPV-associated Oropharyngeal Cancer Using Primary Radiation Treatment"

Dr. Harry Quon - "The Potential for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence to Optimize the Therapeutic Ratio in the Management of HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Carcinomas"

Dr. John de Almeida - "Treatment Selection Based on Functional Outcomes"

Dr. Matt Rigby - "Transoral Laser Microsurgery for Laryngeal Cancer: Evidence and Considerations"

Panels:

"Controversies in TOS"

"TOS in the P16-ve Patient"

"TOS and the Primary Unknown Cancer"

Dr. Michael Hinni

2019 Ohlson Lecture

Michael Hinni, MD is Professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Mayo Clinic.  He received his MD degree at the University of Missouri--Kansas City and completed residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.  He then completed a fellowship in Head, Neck and Base of Skull Surgery at the Johannes Gutenberg University Hospital in Mainz Germany.  His clinical and research activities focus mainly on endoscopic transoral surgery for cancer and endocrine surgery.

Dr. Hinni has been an active member of multiple societies: American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, American College of Surgeons, American Head and Neck Society, Fellow of the American Laryngologic Association, Fellow of the Triological Society and Counsellor at Large of the American Bronchoesophagological Association.  He has been director of more than 20 head and neck surgical educational courses and invented surgical tools and laryngoscopes.

Dr. Hinni has authored or co-authored over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 16 book chapters, as well as edited three textbooks.  He has delivered over 200 national and international lectures and numerous additional proffered papers.  He also serves on the editorial staff of multiple journals.

Dr. Hinni will be delivering the 2019 Ohlson Lecture entitled "Lessons Learned in Transoral Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer" at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine on Friday, September 27th, 2019 in Theatre 3 at 8:50am as the Keynote Address for the Transoral Surgery Symposium.

Dr. Lillian Siu

2018 Ohlson Lecture

Dr. Lillian Siu is a senior medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 1998, and has been a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto since 2009. She is the Director of the Phase I Program and Co-Director of the Bras and Family Drug Development Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and holds the BMO Chair in Precision Genomics. She is also the Clinical Lead for the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Siu served on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) from 2012-2016 and also served as a member of the Nomination Committee for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) from 2014-2016. She currently serves on the AACR Board of Directors.

Dr. Siu’s major research focus is in the area of new anticancer drug development, particularly with respect to phase I trials and head and neck malignancies.  In addition to her active research in early phase clinical trials, she has been leading genomics initiatives and immuno-oncology trials at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Together, the three programs of drug development, cancer genomics and tumor immunotherapy form a triad of synergy that supports the institution’s core vision to deliver precision cancer medicine.

Internationally, Dr. Siu was the recipient of the US NCI Michaele C. Christian Award in Oncology Drug Development in 2010.  Locally, she was awarded the University of Toronto Department of Medicine Eaton Scholar Researcher in 2016.  She was the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants Selection Committee Chair in 2009-10. She was Chairperson of the AACR Education Committee, Co-Chairperson of the Scientific Committee for the 2012 Annual Meeting and Co-Chairperson for the Clinical Trials Committee 2015-2017. Dr. Siu has published over 280 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and she is currently a scientific editor for Cancer Discovery and is on the editorial board for JAMA Oncology.

Dr. Siu will be delivering the 2018 Ohlson Lecture entitled "Head and Neck Cancer – Moving Beyond Immune Checkpoint Blockade in the Immuno-oncology Era" at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine on Friday, October 5th, 2018 in Theatre 4 at 11:00am.

cover image

OPSCC in Alberta

The cover image for the November 2017 issue of Head & Neck is from a fluorescent     immunohistochemistry panel of oropharyngeal cancer images in the Hobbs et al article Primary treatment for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in Alberta, Canada: A population-based study. Ms. Hobbs was a graduate student under Dr. Dort and successfully defended her Master's thesis in September 2015. This work was funded by an Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions Clinician Fellowship Award and by the Ohlson Research Initiative.

Dr. Joseph A. Califano

2017 Ohlson Lecture

Dr. Joseph A. Califano, III received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He then completed a fellowship in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a residency in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

He was a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and served as the medical director of Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head and Neck Cancer Center at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Currently, Dr. Califano is the director of the Head and Neck Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health and the vice chief of the Division of Otolaryngology at UC San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery.

