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Research & Education

NCAM 2015

NCAM 2015


On behalf of the organising committee, we warmly welcome you to join the 2nd NCIS Annual Research Meeting (NCAM) 2015. The first NCAM 2014 was successfully held on 4th July 2014, and attracted more than 250 registrants and 100 submitted abstracts. The Meeting created a great forum for clinicians and scientists to interact and showcase their cancer research work on the NCIS campus. Our theme this year is on 'Harnessing immunotherapy in cancer treatment', and we will again have a full-day programme including educational sessions, oral and poster presentations of submitted abstracts, and award presentation for the best abstracts. We welcome you to submit abstracts on cancer research in the following four categories: basic science, clinical science, translational science, and nursing/paramedical/supportive care.

We believe this conference will provide an excellent platform for researchers working in different fields in cancer within NCIS and the NUHS campus to interact and develop future collaborations. We look forward to welcoming you to the 2nd NCIS Annual Research Meeting (NCAM) 2015.

Dr Lee Soo Chin
Conference Chairperson
Associate Director
Research, NCIS

Prof Philip H. Koeffler
Conference Co-Chairperson
Deputy Director
Research, NCIS


Dr Lee Soo Chin
Associate Director (Research), NCIS

Senior Consultant
Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS

Senior Principal Investigator
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS


Prof H. Phillip Koeffler
Deputy Director (Research), NCIS

Senior Principal Investigator
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS

Professor Department of Medicine, NUS


Dr Goh Boon Cher
Director Investigational Medicine Unit, NUHS

Head and Senior Consultant
Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS

Deputy Director
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS

Programme Leader & Senior Principal Investigator
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS


A/Prof Chng Wee Joo
Director, NCIS

Deputy Director & Senior Principal Investigator
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS

Associate Professor Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS


A/Prof Mikael Hartman
Senior Consultant
Breast and Trauma Surgery, NUH

Associate Professor
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS

Adjunct Staff Department of Medical Epidemiology Karolinska Institute, Sweden


Dr Yong Wei Peng
Associate Director (Research), NCIS

Senior Consultant
Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS

Principal Associate
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS


Dr Lim Siew Eng
Associate Director – Education, NCIS

Senior Consultant
Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS


Dr Andrea Wong
Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS

Adjunct Research Fellow
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS


Dr Chee Cheng Ean
Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS


Dr Choo Bok Ai
Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS

Assistant Professor
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS


Dr Chetan Dhamne
Associate Consultant
Department of Paediatrics, Department of Haematology and Oncology, NUH


Dr Ruby Huang
Resident Physician
Division of Gynaecology Oncology, NUS

Principal Associate
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS

Clinician Scientist
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, NUHS


Dr Polly Chen Leilei
Junior Principal Investigator
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS

Assistant Professor
Department of Anatomy, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS


Dr Pieter Johan Adam Eichhorn
Junior Principal Investigator
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS

Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS


Dr Dora Lang Siew Ping
Nurse Clinician Yong Siew Yoon Fellow, NCIS


Dr Chong Wan Qin
Senior Resident
Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS

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Plenary Speakers

Prof Chan Tak Cheung, Anthony 

Chairman, Department of Clinical Oncology
Li Shu Fan Professor of Clinical Oncology
Faculty of Medicine
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Prof Anthony Chan is Li Shu Fan Professor of Clinical Oncology, Director of the Sir YK Pao Centre for Cancer, Hong Kong Cancer Institute, Chief Director of Phase 1 Clinical Trial Centre and Associate Dean (External Affairs) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Professor Chan conducted pivotal studies setting new treatment standard in multimodality approaches in nasopharynx cancer, developed the clinical application of the biomarker EBV DNA and pioneered immunotherapeutic and targeted therapeutics in this disease. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers, 45 book chapters and reviews, and delivered over 130 international lectures. He has served on the Editorial Board of Journal of Clinical Oncology and is currently Associate Editor of Annals of Oncology.

