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Plenary Speakers

Prof. Stephen J. Lippard is the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an extramural faculty member of MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. His research activities span the fields of inorganic chemistry, biological chemistry, and neurochemistry. Included are studies to understand and improve platinum anticancer drugs, the synthesis of diiron complexes as models for carboxylate-bridged diiron metalloenzymes, structural and mechanistic investigations of bacterial multicomponent monooxygenases, and investigations of inorganic neurotransmitters and signal transducers, especially nitric oxide and zinc. With over 830 publications, 9 edited books, and 12 patents Lippard has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004, Lippard received the National Medal of Science, the highest science honor in the United States. Lippard recently co-founded Blend Therapeutics, which features a Maestro platform product engine that is generating a pipeline of novel combination medicines designed to optimize pharmacological response and improve patient outcomes.

Keynote Speakers

Walter Berger

Prof. Walter Berger, Director of the Applied and Experimental Oncology group at the Medical University of Vienna. His research focuses on the identification of genetic and molecular factors driving solid tumor aggressiveness and therapy resistance and the development of novel anticancer agents and drug combinations to avoid therapy failure and resistance. In these fields he has co-authored 200 peer-reviewed publications.


Hilary A. Calvert

Prof. Hilary A. Calvert, Emeritus Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the UCL Cancer Center (UK). Calvert has a longstanding interest in developing new drugs for cancer treatment and has been associated with several successful drugs currently used world-wide. These include carboplatin (for ovarian cancer), pemetrexed (for mesothelioma and lung cancer) and inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP) for familial breast and ovarian cancers. Calvert received the European Society for Medical Oncology, Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2009 Excellence in Oncology Awards from the British Oncological Association. He has also received an award from the Cancer Research UK Research Team in 2010 and the Pfizer Award for Innovative Science (Europe) in 2005 for his work on the discovery and clinical evaluation of PARP inhibitors.


Prof. Chi-Ming Che, Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Honk Kong. His research interests range from the development of metal-carbon multiple bonds, development of new inorganic medicines (e.g. gold-based compounds as anticancer agents), the study of triplet emitters and solar chemistry. In these fields he has coauthored more than 800 scholarly and professional articles. During the past two years he has been awarded the Davison Lectureship of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has received the RSC Centenary Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK).


Prof. Kim Dunbar, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University and a Davidson Professor of Science in this University. Her research is focused on the application of coordination chemistry principles to the solution of diverse problems ranging from new magnetic and conducting materials to anticancer agents (e.g. novel non-platinum anticancer drugs). She serves her profession as Associate Editor of Inorganic Chemistry and is past Secretary and Chair of the American Chemical Society's Division of Inorganic Chemistry. Prof. Dunbar was recently recognized by Texas A&M University with the inaugural Graduate Mentoring Award from The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University in 2006. She is the author of over 280 research publications and 16 book chapters or reviews.


Prof. Nicholas Farrell, Professor of Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). His major research is on platinum-based anticancer agents, which are an important part of the anticancer drug armamentarium. The first genuinely structurally novel platinum drug to enter clinical trials in thirty years (BBR3464) arose from his laboratory research. Farrell has written or co-edited three books in the area of platinum anticancer agents and medicinal inorganic chemistry. He is the author of over 200 refereed papers and review chapters. He and his collaborators have received over sixty patents worldwide from his inventions. He was honored as Distinguished Research Scholar of Virginia Commonwealth University for 2003-2004.


Prof. Stephen B. Howell, Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. He is also the Associate Director for Research Education and Training Co-Leader, the Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program Director, the Pharmacology and Toxicology Core Lab Director, and the Director of the Center for Cancer Nanoparticle Excellence. His work focuses on the development of novel drugs and drug delivery systems for the treatment of cancer, and on the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying the development of drug resistance.  His laboratory has contributed importantly to the current understanding of how the platinum-containing drugs enter, traffic through and exit from ovarian cancer cells, and how much cells become resistant to these drugs. He has published over 300 articles and reviews.


Prof. Aminah Jatoi

Aminah Jatoi, M.D. is Professor of Oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  As a practicing oncologist, she primarily sees patients with gynecologic and gastrointestinal malignancies.  Her research focuses on therapeutic and palliative cancer clinical trials.  She is the author of over 250 publications, and her work has been supported by the National Cancer Institute as well as various other sources. She recently led, completed, and published a clinical trial that examined auranofin, a gold compound, for the treatment of ovarian cancer.