In addition, his research focuses on the molecular biological basis of head and neck cancer development. He has an interest in HPV-related cancers of the throat, as well as premalignant conditions of the upper aerodisgestive tract. He currently leads clinical trials investigating the use of Cialis to modulate immune suppression in head and neck cancer.

Dr. Califano will be delivering the 2017 Ohlson Lecture entitled "Novel Mechanisms of HPV Carcinogenesis" at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine on Friday, September 22nd, 2017 in the Clara Christie Theatre at 11:00 am. 

TORS tool

Women in Engineering Day

The Women in Engineering Day at the University of Calgary is an annual event to provide female high school students with a glimpse into the world of science and engineering. This event includes speaker panels, hands-on workshops and demonstrations. 

In 2016, the Ohlson Research Initiative in collaboration with Project neuroARM developed a tool for use in Trans-Oral Robotics Surgery (TORS). At the 2017 Women in Engineering Day, Dr. Ahmad Ghasemloonia and Mr. Peter Hillman will be performing demonstrations of this tool to showcase a cutting edge application of where biomechanical engineering meets surgical practice. A prototype of the TORS tool is shown below. 

Further information about Women in Engineering Day can be found at: https://schulich.ucalgary.ca/education/schools-and-community/women-engineering-day

Dr. Jeffrey N. Myers

2016 Ohlson Lecture

Dr. Jeffrey N. Myers received his medical (MD) and doctoral (PhD) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and he then completed his residency training in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He subsequently completed fellowship training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1997, where he has been on the faculty ever since. He is currently the Hubert L. and Olive Stringer Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research and Director of Research in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery. In addition, Dr. Myers leads a basic and translational research program and his primary research interests are in the role of p53 mutation in oral cancer progression, metastasis and response to treatment.

Dr. Myers will be delivering the 2016 Ohlson Lecture titled Leveraging Genomics to Improve Outcomes for Patients with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine on Friday, March 11, 2016 in the Clara Christie Theatre (Theatre 1) at 1:30pm.

Dr. John Bell

2014 Ohlson Lecture

Dr. John Bell received his PhD from McMaster University in 1982. The three years that followed, he trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and then at the Medical Research Council in London, England. Dr. Bell began his independent research career at McGill University in 1986 and moved to the University of Ottawa, Department of Medicine, in 1989. He is a member of the Center for Cancer Therapeutics at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center, a Senior Scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

He heads the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, a Terry Fox funded group from across Canada that is developing virus based cancer therapeutics and is the Director of the Biotherapeutics Program for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. His research program is directed towards the identification and characterization of novel viruses that specifically infect and kill cancer cells.

Dr. Bell will be delivering the 2014 Ohlson Lecture entitled "Oncolytic Viruses: Replicating Cancer Therapeutics" at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine on Friday, November 21, 2014 in the Clara Christie Theatre (Theatre 1) at 12pm.

Dr. Steven Jones

2013 Ohlson Lecture

Dr. Steven Jones gained his PhD at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK in 1999, where he was involved in the C. elegans genome project. Dr Jones has played a role in numerous other genome projects— including that of the human, mouse, rat, bovine, fruitfly and the SARS coronavirus.

Dr. Jones' major research focus is in the computational analysis of DNA sequence from human cancers. He has applied next generation DNA sequencing technology to detect mutations arising in both patient samples and in cancer cell lines in various cancer types and under the influence of different therapeutics.

Further significant contributions have been in the field of helping to establish bioinformatics training within Canada as Founding Director of the CIHR/MSFHR Bioinformatics Training Program for Health Research.

Dr. Jones has established himself as one of Canada’s brightest young scientists, being honored in 2006 with: The Spencer Award for IT Innovation from the University of British Columbia; The President’s 40th Anniversary Award from Simon Fraser University; Top 40 Under 40 Award from both Canada’s Caldwell Partners International and Business In Vancouver. In 2010 he was awarded the Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence from LifeSciences British Columbia and in November of 2011 Dr. Jones was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada as a Fellow in the Life Sciences Division of the Academy of Science. In April of 2012 Dr. Jones was awarded The Killam Teaching Award from the University of British Columbia.