A/Prof Goh Boon Cher
Head and Senior Consultant
Department of Haematology-Oncology
National University Cancer Institute, Singapore

A/Prof Goh was trained in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at the National University of Singapore, and was visiting fellow at the University of Chicago Section of Hematology-Oncology and Committee on Clinical Pharmacology. He has contributed much to the development of a clinical trial research infrastructure at the National University Health System, one of the largest clinical research groups in Singapore, and chaired the Cancer Therapeutics Research Group, an Asia Pacific cancer research group. He has mentored many clinical oncology and pharmacology fellows, and has been awarded senior clinician scientist from the Biomedical Research Council and the National Medical Research Council of Singapore since 2005. In addition, he has been competitive in research grants, having held several government awarded research grants in pharmacogenomics and drug development. His research achievements have been in investigating novel agents for treatment of cancer as well as pharmacogenomics of cancer drugs. More recent work was in development of a novel STAT3 inhibitor for cancer treatment, as well as demonstrating that SOS-MEK-ERK activation contributes to cisplatin resistance in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung and head/neck. Internationally, he has served on advisory boards on several pharmaceutical companies in early drug development, and has served on editorial boards of important journals like the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Annals of Oncology. He has also served for several terms as Chairman of the Domain Specific Research Board. Currently he is Director of the Investigational Medicine Unit at the NUHS, and head of Hematology-Oncology, and Deputy Director of the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore.

Educational Speakers

Prof Dario Campana 
Professor, Department of Paediatrics
Director, Division of Immunopathology and Cell Therapy
National University of Singapore

Prof Campana obtained his MD at the University of Torino (Italy) and his PhD at the University of Milano (Italy). He trained as a scientist at the Royal Free Hospital, University of London (UK), where he was Lecturer in Immunology before moving to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. When he left for Singapore in July 2011, he was Vice Chair for Laboratory Research in the Department of Oncology, Full Member in the Departments of Oncology and Pathology, and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee. He is currently Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, and the Mrs. Lee Kong Chian Chair in Advanced Cellular Therapy. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and of the Association of American Physicians, and the recipient of a Singapore Translational Research (STaR) Investigator award. He has published over 300 original articles, book chapters and reviews. He holds several patents and is the scientific founder of Unum Therapeutics. Prof Campana's main interest is translational research in oncology. His laboratory strives to improve prognostication of acute leukemia and monitoring treatment response, as well as to develop novel and practical approaches to enhance the anti-cancer capacity of immune cells.

Dr Toh Han Chong
Senior Consultant, Department of Medical Oncology
Deputy Director, National Cancer Centre, Singapore

Dr Toh Han Chong is Senior Consultant and Deputy Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). He is Vice-Chair of Oncology Academic Clinical Program (ACP) for Research and Education. He is Associate Professor at the Cancer & Stem Cell Biology Program, Duke-NUS, and adjunct Principal Investigator, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR. He is former Head, Division of Medical Oncology, NCCS. Dr Toh graduated from the University of London, UK, with an Intercalated Bachelor of Science in 'Infection and Immunity' from St Mary's Hospital Medical School and qualified as a medical doctor from University of Cambridge, UK. Dr Toh obtained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 2003. He received his medical oncology fellowship training at the Singapore General Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA and at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA, where he did his research fellowship in cancer immunotherapy under the leadership of Dr Malcolm Brenner. Dr Toh is a recipient of the National Clinician Scientist Award for his pioneering work in T cell therapy for cancer. He conducted the first cancer vaccine and T cell therapy clinical trials in Singapore, and continues to work actively in the field of cancer immunotherapy, immunology and inflammation. He also had a strong interest in drug development for gastrointestinal cancers including colon and liver cancer. Dr Toh has published over 82 peer review journal papers to date including in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, Nature Genetics, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research and Stem Cells.

