Prof. Simak Ali
Obtained his PhD in Genetics from the University of Edinburgh in 1988. He was subsequently awarded an EMBO fellowship to carry out his postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Prof. Pierre Chambon in Strasbourg. Here, he investigated the mechanisms of action of nuclear receptor transcription factors. He joined Imperial College London in 1997 and in 2007 became Professor of Molecular Endocrine Oncology at the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery & Cancer.
His research involves using Omics-based approaches (proteomic, transcriptomic, genomic and epigonomic) to investigate the molecular mechanisms of estrogen receptor action in breast cancer.
Specific highlights include:
His group are also involved in the development of novel biomarkers and treatments for prostate cancer. In particular, his research involves identifying the androgen-responsive genes that mediate the growth stimulatory effects of androgens in prostate cancer cells. This work has resulted in the identification of potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers for monitoring prostate cancer progression and drug response.
Martine Piccart, MD, PhD
Martine Piccart, MD, PhD, is a professor of oncology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and director of medicine at the Institute Jules Bordet, in Brussels, Belgium. Earning her medical degrees at ULB and oncology qualifications in New York and London, she is also a member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine.
With a primary interest in breast cancer and drug development, Prof. Piccart is a leader in international research collaboration and is the principal or co-principal investigator of many clinical trials, including HERA, MINDACT, and ALTTO. She is co-founder and chair of the Breast International Group (BIG), uniting 49 academic research groups from around the world and running over 30 trials under its umbrella. BIG’s research programs include the European Commission supported TRANSBIG consortium of 28 institutions in 11 countries (collaborating with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC] the MINDACT trial), and NeoBIG, an innovative biomarker and drug development program focused on neoadjuvant trials.
Prof. Piccart is active in numerous professional organizations. She is the immediate past president of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO, 2014-2015). She has also held presidencies of the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), and has served on the American Society of Clinical Oncology Board (ASCO).
Throughout her career, Prof. Piccart has been honored with numerous prestigious awards for her research contributions, including the Jill Rose Award for distinguished biomedical research (2009, New York, USA), the William L. McGuire Award in recognition of her contribution in breast cancer research (2009, SABCS, San Antonio/Texas, USA), the Umberto Veronesi Award for the Future Fight Against Cancer (2012, Cancun, Mexico), the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award in recognition of innovative clinical research and developments that have changed the way oncologists think about the general practice of oncology (2013, ASCO, Chicago, USA) and, most recently, the Susan G. Komen’s Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction (2015, SABCS, San Antonio/Texas, USA).
An accomplished clinician and scientist, Prof. Piccart is author or co-author of over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals.