Speakers

Thank you to the following speakers

Nicola Coom

Nicola is the Executive Director of Emerge Aotearoa Limited and Ignite Aotearoa. She is also on the Board of Mind and Body Consultants and The Neonatal Trust. In 2010 Nicola founded The Gift of Knowledge, a charity that provides peer support to whānau impacted by hereditary cancer and was recognised for this work as a finalist in the inaugural Westpac Women of Influence Awards. Nicola resides in Ōtautahi with her husband and three boys.

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Subhashini Crerar

Subhashini is a certified Genetic Counsellor holding professional registration with both the UK Genetic Counselling Registration Board (GCRB) and the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA). Having started her professional career as a molecular scientist she is passionate about joining the science of genomics with the art of working alongside patients and their families. Over the past 10 years Subhashini has worked in three different Clinical Genetics Services, firstly in the UK where she trained and then more recently here in NZ with the Genetic Health Service. Subhashini enjoys working across various disciplines and this is demonstrated by her experience of working as the dedicated Genetic Counsellor in various multidisciplinary team (MDT) genetics clinics; such as Neurology, Aortopathy and Prenatal genetics. She has first had experience of mainstreaming Genomics in both the realm of oncology mainstreaming as well as through the work she did in Oxford during the NHS England 100,000 genomes project.

Subhashini is focused on trying to contribute to the responsible and appropriate use of genetic technology in the delivery of effective, patient and family focused healthcare inside and outside of the clinical genetics specialism.

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Emma Felix

Emma is a Board Certified Genetic Counsellor (FHGSA) practicing in Wellington as part of the Wellington branch of the NZ Genetic Health Service. She began her career as a Genetic Counsellor in 2003 following a 12 year career in both the UK and NZ as a Diagnostic Genetic Scientist. The career move was prompted by both a passion for the field of genetics and a desire to be directly working with and supporting patients and families. Emma has experience in all fields of genetic counselling and works across multiple areas but has special interests in cancer genetics, particularly breast and ovarian cancer and the psychosocial aspects of genetic counselling.

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Harry Fraser

Harry practices as a Genetic Counsellor at the Northern Regional Genetics Service in Auckland.

He trained in Manchester, UK, and relocated to New Zealand in 2019. Though his role includes working across multiple areas of clinical genetics, there is a particular focus on cancer genetics, including familial breast and ovarian cancer.

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Prof Paul James

Paul is a Clinical Geneticist from Melbourne. He is the Director of the Parkville Familial Cancer Centre (Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) and Head of Clinical Genetics in the Department of Genomic Medicine (RMH). He is the group leader in Familial Cancer research at Peter MacCallum and leads a program of research involving familial disorders, supported by the Victoria Cancer Agency, Cancer Australia, NBCF and the NHMRC.

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Dr Patrick Keating

Patrick is currently a Senior Medical Officer (SMO) in Gynaecology Oncology at Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) and a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Otago University. Patrick trained in London before working as a Gynaecology Oncology consultant in the North West of England for 20 years. As well as Gynaecology Oncology, Patrick is interested in genetic cancer risk reduction and was a part of the research team at the Paterson Institute for cancer research at Christie’s Hospital in Manchester. His research was on the immunology of HPV and cervix cancer. Now residing in New Zealand, Patrick is learning to sail keel boats and is learning to play to cello. In September, he also proudly became a granddad.

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Dr Vanessa Lau

Vanessa is a Research Fellow at the University of Otago Christchurch. Her research focuses on cancer prevention by increasing our understanding of the genetic variants that alter risk and developing novel preventative strategies. Dr Lau manages the New Zealand Familial Breast Cancer Study, which is the New Zealand node of the world leading ENIGMA (Evidence-based Network for the Interpretation of Germline Mutant Alleles) and CIMBA (Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2) consortia.

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Dr Christine Mouat

Christine trained in New Zealand before doing a Clinical Breast fellowship in Edinburgh.
She started a familial breast cancer service at CCDHB in 2007 with the Genetics Associates and intermittently the Gynae oncology service. They negotiated MRI Surveillance Programme for women who are BRCA mutation carriers. She has advocated for options for Risk Reducing Mastectomy in this population.
She has looked after more than 90 women who have BRCA and other familial mutations and currently has 23 women in active care at Hutt Hospital.
It has become very apparent to her that these women have specific but very individual needs as they navigate the challenges of risk.
She has been very concerned at the inequities of access to testing and management for these patients around the country.

