The Ontario Tumour Bank’s team at OICR


John Bartlett, PhD, Principal investigator of the Ontario Tumour Bank (OTB)

Dr. John Bartlett is the provincial principal investigator of the Ontario Tumour Bank. Through his research at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), he is pursuing an integrated platform of research focused on the development of novel cancer diagnostics.

In 2011, Dr. Bartlett became director of OICR’s Transformative Pathology Program and OTB. He is developing new diagnostic approaches to improve patient diagnosis and treatment. By gaining an understanding of the molecular complexity of cancer, accurate diagnostic approaches can be developed to ensure that patients receive the most appropriate treatment. Novel diagnostic tools are required to accurately identify molecular sub-types of cancer and to predict the effectiveness of treatment. Dr. Bartlett has contributed to the development of translational research within multi-centre clinical trials, several of which have led to new insights into selecting appropriate therapeutics for breast cancer patients. He aims to foster research in other laboratories across the province to accelerate the discovery of novel diagnostics for cancer.

Monique Albert, M.Sc., PMP, Director of the Ontario Tumour Bank

Monique Albert joined OICR as the Director of the Ontario Tumour Bank in August 2013 for the second time, after filling in for the prior director as a contract maternity-leave replacement in 2010-2011. She has broad experience in the health research and pharmaceutical sectors, having held a variety of leadership and research roles at: MaRS Excellence in Clinical Innovation and Technology Evaluation (“EXCITE”) program; the STTARR Innovation Centre at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Microarray Centre (both at University Health Network); and in the corporate sector at Cangene Corporation and Affinium Pharmaceuticals. Her academic background combines a M.Sc. in biological sciences with project management certification/professional designation.

Actively involved in the global biobanking community, she is the Director-at-Large (Americas) for the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). She also co-led the full Scientific Program Committee and plenary session for the ISBER international conference in May 2017. She was directly involved in the development of the Canadian Tissue Repository Network (CTRNet) resources, has published and presented on biobanking topics on multiple occasions, and is a frequent peer reviewer for Biopreservation and Biobanking.

Team members

  • Larry Phouthavongsy – Analyst
  • Dan Pineda – Sr. Client Coordinator
  • Lindsay Hayman– Research Technician

The OTB teams at the participating hospitals

OTB is a collaboration between OICR and leading healthcare institutions in Ontario. Four academic teaching hospitals across Ontario currently collect biospecimens and clinical data from participating donors for OTB: Kingston General Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and The Ottawa Hospital. Each collection centre has a team of professionals that work in collaboration with the local principal investigator. Specially trained staff members include a pathologists' assistant and a clinical research co-ordinator who are committed to the operations of the OTB.

Affiliated with Queen’s University, Kingston General Hospital (KGH) is a 456-bed teaching hospital that provides specialized acute and ambulatory clinic services to more than 500,000 people in Southeastern Ontario and features a robust research program and hands-on skill training for more than 1,900 students annually.

Home to the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, KGH also provides multidisciplinary, comprehensive cancer care through core services including radiation, systemic and surgical treatment, palliative medicine and supportive care through the regional cancer program.

The regional program, which services the southeast region from Peterborough and Cobourg in the west to Brockville and Smiths Falls in the east, provides almost 70,000 visits/treatments annually. The cancer program also actively participates in cancer and prevention screening activities and various clinical trials.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jay Engel
Division of Surgical Oncology

Tumour Bank Staff

Caroline Hensman

Kathryn Logan
Pathologists' Assistant

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs.

Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites: South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario and Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics.

LHSC provides services to the people of Southwestern Ontario, a population base of 1.8 million people, and also accepts patients from across Canada and around the world into its many specialized programs.

The London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP) at LHSC is committed to translational research that transfers and advances knowledge back and forth between the clinic and the laboratory.

Successful translational research demands close cooperation between clinical and basic researchers. Together, they identify the high priority clinical questions for study by basic scientists – questions that, if answered, will lead to reduced suffering and mortality in cancer patients. The LRCP is uniquely configured to accomplish this by bringing the cancer care program and the basic cancer research program together.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jeremy Parfitt
Department of Pathology

Tumour Bank Staff

Lee-Anne Pickard
Clinical Research Associate

Carolyn Shire
Pathology Research Assistant

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) is a regional leader in patient-centred care providing acute care, research, teaching, community and international outreach programs throughout its network. Since being founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1890, the hospital span three specialized campuses in the Greater Hamilton Area (Charlton Campus, West 5th Campus and King Street Campus), with St. Joseph’s Villa Dundas providing long-term care and St. Joseph’s Home Care providing personalized home care traversing the reach of the region.

As a premier academic and research healthcare organization, SJHH is committed to making a difference in people’s lives and creating a lasting future for our community through integrated health services and internationally recognized programs. Its threefold mission is to provide dynamic research, revolutionary methods in health sciences education, and the highest standard of clinical care in a spirit of compassion, innovation and commitment.

SJHH is affiliated with McMaster University, Mohawk College and the St. Joseph’s Health System (SJHS) and home to the prestigious Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health and the high-tech Brain-Body Institute. Also among SJHH’s prominent teaching contributions is the internationally renowned Centre for Minimal Access Surgery.

SJHH has earned a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. The hospital is particularly well known for excellence in respiratory care, kidney and urinary care, mental health and addictions, surgical services, cancer surgery and women’s and infants’ care. It recently launched The Research Institute of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, underscoring its commitment to better health and outcomes through scientific investigation.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Vina Alexopoulou
Anatomical Pathology

co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Asghar Naqvi
Anatomical Pathology

Tumour Bank Staff

Dr. Anbreen Zaidi
Clinical Research Coordinator

Gino Celebre
Pathologists' Assistant

Serving the 1.2 million residents of Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, The Ottawa Hospital is one of the largest academic health sciences centres in Canada. Composed of the Riverside, General and Civic campuses, The Ottawa Hospital is home to state-of-the-art specialty centres in cancer, heart, kidney, vision care and rehabilitation services.

The Ottawa Hospital in partnership with research partners, the Ottawa Health Research Institute and the University of Ottawa, takes part in more than 600 clinical trials and has about 850 clinical research projects underway per year.

The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre (TOHCC) is an outpatient cancer diagnosis, treatment and research facility that treats about 19,000 patients (including about 5,000 new cases) every year. TOHCC’s dedicated cancer team strives to bring the utmost in state-of-the-art treatment, research and compassionate care to the people of Eastern Ontario.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Harman Sekhon
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Co-principal Investigators

Dr. Angel Arnaout
Department of General Surgery

Dr. Sebastien Gilbert
Department of Thoracic Surgery

Tumour Bank Staff

Nikita Rayne
Clinical Research Assistant