External Advisory Committee

Dr. Victor Ling

Dr. Victor Ling is the founding President and Scientific Director of the Terry Fox Research Institute www.tfri.ca. He is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency. He served previously as VP of Research at the BC Cancer Agency and Assistant Dean at UBC. In that capacity he was instrumental in launching the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver and the construction of the $90 million BC Cancer Research Centre that currently is home to over 650 staff including over 200 trainees. Dr Ling is known for his discovery of P-glycoprotein (MDR) and the superfamily of ABC transporters. He has been honored by the General Motors Kettering Prize, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, a Michael Smith Foundation Distinguished Scholar Award and many others.  He has received honorary degrees from four different Canadian universities, the Order of British Columbia, the Order of Canada and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Carol Cass

Dr. Carol Cass is Professor Emeritus Oncology and Adjunct Professor Biochemistry at the University of Alberta.  She received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Oklahoma, her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, undertook postdoctoral studies at the University of Alberta, where she subsequently served as a faculty member.  A former Canada Research Chair in Oncology and recipient of career awards from the former National Cancer Institute of Canada, including the Terry Fox Cancer Research Scientist Award. Dr. Cass’ discovery and translational research interests are in nucleoside therapeutics, with a focus on membrane transport proteins and their role in the physiology and pharmacology of nucleosides and nucleoside drugs.  A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, recipient of the Robert L. Noble Research Prize of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and the J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research at the University of Alberta, Dr. Cass has held many academic, research and health-care leadership positions.  She was Coordinator of the Alberta Research Tumor Bank from its inception to 2010 and is currently the Alberta Node Leader and member of the Executive Committee of the Terry Fox Research Institute.

Dr. Christine Williams

Dr Williams was awarded a PhD in Immunology from the University of Toronto, where she studied DNA repair pathways. She received additional post-doctoral training on the molecular biology of blood cell development and cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital and became an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. Dr Williams returned to Toronto in 2005 as Assistant Director of Research at the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) and Director of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative (CPCRI).

In February 2009, the Canadian Cancer Society and the NCIC formally integrated operations to become a single organization and, shortly thereafter, Dr Williams became the inaugural Director of Research for the new Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. In January 2012, she became the national Vice-President, Research responsible for overall leadership of research programs and initiatives at the Society.

In addition to her role as VP, Research, Dr Williams chairs the Health Charities Coalition of Canada standing committee on health research and is the co-chair of the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance.

Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao

Dr. Tsao is a Pathologist and Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and the Qasim Choksi Chair inLung Cancer Translational Research.  His research focuses on dissecting the genomic aberrations in lung cancers, identifying aberrations and gene expression signatures that can be used clinically as prognostic markers of survival and predictive markers of response to therapies. Many of these studies involve the use of banked snap-frozen and archival pathology samples from patients involved in pivotal lung cancer clinical trials. He has published more than 320 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Dr. Tsao is the co-Chair of the Correlative Science and Tumor Biology Committee of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG). He received the 2011 O. Harold Warwick Award from the Canadian Cancer Society. He is the Director of the Terry Fox Foundation Training Program in Clinician Scientists in Oncologic Pathology.


Dr. Nik Zeps

Dr. Zeps is a PhD scientist involved in translational research in breast, gastrointestinal and gynecological malignancies. He is the head of a translational research program at St John of God HealthCare (SJGHC), which is integrated into clinical care. This has included establishing a research biobank integrated into the pathology practice and a molecular diagnostic clinical service. He is Director of Research at SJGHC Subiaco Hospital and also the SJGHC National Research Coordinator.

He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Surgery at the University of Western Australia and at Notre Dame Medical School. He is a member of Research Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia. He has been involved in human research ethics since 2002 as a member of a Human Research Ethics Committee and in the Harmonisation of Multicentre Ethical Review processes at a national level. He was a member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee from 2006-2012. He is a member of the steering committee of the Global Summit of National Ethics Committees.
He is the chair of the Cancer Biology Group of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia and the Biological sub-committee of the Australasian Gastro-intestinal Trials Group and a member of the Research and Data Advisory Committee of Cancer Australia. He is the Australian representative on the Ethics and Policy Committee of the International Cancer Genome Consortium and a founding member of the Australasian Biospecimen Network. He is co-chair of the Science Policy Committee of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER).

Dr. Phil Branton

Phil Branton obtained his Ph.D. in 1972 in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the Ontario Cancer Institute, University of Toronto.  Following post-doctoral studies at MIT with Phil Robbins he became a Professeur adjoint at the Université de Sherbrooke, then moved in 1975 to the Cancer Research Group at McMaster University where he ultimately became Professor of Pathology and the Group’s Coordinator.  He moved to McGill University as Chair of Biochemistry (1990-2000), and in 1996 named Gilman Cheney Professor.  In 2000 he was selected as inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Cancer Research of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He chairs the International Advisory Board of the University Hospital Network (Toronto) and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Terry Fox Research Institute and is founder and past Chair of the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) and past Chair of the Research Action Group of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. He is well known internationally for basic research on human adenoviruses, cell death, protein degradation and tumour suppressors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2005 was awarded the R.M. Taylor Medal from the Canadian Cancer Society and in 2011 the CCRA Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research.

Dr. Sam Abraham

As VP Strategic Relationships and VP Research, Dr Abraham works to enable high quality discovery research and to create linkages between the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) and both the public and private sectors that will help the BCCA to achieve its mandate of cancer control for the province of British Columbia. Both sets of responsibilities are involved in the development of intellectual property arising from research activities at the BCCA and its partner institutions, and the translation of those discoveries into clinical practices or products that will benefit patients. Dr Abraham works closely with senior scientific, clinical and administrative staff to provide both scientific, business and policy expertise in supporting targeted, high-value research and determining patient-focused development strategies.

BCCA is a branch of the Provincial Health Services Authority, where Dr. Abraham has an additional role as Executive Lead, Business and Intellectual Property Development.  In this expanded role, he is instrumental in advising branches of the PHSA on issues related to IP development and commercialization for technologies resulting from research programs at member agencies. These agencies include the BC Cancer Agency, BC Centre for Disease Control, BC Children’s and Women’s Hospitals, Mental Health & Addiction, Renal, Transplant and Cardiac Services.  

Dr Abraham received his PhD in Genetics from the University of British Columbia. He joined Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals as a Senior Scientist in 1996, and later became Project Leader for the Transplant Program, as well as Division Leader for Cell and Molecular Biology. He has been with the BC Cancer Agency since 2000 and also serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Quest Pharma.  Dr. Abraham has been VP Strategic Relationships for the BCCA since 2007 and was appointed Executive Lead, Business and Intellectual Property Development for PHSA in 2010 and Interim VP Research in 2011.

Dr. Stuart Edmonds

Dr. Stuart Edmonds joined Prostate Cancer Canada in February 2011. During his time at the organization he has spearheaded the launch of the Research Strategic Plan, providing the direction for research and survivorship activities for 2012-2015. From this plan, PCC has launched numerous new research programs based on the key pillars: Collaboration, Innovation and Talented People. Dr. Edmonds has also instituted a fair and transparent peer review process to steward and safeguard funds raised in support of prostate cancer research and to ensure that only the most promising, high quality research is funded.

Prior to joining PCC Dr. Edmonds held leadership roles at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance and the National Cancer Institute of Canada. Stuart holds a doctorate in pharmacology from Oxford University.

Dr. William Grizzle

Dr. Grizzle is a researcher with his major focus in translational research on squamous cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas and neuroendocrine tumors. He is board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and is Professor of Pathology at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB). For the last three decades, Dr. Grizzle, via the Tissue Collection and Banking Facility (TCBF) at UAB, has provided human tissues to support the research of biomedical investigators throughout North America. The TCBF includes the Southern Division of the Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN). In 1985, he introduced to tissue resources the utilization of histopathological quality control of tissue aliquots actually provided for research and he has been involved in the development of standards and operational issues for biorepositories including database development. In this regard, he was a founding member of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) and is past president of ISBER and has worked on all editions of ISBER Best Practices.

He is a trustee of the Biological Stain Commission (BSC) and past vice president and past president of the BSC. The BSC is an organization which certifies biological stains and provides education and support as to factors such as tissue preparation, which affect histochemical and immunohistochemical staining and other molecular assays. He has great expertise in Biorepository Sciences including how fixation of tissues interacts with the stages of tissue processing to affect immunorecognition and other molecular assays.