An estimated 2,800 Canadian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. As the most serious of women’s cancers, researchers from across the nation work to further understand this disease and improve treatments.
Recognizing the power of collaboration, researchers come together once every two years at the Biennial Canadian Conference on Ovarian Cancer Research (CCOCR). This conference provides both basic scientists and clinicians the opportunity to network, share ideas and resources, and ignite collaborative ovarian cancer research activities.
This year’s conference is being hosted at the Hilton Fallsview in Niagara Falls, Ontario from Sunday, May 15, 2016 to Tuesday, May 17, 2016. A group of outstanding southwestern Ontario researchers have been hard at work organizing the event.
Dr. Trevor Shepherd is one of four co-chairs, representing Lawson Health Research Institute where he is a Scientist and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University where he is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oncology, and Anatomy & Cell Biology. His three fellow co-chairs are Dr. Hal Hirte of McMaster Univeristy, Dr. Ted Brown of the University of Toronto and honorary co-chair, Elisabeth Baugh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ovarian Cancer Canada.
As co-chairs, Dr. Shepherd and his colleagues are responsible for organizing a scientifically robust program and securing key sponsorship funding. The conference includes multiple symposiums. These are organized around specific ovarian cancer research topics with insights from world-renowned researchers. It also includes poster presentations, special lectures, networking opportunities and more.
“The CCOCR has united many ovarian cancer researchers from across Canada to form a strong collaborative community that is dedicated to translational research activities,” says Dr. Shepherd. “There are several national resources and collaborations that were initiated through previous CCOCR brainstorming workshops. This is actually quite envied by international colleagues where these strong national collaborations do not always exist.”
There is also a local organizing committee that represents basic scientists and clinicians from major centres in southwestern Ontario. Lawson’s Dr. Gabriel DiMattia, Interim Director for the Cancer Research Laboratory Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, is one member of this committee. In addition to playing a crucial role in the event’s organization, Dr. DiMattia will be moderating “Symposium V: Strategies Targeting Late-stage Disease Mechanisms” and judging oral presentations at the event itself.
“This conference is a critically important biennial forum,” says Dr. DiMattia. “I am excited to interact with other ovarian cancer researchers and potentially develop new collaborative projects.”
Prior to the conference’s official scientific program, a Trainee Day takes place on Saturday, May 14. Three trainees from London, Ontario will be taking part in the program, as well as presenting posters at the event.