Dr John E Connolly
Senior Principal Investigator
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology

Dr Connolly is a Senior Principal Investigator and Director for Translational Immunology at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IMCB). A program focused on deep immunophenotying with ongoing studies in all of the research hospitals and phase-1 trial units in Singapore. The program in translational immunology at A*Star integrates a number of genomic, proteomic and cell based technologies essential for understanding the status of the innate and adaptive immune response during disease or therapy. Qualitative and quantitative aspects of the immune response, including humoral, cellular and innate immune responses, are measured in clinical samples using proprietary assays. Specialized core facilities are linked together through a centralized IT infrastructure developed and administered by a dedicated team of bioinformaticians. As a human immunologist, his research interests focus on target discovery for immune modulation. An Adjunct Associate Professor of Immunology at Baylor University, he served on the Board of Governors for the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. Dr Connolly received his Ph.D. in Immunology from Dartmouth Medical School and studied human dendritic cell biology under Dr. Michael Fanger. During this time he was involved in the development of immunotherapeutic preclinical models and clinical trials for Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). He moved to the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, a fully translational research institute dedicated to rationally designed vaccines against cancer. Dr Connolly served as the Director of Research Initiatives for the Baylor Research Institute, leading a large integrated translational research resource and multi-institutional programs that involved a number of international sites. During his tenure at Baylor, Dr Connolly was the central core facility director of the NIAID Centers for Translational Research on Human Immunology and Biodefense, an NIH funded consortium of basic, translational research and clinical trials focused on vaccine design.

Hear-the-Journey Speakers

Assistant Prof Pieter Johan Adam Eichhorn 
Junior Principal Investigator
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University of Singapore 

Dr Pieter Eichhorn holds a Bachelor of Science degree specializing in human genetics from the University of Western Ontario. He did his Ph.D. work under the direction of Prof. Tom Strachan at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, focusing on cloning of the gene for Cornelia de Lange syndrome. He then did his postgraduate studies with Rene Bernards at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, where he performed some of the first RNAi screens in mammalian cells that led to the identification of the PP2A subunit PR55 gamma as a potent inhibitor of the oncogene c-SRC. In 2006 he joined the lab of Jose Baselga at Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain, where he continued utilizing genome wide technologies to identify novel genes in cancer relevant pathways, including work that led to the identification of PI3K hyperactivation in Lapatinib resistance. In 2010 he became a faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he identified both cyclin E and RSK4 as mechanisms of resistance to Trastuzumab and PI3K inhibitors, respectively. Since joining the Cancer Science Institute, Pieter's research is mostly focused on the role deubiquitinating enzymes in the TGF-β pathway and the identification of TGF-β factors involved in targeted therapeutic resistance.


Dr Anand Jeyasekharan
Senior Resident Department of Haematology-Oncology National University Cancer Institute, Singapore

Anand completed his medical education and internship at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India in 2003. He then worked to fulfil his service obligation to CMC Vellore as a medical officer in a rural Cancer centre in India, where he developed an interest in the nature of malignant disease. While most of his classmates continued with sensible life choices in clinical medicine, Anand took up a PhD in Oncology as a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge UK, under the mentorship of Prof. Ashok Venkitaraman, to study the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair and genomic instability in cancer. He stayed on to extend his research in this area as an MRC Career Development Fellow at the Medical Research Council Cancer Cell Unit, held concomitantly with a Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge. Having grown tired of grey skies and English winters, he relocated to Singapore in 2010, with the aim of learning medical oncology to find relevant applications for basic DNA repair studies. He has a vague recollection of a few years spent rotating through internal medical specialties at NUH, when he completed his MRCP examinations, and collaborated with anyone who would listen to him talk about DNA repair. He joined the department of Haematology-Oncology at NUH in 2013, and started his laboratory at the Cancer Science Institute as a Principal Associate, through funding from NMRC and the NUH Clinician-Scientist Programme grants. He is currently pursuing his clinical specialty training in medical oncology, and his lab investigates novel markers of DNA repair pathways and their application to the practice of cancer medicine.

Junior Investigator Award: Dr Raghav Sundar (Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore) 


Best Oral Presentation:
Mr Desmond Chin Wai Loon (CSI)
BS07 : Overexpression of integrin α9 cooperates with the loss of Runx1 And Runx3 in leukemogenesis

Best Oral Presentation Runner-Ups:
Mr Bhushan Dharmadhikari (YLLSOM)
BS08: High potency dendritic cells generated via CD137L signalling as potential candidates for immunotherapy of Epstein-Barr Virus associated cancers

Dr Lin Siqi Jaymie (Cancer Science Institute of Singapore)
BS14: RNA Editing in Breast Cancer- Role in Carcinogenesis and Clinical Implications

Best Poster Award:
Dr Kelly Ong Ooi Kee (Cancer Science Institute of Singapore)
BS18: Co-targeting Notch and JAK-STAT signaling pathways in acute megakaryoblastic leukemia

Best Poster Award (Runner-up):
Ms Chen Ye (Cancer Science Institute of Singapore)
BS05 : Identification of BCL6 as a novel therapeutic target in glioblastoma 


Best Oral Presentation:
Dr Ruby Huang Yun-Ju (Cancer Science Institute of Singapore)
TS05: The epigenetic landscape regulated by Grainyhead-like 2 (GRHL2) and the clinical implication for histone-deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC)

Best Oral Presentation Runner-Ups:
Mr Rony Kurikese Roy (Cancer Science Institute of Singapore)
TS12: CEACAM6 is upregulated by the H pylori cagA oncogene, and is a promising biomarker for the diagnosis of early gastric cancer

Dr Valerie Heong (Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS)
TS04: Targeting the C5 subclass of high-grade serous ovarian cancer using patient-derived xenografts: microtubule polymerisation inhibitors

Best Poster Award:
Dr Madhura Kulkarni (Cancer Science Institute of Singapore)
TS08: YAP-based prognostic signature to predict metastatic potential of triple negative breast cancer.

Best Poster Award (Runner-up):
Ms Xiao Jinfen (Cancer Science Institute of Singapore)
TS26: SETDB1 accelerates non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumorigenesis through WNT signalling pathway 


Best Oral Presentation & Best Malignant Haematology Abstract:
Dr Koh Liang Piu (Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS)
CS11: Effect of Pre-transplant Disease-specific and Transplant-related Prognostic Factors on Outcome of Adults with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Receiving Allogeneic Haematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Best Oral Presentation (Runner-up) & Best Medical Oncology Abstract:
Dr Andrea Wong Li Ann (Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS)
CS45: Prospective, non-randomised, open-label study of UDP-gluconoryltransferase (UGT) 2B17 genotype as a predictive marker of exemestane pharmacokinetics (PK) in post-menopausal hormone receptor (HR)-positive Asian metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients progressing after prior endocrine therapy (ET)

Best Oral Presentation (Runner-up):
Dr Victor Lee Kwan Min (Department of Pathology, NUS)
CS21: Expression of YJ5 (novel antibody for Wnt carrier protein Wntless) in bone tumours

Best Poster Award & Best Radiation Oncology Abstract:
Dr Jeremy Tey Chee Seong (Department of Radiation Oncology, National University Cancer Institute)
CS39: A phase II trial of preoperative concurrent chemotherapy and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in locally advanced rectal cancer

Best Poster Award (Runner-up) & Best Surgical Oncology Abstract:
Dr Joshua K Tay (Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, NUHS)
CS38: The role of Epstein-Barr virus DNA load in the follow-up of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. 


Best Oral Presentation:
Dr Raghav Sundar (Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS)
NS07: Limb Hypothermia Preserves Peripheral Motor Nerve Amplitude After Exposure to Paclitaxel

Best Oral Presentation Runner-ups:
Mr Haikel Lim (YLLSOM)
NS04: The Importance of Spirituality in Reducing Cancer Patients' Anxiety and Depression across their First Year of Diagnosis

Ms Yan Yanyan (NCIS Home Care)
NS11: Impact of home care in managing frequent unplanned readmission for cancer patients

Best Poster Award:
Dr Chong Wan Qin (Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS)
NS02: Use of decision aid to Improve Informed Decision-making and Communication with Physicians on the Use of Oral Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy Treatment: Preliminary Results of A Randomised Controlled Trial

Best Poster Award (Runner-up):
Dr Yong Woon Chai (Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore)
NS13: Residents' Attitude towards Death and Bereavement in a University Hospital

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Gold Sponsors

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