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Prof Bridget Robinson

Bridget graduated in Medicine from the University of Otago, then undertook postgraduate training and MD research at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research in London, before returning to a position as Medical Oncologist at Christchurch Hospital in 1986. Since 1998 she held a joint appointment at the University of Otago and the CDHB, and in 2010 was appointed to the Mackenzie Chair in Cancer Medicine. She has experienced many advances in cancer therapy and supportive care, and remains committed to achieving the best outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. In recent years she has focused on breast cancer, sarcoma, brain tumours and several rare cancer types.

She also directs the Cancer Society Tissue Bank to support research, and is clinical director of the Mackenzie Cancer Research Group, focusing on problems directly relevant to cancer patients, e.g. effects of obesity/exercise on chemotherapy response, familial cancer, as well as clinical trials in cancer patients.

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Elena Saunders

Elena (she/her) is Principal Advisor at Te Aho o Te Kahu, our national cancer control agency. She works in the Prioritisation, Innovation and Research team on a number of projects related to new developments in cancer care. Elena trained as a pharmacist in Australia, and has experience working in clinical pharmacy as well as the pharmaceutical industry in Australia, the UK and Aotearoa New Zealand. Prior to joining Te Aho o Te Kahu she was Therapeutic Group Manager for medical oncology at PHARMAC.

Kō wai ahau? Nō Te Whenua Moemoea, nō Weira ōku tipuna. Nō Te Whenua Moemoea ahau. I whānau mai ki Melbourne, engari ko Adelaide tōku turanga waewae. E noho ana ahau i te Whanganui-a-Tara. He tangata tūhono ahau.

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Dr Kathryn Taylor

Kathryn is a Registered Clinical Psychologist with an interest in psycho-oncology. She has a PhD in Health Sciences form the University of Otago. Kathryn set up and led the Psychology Team at St George's Cancer Care Centre in Christchurch for nine years. She is a Past-president of Psychosocial Oncology New Zealand (PONZ). Kathryn is currently teaching in the post-graduate diploma in CBT at the University of Canterbury.

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Prof Clare Turnbull

Clare is Professor of Translational Cancer Genetics in the Division of Genetics and Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research. Her research spans statistical, population and public-health-related analyses of cancer epidemiology, genetic cancer susceptibility and implementation of expanded genomic testing. Undertaking germline, somatic and functional genomic studies in various tumour types, Clare has particular interest in breast cancer and testicular cancer. Her team has led the international field in identification of genetic factors influencing testicular germ cell tumorogenesis.

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A/Prof Logan Walker

Logan is a researcher at the University of Otago Christchurch. His research programme is focused on evaluating the clinical significance of genetic variants and developing novel strategies for preventing cancer in high-risk individuals.

He leads the New Zealand Familial Breast Cancer Study, which is the New Zealand node of the international ENIGMA (Evidence-based Network for the Interpretation of Germline Mutant Alleles) and CIMBA (Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2) consortia. He is also a co-Director of the University of Otago Research Centre, Genetics Otago, and a member of several international groups tasked with improving diagnostic guidelines used to classify genetic variants. These roles include ENIGMA Splicing Working Group Chair, and member of the ENIGMA Steering Committee and Variant Curation Expert Panel, the ClinGen Hereditary Breast Ovarian and Pancreatic Cancer Variant Curation Expert Panel, the ClinGen Sequence Variant Interpretation - Splicing Sub-group, and the BRCA Challenge Steering Group.

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Dr Michelle Wilson

Michelle is a Staff Medical Oncologist at the Auckland City Hospital and clinical director for Cancer and Blood Research at Auckland Hospital.

Her research focus is geared towards early phase translational studies, the relevance of genetic testing in oncology and clinical trials endpoints; in particular, their utility and evolution in an era of precision oncology practice. She was awarded an MD from the University of Auckland for her work on the challenges facing clinical trial design in oncology. She is an active member of the research advisory committee for the Australia New Zealand Gynaeoncology Group (ANZGOG) and ISOQOL.

She prides herself on patient-centred care and increasing research opportunities for patients facing a diagnosis of cancer.

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