He has been invited to give over 100 presentations, Nationally and Internationally, is an author on over 240 peer reviewed publications and is Principal Investigator and co-applicant on grants totaling over $20 million. Dr. Jones is the Associate Director and Head of Bioinformatics at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre of the British Columbia Cancer Agency. He is also a Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and a Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Jones will be delivering the 2013 Ohlson Lecture entitled "Sequencing Cancer Genomes for Clinical Decision Making?" at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 1:30pm, Health Sciences Centre, Room G500.

Dr. Robert J. Baatenburg de Jong

2012 Ohlson Lecture

Dr. Robert J. Baatenburg de Jong studied medicine at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He graduated in 1982 and started working as a senior house officer in General Surgery at the Zuiderziekenhuis in Rotterdam until 1984. From 1984 until 1988 he specialized in Otorhinolaryngology at the University Hospital Rotterdam. His Ph.D. thesis: “Ultrasound examination of the head and neck” was published in 1990. In the same year, he was rewarded a fellowship in head and neck oncology by the Dutch Cancer Foundation. The fellowship was spent in the Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center in Rotterdam and the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada. From 1990 to 2005 he was head of the department of head and neck surgery of the Leiden University. In 1998 he was granted a full professorship at the same institute. Since 2005 Robert is professor and chairman of the department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck surgery at the Erasmus Medical Center. The department is the largest in the Netherlands. Research is directed to metastasis in head and neck cancer, Raman spectroscopy and prognostic modelling. In addition, we participate in two large prospective cohort studies (ERGO and generation R).

His hobbies are: music (passive), sailing, an old Saab Cabrio, wining and dining, etc. Robert is married to Saskia (historian of art) and father of Bas and Leonie (fabulous twins).

Dr. Baatenburg de Jong will be delivering the  2012 Ohlson Lecture at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 in the Tom Baker Cancer Centre Auditorium (Room CC 104) at 8am.

Dr. Suresh K. Mukherji

2011 Ohlson Lecture

Dr. Suresh K. Mukherji is a Professor of Radiology, Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery and Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan where he is also the Division Director of Neuroradiology and Head & Neck Radiology. In addition, Dr. Mukherji is a Professor of Periodontics and Oral Medicine in the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Dr. Mukherji received his M. D. degree from Georgetown University. He completed his radiology residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. He was a Neuroradiology Fellow, with emphasis on head and neck imaging, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Mukherji is a recognized authority in Head & Neck and Neuroradiology. He has been an active contributor to the neuroradiology literature and has authored over 300 scientific manuscripts, 60 book chapters and 12 textbooks.

Dr. Mukherji’s primary interest has been focused on investigating emerging metabolic and physiologic imaging techniques to evaluate head and neck cancer and to differentiate recurrent tumors from post-therapeutic changes in previously treated patients. These technologies include imaging with fluorodeoxyglucose analogues imaged with prototype Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography, Gamma Cameras, standard PET, and CT-PET. Other metabolic and physiologic imaging techniques, which Dr. Mukherji has investigated, include Thallium-201, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, CT perfusion and CT spectral imaging.

Dr. Mukherji will be delivering the  2011 Ohlson Lecture entitled "The Role of Biologic Imaging in the Age of Personalized Medicine" at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine on Friday, October 28, 2011 in the Tom Baker Cancer Centre Auditorium (Room CC 104) at 12 noon.

Dr. Douglas Chepeha

2010 Ohlson Lecture

On Wednesday April 21, 2010, Dr. Douglas Chepeha from the Univeristy of Michigan delivered the inaugural Ohlson Lecture at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Chepeha, a head and neck surgeon, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan. He is also Director of the Microvascular Program, Director of the Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Surgery Fellowship and Co-Chair of the Research Committee.

Dr. Chepeha is a native Albertan who attended the University of Alberta and then completed his Otolaryngology residency at the University of British Columbia.  He subsequently pursued advanced fellowship training in microvascular reconstructive surgery in Toronto with Dr. Ralph Gilbert and an additional advanced oncology fellowship with Drs. Ramon Esclamado and Gregory Wolf at the University of Michigan.  Dr. Chepeha has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan for over 15 years.  His research interests include pursuing answers to clinical and translational research questions in head and neck oncology.

As the 2010 Ohlson Lecturer, Dr. Chepeha spent 3 days in Calgary interacting with members of the Ohlson research team as well as residents and faculty members from the Department of Oncology and the Division of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery.