Ontario Tumour Bank’s team at OICR

Leadership

Lincoln Stein, PhD, Principal Investigator of OTB and Head of Adaptive Oncology at OICR

Prior to joining OICR in 2006, Dr. Stein played an integral role in many large-scale data initiatives at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Genome Center. He led the development of the first physical clone map of the human genome, and ran the data coordinating centre and the data portal for the SNP Consortium and the HapMap Consortium. Dr. Stein has also led the creation and development of Wormbase, a community model organism database for C. elegans, and Reactome, which is now the largest open community database of biological reactions and pathways.

At OICR, Dr. Stein has led several international cancer data sharing and research initiatives, including the creation and development of the data coordination centre for the International Cancer Genome Consortium and other related projects. He continues to collaborate with national and international partners to create and promote data sharing standards, protocols and implementations.

Dianne Chadwick, PhD, Associate Director of OTB

Dianne Chadwick joined OTB as Associate Director in October 2022 after more than 10 years working in biobanks at the University Heath Network and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. With a PhD in Medical Biophysics and fellowship training in clinical laboratory genetics, she brings a strong understanding of the clinical side of hospital operations and appreciation for the needs of research.

Ilinca Lungu, M.Sc., Operations Manager of OTB and Project Manager of Tissue Portal

Ilinca Lungu joined OICR in 2012. Prior to entering the cancer research field, she held roles at the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Guelph. In 2018 she became the lead for OICR’s Tissue Portal, a new centralized facility for tissue sample processing and characterization.

Since taking on the supplementary role of Operations Manager for OTB in early 2022, Ms. Lungu has effectively managed the rebooting of OTB’s collection operations, which were temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has initiated several new OTB projects, including the selection and acquisition of a new Biobanking Information Management System, bespoke prospective collection, and living tissue collection. Ms. Lungu is passionate about interdisciplinary collaboration and helping researchers get the most out of their biospecimens.

Team members

  • Riley Cox – Senior Client Coordinator
  • Larry Phouthavongsy – Analyst
  • Katarina Maksimovic – Project Lead

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: 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 coordinator who are committed to the operations of the OTB.

London Health Sciences Centre

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jeremy Parfitt
Department of Pathology

Tumour Bank Staff

Jennifer Petzke
Clinical Research Coordinator

Carolyn Shire
Pathology Research 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. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs.

Located in London, Ontario, LHSC is a multi-site facility that encompasses University Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Children’s Hospital, two family medical centres as well as two community-based outpatient service programs, and is the home of Lawson Health Research Institute and Children’s Health Research Institute, CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technology & Advanced Robotics), Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, as well as Children’s Health Foundation and London Health Sciences Foundation. As a regional referral centre, LHSC cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year.

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 requires strong collaboration 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 improved quality of life and life expectancy in cancer patients. The LRCP is uniquely configured to accomplish this by bringing the cancer care program and the basic cancer research program together.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Co-Principal Investigators

Dr. Vina Alexopoulou
Anatomical Pathology

Dr. Asghar Naqvi

Tumour Bank Staff

Dr. Anbreen Zaidi
Clinical Research Coordinator

Gino Celebre
Pathologists’ 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 now spans three specialized campuses in the Greater Hamilton Area (Charlton Campus, West 5th Campus and King Street Campus). Two other members of the St. Joseph’s Health System, St. Joseph’s Villa Dundas and St. Joseph’s Home Care provide long-term care and personalized home care, respectively, traversing the reach of care in the region.

As a premier academic and research healthcare organization, SJHH is committed to excellence and dedicated to discovery; to make a difference in people’s lives and create 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 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. SJHH underscored its commitment to research as a driver of better health outcomes in 2014 through the creation of The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton (RSJH).

SJHH and RSJH are members of the St. Joseph’s Health system and have affiliations with McMaster University, and Mohawk College and are home to the several prestigious centres and institutes, including: Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, the Urologic Cancer Centre for Research and Innovation, Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research, and the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

The Ottawa Hospital

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

Waad Matar
Clinical Research Assistant

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s top learning and research hospitals, where excellent care is inspired by research and driven by compassion. As the third-largest employer in Ottawa, our support staff, researchers, nurses, physicians, and volunteers never stop seeking solutions to the most complex health-care challenges.

Our multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, attracts some of the most influential scientific minds from around the world. Our focus on learning and research leads to new techniques and discoveries that are adopted globally to improve patient care.

We are the Regional Trauma Centre for eastern Ontario and have been accredited with Exemplary Standing for health-care delivery — the highest rating from Accreditation Canada. We are also home to world-leading research programs focused on cancer therapeutics, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, chronic disease, and practice-changing research.

Backed by generous support from the community, we are committed to providing the world-class, compassionate care we would want for our loved ones.