Meet The Experts

Experts' biographies and publications

Assoc. Prof. Gerald Prager

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Assoc. Prof. Gerald Prager

Dr. Gerald Prager is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Board Certified for Internal Medicine Board and Certified for Haematology and Medical Oncology. In 2009, he received his M.D. from the University of Vienna. Currently, Dr. Prager is Director of the Colorectal Cancer Unit of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Medical University of Vienna. He is also a member of the ESMO 2014 Scientific Committee.

The research interest of his lab focuses on (tumour-) angiogenesis via regulation of endothelial cell survival and migration by cell / extracellular-matrix interaction. Through his clinical training in haemato-oncology, he became a member of the sought-after group of medical researches. He achieved his expertise in international renowned labs at University of California, San Diego, the Norris Cancer Center, Los Angeles and the Department of Vascular Biology, Mississippi University for Women (MUW). His work is honoured by 19 international awards and resulted in publications in international highly renowned journals. Dr Prager’s young research group is embedded in an international cancer research campus associated with Medical University of Vienna (MUV).

Dr Autumn McRee

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Dr Autumn McRee

Dr. Autumn McRee is an Associate Professor of Medicine specializing in gastrointestinal (GI) medical oncology at The University of North Carolina (UNC). She graduated from the McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas in Houston and completed her Internal Medicine residency at Vanderbilt University. During her hematology/oncology fellowship at UNC, she developed an interest in GI oncology and now as faculty, has established a career dedicated to early drug development and experimental therapeutics with an emphasis in pancreatic and hepatobiliary cancers. Dr. McRee demonstrates the unique combination of clinical trial productivity and correlative science knowledge that has allowed her to seamlessly bridge the gap between scientists and clinicians with a translational research focus in tissue-based research, next generation sequencing and bioinformatics. She oversees the GI clinical trials program at UNC, serving as PI for trials both industry sponsored and investigator initiated. Dr. McRee also is an active member of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and co-chairs the Hoosier Cancer Research Network GI Clinical Trials Working Group.

Dr. Andrea Sartore-Bianchi

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Dr. Andrea Sartore-Bianchi

Dr. Andrea Sartore-Bianchi is head of Clinical Molecular Oncology at the Department of Hematology & Oncology, Niguarda Cancer Center, Milano, Italy. He completed his medical degree at the University of Pavia in 1999, and undertook specialist training at IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo. After completing his doctoral studies, he conducted preclinical research at the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Cancer Therapeutics in the Department of Medicine at Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.

Dr. Sartore-Bianchi’s main clinical and research interests include the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, particularly colorectal carcinomas, focusing on biomarkers of sensitivity/resistance to molecular-targeted therapies and on the epidermal growth factor receptor signal transduction pathway. He is principal and co-investigator in Phase I-II-III clinical trials for gastrointestinal malignancies, and first author of research articles in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research and PLoS One. Currently, he is adjunct Professor for the School of Specialization in Oncology and Pharmacology at the University of Milano. He has been listed among the top 30 authors of primary research papers on cancer.

Prof. Armin Gerger

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Prof. Armin Gerger

Since 2012 Dr. Armin Gerger is professor at the Medial University in Graz, Austria. He works as a clinical oncologist and coordinates the Subcentre for Gastrointestinal Neoplasia at the Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Graz. He leads the Pharmacogenetics Research Unit, at the Division of Clinical Oncology of the Medical University of Graz, and the Area “Cancer” of the Centre for Biomarker Research in Medicine (CBmed). Dr. Gerger’s research focuses on prognostic and predictive genetic biomarkers in gastrointestinal cancer, which he developed further as a research fellow at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Centre of the University of Southern California. Dr. Gerger’s research activity is mirrored in several papers in high-ranked scientific journals and significant extramural funding.

Dr Cheng Ean Chee

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Dr Cheng Ean Chee

Dr. Cheng Ean Chee is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore. She completed medical school at University College London, United Kingdom and Internal Medicine Residency and Hematology-Oncology Fellowship at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Dr. Chee is a clinician-investigator and medical oncologist in gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary cancers at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore. She is also involved in phase I drug development and is the principal investigator of several phase I and gastrointestinal cancer trials at her institution. As the Program Director for the NUHS Medical Oncology Senior Residency (Fellowship) Program, she is actively involved in the education of the Medical Oncology trainees and she also chairs the Colorectal Cancer Committee of the Singapore Cancer Society. She is an active member of ASCO and the Asian Colorectal Cancer Oncology Group.

Dr. Sebastian Stintzing

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Dr. Sebastian Stintzing

Sebastian Stintzing (M.D.), Professor of Medicine, is Head of the Division of Oncology and Haematology, Department of Medicine (CCM), Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin. His research focuses on predictive and prognostic biomarkers in the treatment of GI cancer with a special focus on colorectal cancer. From 2012 to 2014, he was a research fellow at the Sharon Carpenter Laboratory at the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, U.S.A. He coordinated the translational part and assisted the clinical study conduct of several studies and earned his Postdoctoral Lecture Qualification with a thesis on prognostic and predictive factors in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. In 2012, he received the prestigious Research Fellowship Award from the German Cancer Aid in Germany and started work at the University of Southern California. Dr. Stintzing is member of national and international cancer associations and speaker of the steering committee of the working group Colorectal Carcinoma of the German AIO.

Dr. Jenny Seligmann

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Dr. Jenny Seligmann

Dr. Jenny Seligmann gained her MBChB and BMedSci at the University of Aberdeen in 2005 then gained her PhD in 2015 from the University of Leeds on Biomarkers of Prognosis and Prediction of Response in Colorectal Cancer. She was appointed a Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Fellow in 2015, then a University Academic Fellow and Consultant in Medical Oncology in Leeds in 2017. Her research interests are in clinical trials and biomarkers of prediction of response in colorectal cancer. She is involved in several ongoing clinical trials, including the FOCUS-4 trial and has an ongoing lab-based programme of research. She has been involved in several national and international committees, including the UK Colorectal Clinical Studies Group and is currently the EORTC GI Group Young Investigator. She has received several awards including an ASCO Merit Award in 2013.

Dr. Chiara Cremolini

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Dr. Chiara Cremolini

Dr. Chiara Cremolini is a Medical Oncologist at Santa Chiara University Hospital in Pisa, Italy. Chiara completed her M.D. Degree in 2008, and gained an M.Sc. in Clinical Trials in 2011, and the Specialty in Medical Oncology in 2014 at the University of Pisa. She is mainly committed to the clinical management of patients affected by gastrointestinal malignancies and is involved in clinical and translational research projects in the field of colorectal oncology. She actively contributes to clinical trials by the cooperative Gruppo Oncologico Nord Ovest (GONO) group and is interested in the identification of molecular predictors of benefit from systemic treatments. Chiara is co-author of about 60 peer-reviewed papers and received merit awards at the following meetings: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2010, 2012−2015; European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2011 and 2014; European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) 2013.

Dr. Dominik Modest

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Dr. Dominik Modest

Dr. Dominik Modest studied medicine at the Charité in Berlin, Germany and at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Currently, he is a physician at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany. His research activities focus on metastatic colorectal cancer and include the concept and coordination of trials for the FIRE study group and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Internistische Onkologie (AIO). Dr. Modest also coordinates the translational research components of these trials, aiming to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers of metastatic colorectal cancer. His research has been published in several papers in scientific journals. In 2015, he received a postdoctoral qualification on factors for personalisation of metastatic colorectal cancer therapy. Dr. Modest is an active member of several national and international cancer associations and served as spokesman for the Young Medical Oncologists of the AIO until 2014.

Dr. Samuel J. Klempner

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Dr. Samuel J. Klempner

Dr. Samuel J. Klempner is a GI medical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School with research and clinical focus on gastroesophageal cancers and cancer genomics. Dr. Klempner completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, followed by a combined hematology-oncology fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. While at Harvard, Dr. Klempner studied the mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies in tumor cells in the lab of Dr. Lewis Cantley, PhD. Dr. Klempner is board certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. Dr. Klempner’s research interests include the intersection of genomics and immunotherapies, oncogene-driven tumors, acquired resistance, and clinical trials of novel agents. Dr. Klempner is involved in professional societies including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).

Dr Victor Hugo Fonseca de Jesus

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Dr Victor Hugo Fonseca de Jesus

Dr. Victor Hugo Fonseca de Jesus is a Medical Oncologist at A.C. Camargo Cancer Center, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He graduated from medical school in 2008 and completed his training as a Medical Oncologist in 2014. His main area of interest concerns the management of patients with gastrointestinal malignancies and he is currently involved in the field of clinical research in gastrointestinal oncology. In 2017, Dr. Fonseca received the board certification from the Brazilian Society of Medical Oncology. He is currently undergoing Master of Science (MSc) training in Oncology and he is an active member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO).

Dr. Guillem Argilés

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Dr. Guillem Argilés

Dr. Guillem Argilés obtained his medical degree at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. He later obtained his M.D., supervised by José Baselga M.D., in 2006 at the same institute. In 2010, he joined the Gastrointestinal Malignancies Division led by Josep Tabernero M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Argilés currently works in the Gastrointestinal Malignancies and Developmental Therapeutics Divisions of the same institute, where his research is focused on chemorefractory colorectal cancer, personalized medicine, as well as the molecular biology of colorectal cancer.

Ass. Prof. Efrat Dotan

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Ass. Prof. Efrat Dotan

Ass. Prof. Efrat Dotan is an Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia. She graduated from the Technion Institute of Technology Medical School in Israel and moved to the US to pursue her specialized training. She completed her residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, and her hematology/oncology fellowship at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Ass. Prof. Dotan specializes in the management of patients with gastrointestinal malignancies, specifically pancreatic cancer. Her research interest is in development of new treatment options for patients with gastrointestinal cancers. She is the PI for multiple clinical trials in this arena. Ass. Prof. Dotan is a member of the Gastrointestinal Malignancies Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and serves as the PI for multiple studies. She also serves as a member of the Pancreatic Cancer Guideline Panel for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Dr. Dotan’s other interest is in the management of older patients with cancer, and tools to improve the care of this patient population. She has led multiple research projects evaluating the care of older patients with gastrointestinal malignancies. She is a senior member of the Cancer and Aging Research Group, and the chair of the Older Adult Oncology Guidelines for NCCN.

Ass. Prof. Cristina Nadal

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Ass. Prof. Cristina Nadal

Dr. Cristina Nadal is director of the Global Health Area of the Catalan Healthcare System in Barcelona and an Associate Professor at the University of Barcelona. From 1998 till 2016 she was a colorectal cancer-GI Medical Oncologist at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. In addition, she is a member of the Colorectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Board at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and an Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) Research Member and Representative for the Oncology and Haematology Committee at the IDIBAPS Research Institute.

Prof. David Tougeron

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Prof. David Tougeron

Dr. David Tougeron is a professor of gastroenterology at Poitiers University Hospital, France. His clinical interests focus on gastrointestinal cancers, in particular, colorectal cancer. Dr. Tougeron has participated in more than 40 clinical trials in digestive oncology and has co-authored more than 50 articles, editorials and book chapters. After a Ph.D. in immune response in colorectal cancer, Dr. Tougeron completed a postdoctoral position at the Mayo Clinic, U.S., in colorectal cancer chemosensitivity. His research is currently focussing on colorectal cancer, particularly colorectal cancer with microsatellite instability and predictive biomarkers of response to targeted therapies. He presently holds professional positions in different organisations, notably the Fédération Francophone de Cancérologie Digestive (FFCD).

Prof. Hans Prenen

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Prof. Hans Prenen

Dr. Hans Prenen obtained his medical degree in 2001 from the Catholic University Leuven (K.U. Leuven, Belgium). In 2006, he gained his PhD from the molecular oncology program at K.U Leuven. Since 2009, he has been working in the division of gastroenterology at the University of Leuven Hospital, in digestive oncology. He is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at the K.U. Leuven as well as a Senior Clinical Investigator of the Belgian Foundation against Cancer, where his research initially focused in understanding how certain mutations in cancer cells dictate resistance to targeted agents. Recently, he became attracted by the relevance of inflammatory cells as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers. Dr. Prenen is a member of many scientific organizations, including the European Society of Medical Oncology, the Belgian Society of Medical Oncology, the Belgian Group of Digestive Oncology, and the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus and the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer.

Prof. Tanios Bekaii-Saab

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Prof. Tanios Bekaii-Saab

Dr. Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D., is Medical Oncologist at Mayo Clinic. From 2002 Dr. Bekaii-Saab joined the faculty at The Ohio State University - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, where he is a tenured Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy, and section chief for the gastrointestinal cancer program. He is the chairman of the disease specific research group for the comprehensive cancer center. Dr. Bekaii-Saab earned his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, followed by residency in internal medicine at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. He completed fellowships in clinical pharmacology and experimental therapeutics and hematology/oncology at Tufts University/New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Bekaii-Saab’s research interests include experimental therapeutics/translational research focused on gastrointestinal malignancies, molecular targeted and immune therapies. Dr. Bekaii-Saab is actively involved in professional societies including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and the Alliance cooperative group.

Dr. Jian Li

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Dr. Jian Li

Prof. Jian Li is Vice Director in the GI Department of Oncology at Peking University Cancer Hospital in China. He received his medical training at Shanghai Medical University and Peking University. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, throughout 2014. Prof. Li’s special interests are palliative chemotherapy and target therapy of metastatic colorectal cancer, comprehensive treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, target therapy of gastrointestinal stromal tumor and diagnosis and therapy of digestive endoscope.

Dr. Thomas Winder

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Dr. Thomas Winder

Dr. Thomas Winder, M.D. Ph.D. graduated in 2005 from the Medical University of Innsbruck. He became Dr. scient.med. at the Private University of Liechtenstein in 2008, with his thesis: “Different types of K-Ras mutations are conversely associated with overall survival in patients with colorectal Cancer”. In 2010, he completed his Ph.D. studies at the Private University Liechtenstein in co-operation with the University of Southern California, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center with his thesis: “Predictive and prognostic molecular markers in gastrointestinal malignancies”.

His main research area is the predictive and prognostic molecular markers in gastrointestinal malignancies. He presently holds professional positions with many different society memberships and is an active reviewer for diverse journals.

Ass. Prof. Joleen Hubbard

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Ass. Prof. Joleen Hubbard

Dr. Joleen Hubbard is an Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic. She completed medical school and residency at the University of Minnesota, U.S., and hematology/oncology training at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.  Dr. Hubbard specialises in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, focusing on colorectal cancer. Dr. Hubbard is the PI of several phase I clinical trials, investigating novel agents for gastrointestinal cancers.  Her research interests also include geriatric oncology with a special interest in clinical and biologic markers of frailty.  She serves as a member of the Cancer in the Elderly, as well as the Health Reported Outcomes and Translational Research committees for the North American Alliance of Clinical Trials in Oncology Network.  Dr. Hubbard is the chair of the Gastrointestinal Tumor Group Practice at Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.

Ass. Prof. Yu Sunakawa

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Ass. Prof. Yu Sunakawa

Dr. Yu Sunakawa is a medical oncologist at St. Marianna University, Japan and previously worked as an instructor at Showa University Northern Yokohama Hospital in Yokohama, Japan. He also completed postdoctoral research fellowship training at University of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in United States. In 2011, Dr. Sunakawa received the board certification of the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology. Dr. Sunakawa’s research interests are the identification and determination of molecular markers in cancerous tissues or blood that could predict cancer risk and clinical outcome in gastrointestinal cancer. He is also focusing on research regarding tumour immunity and received a Merit Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2014, for the research of genetic variations in immune checkpoint-related genes.

Dr. Fotios Loupakis

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Dr. Fotios Loupakis

Dr. Loupakis gained his M.D. Degree at the University of Pisa, Italy in 2003, followed by Master of Science in Clinical Trials (M.S.) in 2005, the Specialty in Oncology from the Department of Oncology of the same University in 2007, and a Research Doctorate in Health Biotechnologies (Ph.D.) in 2011. From 2016 Dr. Loupakis has worked as a Clinical Trial Coordinating Physician in the GI Cancers Team at the Istituto Oncologico Veneto in Padua, Italy.

Since 2009 he has worked as a Medical Oncologist at the University Hospital Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy, and since 2010, he has been an Assistant Professor at the Department of Oncology. Since 2012, Dr Loupakis has also been the Coordinator of the Colorectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Team and the Trials Office. From 2011 to 2012 he was a Research Fellow at the University Of Southern California Keck School Of Medicine, Los Angeles, in the United States.

Dr. Loupakis is author and co-author of over 100 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals. He has received International rewards such as the ASCO Merit Award and The Lorini Foundation Merit Award.

The focus of his research field is on clinical and pre-clinical oncology with particular attention given to the transfer of the developments achieved in the field of pharmacology and experimental oncology into translational research.

Dr. Loredana Vecchione MD, Ph.D

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Dr. Loredana Vecchione MD, Ph.D

Dr. Loredana Vecchione was awarded her medical degree in 2004, her degree as specialist in Medical Oncology in 2008 and her Ph.D from the Second University of Naples in 2012. She performed the last two years of her Ph.D program in Leuven, in Professor Tejpar's group. After achieving the ESMO fellowship for Translational Research in 2012, she joined Professor Bernards' group at the Netherlands Cancer Institute where she has been focusing on identifying vulnerabilities of BRAF-like CC. She recently joined the group of Prof Keilholz at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Charite in Berlin where she is investigating mechanisms of resistance to conventional treatments in BRAF-like CC and the role of certain genes in some of the CRC subtypes. Dr. Vecchione is an active member of ESMO. She is involved in the assignment of educational hours (ESMO CME points) to proposed activities. She has been Section Editor of Current Colorectal Cancer Reports since 2014 and Section Editor of Current Oncology Reports since 2015.

Dr. Shubham Pant

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Dr. Shubham Pant

Dr. Shubham Pant is a Hematologist-Oncologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He previously served as the Director of Clinical Trials for the Section of Hematology-Oncology and Associate Director of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Phase 1 program, for the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City. Furthermore Dr. Pant was the Oncology Lead of the Clinical Research Disease Site Group for Gastrointestinal Cancers and Clinical Research Disease Site Group Chair for Hepatocellular Cancers at the same institute. Dr. Pant completed his fellowship from the Ohio State University, where he was elected Chief Fellow. He previously served as an elected member at large to the Board of Directors for Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), was the Site Principal Investigator for CALGB and was a Member of the Board of Trustees for ACTION. Dr. Pant served on the Board of Oklahoma Society of Clinical Oncology. He is a participant in the ASCO Leadership Development Program, Class of 2015-16. His awards include the Golden Pillar Award for Outstanding Patient Service in 2012 and 2014, America's Top Doctors by Castle Connolly and Oklahoma 40 Under 40 in the Oklahoma Magazine. In 2015, he anchored a health show on CNN-IBN India titled: ‘Let’s Talk Health’.

Dr Juan Manuel O’Connor

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Dr Juan Manuel O’Connor

Dr. Juan Manuel O'Connor is currently Head of the Department of Gastrointestinal Tumors at Instituto Alexander Fleming, a position he has held since 2015. He is Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the School of Medicine of the Instituto Universitario CEMIC, Buenos Aires. He is a founding member of the Argentine Group of Neuroendocrine Tumors (ARGENTUM), created in 2005. Dr. O´Connor is a member of the Argentinian Intergroup of Gastrointestinal Tumors (IATTGI), and also of the recently created Latin American Society for Gastrointestinal Tumors, chaired by Dr. Jorge Gallardo. He has been a member of the Advisory Board of the European Society of Neuroendocrine Tumors, ENETS since 2008, and an active member of ASCO since 2011. He finished his fellowship in Clinical Oncology in 2003, held at the Alexander Fleming Institute, affiliated to the University of Buenos Aires, rating with Cum Laude10/10. Dr. O´Connor has authored over 50 papers and chapters of books about gastrointestinal tumors. He received several international awards for his work in the area of ​​neuroendocrine tumors. He has participated in more than 200 national and international events as a speaker. Dr. O´Connor also served as a consultant to the National Cancer Institute in Argentina, and was involved in the development of the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in Argentina, in 2014.

Dr. Erika Martinelli, MD, PhD

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Dr. Erika Martinelli, MD, PhD

Dr. Erika Martinelli is an oncologist at the University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli" of Naples in Italy. She was awarded her medical degree in 2000, her degree as specialist in Medical Oncology in 2004, and her Ph.D. from the University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli" in 2008. Dr. Martinelli’s research focusses on the development of new targeted agents against growth factors in preclinical and early clinical studies, mainly in colorectal cancer, and in particular defining the possible biological markers of intrinsic or acquired resistance to treatments.

Dr. Martinelli is an active member of ESMO. As a member of the ESMO E-Learning and Continuing Medical Education Working Group (ECWG), she is involved in the ESMO E-Learning programme and manages the assessment of courses, symposia, congresses, conferences, and other educational activities, ensuring the high ESMO standards of value and quality. She is also in charge of the assignment of educational hours (ESMO CME points) to proposed activities. Dr. Martinelli is a member of the ESMO Women for Oncology Task Force and was a long-standing member of the ESMO Young Oncologists Committee until the start of 2016.