Prof. Peter J. Sadler, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Warwick, UK. His research focuses on the chemistry of metals in medicine and more specifically on the design and chemical mechanism of action of therapeutic metal complexes, including organometallic arene anticancer complexes such as photoactivated metal anticancer complexes (for photochemotherapy) and studies of interactions with targets such as RNA, DNA and proteins. Sadler received the Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Inorganic Biochemistry (1993) and the Dwyer Medal from the University of New South Wales, Australia (1999). He has over 690 publications, 30 chapters of books, 5 edited books and 21 patents.


Claudia Turro

Prof. Claudia Turro, Professor of Chemistry at the Ohio State University. Her group is interested in understanding and utilizing reactions of metal complexes that can be initiated with light. The potential applications of these reactions span the areas of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of tumors, luminescent reporters and sensors, degradation of pollutants triggered by light, and solar energy conversion. In these fields she is author of over a 100 peer-reviewed publications. She received the Early CAREER Award by the National Science Foundation in 1998, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1999, was named a 2010 Fellow of the American Chemical Society, and a 2012 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Dr. Anne Vessières, Director of the Charles Friedel Laboratory, at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. Her research focuses on the synthesis of antitumor organometallic compounds and their in vivo administration using nanoformulations. Moreover she is specialized in the use of metal carbonyl units and their infrared detection for non-isotopic immunoassays and cellular imaging. In these fields she has more than 160 peer-reviewed publications. In 2012 she was awarded the Bioorganometallic chemistry prize at the 6th International Symposium on Bioorganometallic Chemistry (ISBOMC).

Selected Guest and Invited Speakers

Sue Berners-Price

Prof. Sue Berners-Price, Dean of the Griffith Graduate Research School and Principal Research Leader in Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics. She joined Griffith in 2009 from the University of Western Australia where she held the foundation Chair in Biological Chemistry from 2001. She is internationally recognized for her work in the field of medicinal inorganic chemistry, which involves the design and mechanism of action of gold and platinum-based anti-cancer agents. In this field she is author of more than 110 peer-reviewed articles. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry.


Prof. Debbie Crans

Prof. Debbie Crans is Professor of Organic and Inorganic Chemistry at Colorado State University (CSU) and is currently a Professor Laureate of the College of Natural Sciences. She established the International Vanadium Symposium and the Zing Coordination Chemistry Conferences. She was Program Chair for the Inorganic Chemistry Division for more than a decade and is currently its chair and the chair elect of the Colorado ACS section. She is the 2015 Author Cope Scholar and the 2004 Vanadis Awardee. Prof. Crans has published over 170 original research papers in fundamental areas of inorganic and organic chemistry often applied to biological or medical problems. Her expertise includes metals in medicine, coordination chemistry and spectroscopy, and she works on diseases such as diabetes and tuberculosis.


Prof. Trevor Hambley

Prof. Trevor Hambley, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sydney's School of Chemistry. His research interests are in the area of medicinal inorganic chemistry with an emphasis on platinum anticancer drugs, hypoxia selective cobalt complexes, and metal-based anti-inflammatory compounds. He has published 3 books, 13 reviews, and more than 400 refereed journal papers, including four recent reviews of the relationship between the structure of Pt anticancer agents and their toxicity and anticancer activity and on the modelling of Pt/DNA interactions. He serves as the Editor of the Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry.


Prof. Chris Orvig

Prof. Chris Orvig is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC). His research group studies the roles of metal ions in the etiology, diagnosis, and therapy of disease, making seminal contributions, both fundamental and applied, to the understanding of metal ions in biological processes. These projects encompass a variety of metal ions as well as numerous ligand systems and a wide panoply of techniques and collaborations. Prof. Orvig is amongst the world’s foremost medicinal inorganic chemists, and also one of Canada’s best-known and most creative inorganic chemists. He has received a number of awards and holds several honorary positions, including the Humboldt Ambassador Scientist (2015-2018, Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung). He is also the Executive Secretary of the International Conferences on Coordination Chemistry (ICCC).  


Prof. Lena Ruiz Azuara

Prof. Lena Ruiz Azuara is Professor of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Her research focuses on the study of metal compounds as anticancer and antiparasitic agents. In this field she is author of numerous publications and has received several prizes and awards including the 2007 CANIFARMA award.