Plenary Talks

Charles R. Cantor, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Boston University


Dr. Charles Cantor is a founder, and Chief Scientific Officer at SEQUENOM, Inc., which is a genetics discovery company with tools, information and strategies for determining the medical impact of genes and genetic variations.

He is also the founder of SelectX Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company, Retrotope, an anti-aging company, and DiThera, a biotherapeutic company. Dr. Cantor is professor emeritus of Biomedical Engineering and of Pharmacology and was the director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology at Boston University. He is currently adjunct professor of Bioengineering at UC San Diego, adjunct professor of Molecular Biology at the Scripps Institute for Research, and distinguished adjunct professor of Physiology and Biophysics at UC Irvine. Prior to this, Dr. Cantor held positions in Chemistry and then in Genetics and Development at Columbia University and in Molecular Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. Cantor was educated in chemistry at Columbia College (AB) and at the University of California Berkeley (PhD).

Dr. Cantor has been granted more than 60 US patents and, with Paul Schimmel, wrote a three-volume textbook on biophysical chemistry. He also co-authored the first textbook on Genomics titled 'The Science and Technology of the Human Genome Project'. In addition, he sits on the advisory boards of numerous national and international biotechnology firms, has published more than 450 peer-reviewed articles, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Sylvia Plevritis, PhD

Multiscale Modeling of Cancer Biology and Cancer Outcomes

Professor, Departments of Radiology
and (by courtesy) Management Science and Engineering
co-Chief, Information Sciences in Imaging at Stanford (ISIS)
Director, NCI Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology


Dr. Plevritis is Professor in the Department of Radiology in the Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Plevritis holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering (Stanford, 1992) and MS in Health Services Research (Stanford, 1996). Dr. Plevritis is the co-Section Chief of Information Sciences in Imaging at Stanford (ISIS) and Director of the NCI Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB). Dr. Plevritis' research bridges multiple levels of "big data" in cancer, including genomic, proteomic, medical imaging and clinical outcomes data. Her research aims to model the natural history of cancer by identifying molecular drivers of cancer progression from early to late stages, in order to formulate novel strategies for early detection and treatment. She also develops models of clinical cancer progression from cancer registries and clinical trials in order to evaluate the effectiveness of new cancer screening strategies. By developing models of cancer progression that span molecular and population sciences, Dr. Plevritis aims to provide the most comprehensive multiscale perspective to date on cancer control strategies in early detection and treatment.

Josh Stuart

Pan-Cancer to personalized cellular wiring diagrams of tumor cells

Baskin Endowed Chair, Baskin Engineering
Associate Director, Center Biomolecular Science & Engineering
Professor, Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz


Although many genomic events that directly contribute to cancer onset and progression have been identified, much of the complex molecular landscape remains uncharted. The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network has profiled and analyzed large numbers of human tumors to discover molecular aberrations at the DNA, RNA, protein and epigenetic levels. The rich data resulting from that enterprise provides a major opportunity to develop a picture of commonalities, differences, and emergent themes across tumor lineages. In the talk I will discuss our efforts to create new tools to elucidate disrupted cellular circuitry in tumor cells. Through integrative pathway analysis we are able to define subtypes predictive of clinical outcomes, infer the impact of mutations, and construct personalized networks for use in developing combination therapy.


Dr. Stuart applies his background in machine-learning to high-throughput data sets and his expertise in developing computational models to integrating multiple sources of molecular biology information. The Stuart lab's research focuses on discovering how gene networks program cellular responses and on developing search engines to scan large collections of high-throughput results to predict how genes function. They recently developed the PARADIGM pathway-based models that integrates multiple sources of gene activity to predict alterations and clinical outcomes in tumor samples, which deciphers pathway alterations in many cancer cohorts. He co-leads a Genome Data Analysis Center for the TCGA project, co-chairs the pan-cancer TCGA effort, is a member of the bioinformatics pathways group for the International Cancer Genome Consortium, and directs the computational pathway analysis for a Stand Up To Cancer Dream Team to identify therapies for resistant prostate cancer. Dr. Stuart received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2004. He received the 2006 Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award from the University of Colorado at Boulder, is an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and received an NSF CAREER award in 2009.