Meet Our Scientific Experts
Quynh-Thu Le, MD, Chair & Professor – Stanford University
Dr. Quynh-Thu Le received both her medical school and radiation oncology training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She then joined the Stanford faculty in 1997. She became the Chair of the Stanford Radiation Oncology Department in September 2011. She also holds the Katharine Dexter McCormick & Stanley Memorial Professorship at Stanford University.
Her research focuses on translating laboratory findings to the clinic and vice versa in head and neck cancer (HNC), specifically in the area of tumor hypoxia and salivary gland stem cells. Her research is reflected in both her publications and grant funding. Hers was one of the first groups that identified circulating biomarkers for tumor hypoxia in HNC, leading to the application of some of these markers in clinical trials, testing hypoxia targeted strategies.
On the clinical side, she has led multicenter phase II and III clinical trials, testing the addition of novel drugs as either radiosensitizer or radioprotector with chemoradiotherapy in HNC. She has received grant support from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) Education & Development Award, R01 and R21 grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH). She was inducted into the Fellowship of the American College of Radiology (FACR), the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (FASTRO) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). She is also received a distinguished alumni award from Caltech.
Administratively, she is the Co-Director of the Radiation Biology Program of the Stanford Cancer Institute and the Chair of the Head and Neck Cancer Committee of the NRG Oncology Group, which is part of the NCI supported National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN), running large phase II-III studies for radiation in solid cancers. She serves on the editorial board of the several cancer related journals.
Steven De Vleeschouwer, MD, Ph.D., Neurosurgeon & Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Neurosurgery and Neuroanatomy – KU Leuven
Dr. Steven De Vleeschouwer is staff neurosurgeon at the University Hospitals, Leuven, Belgium since 2005 where he is responsible for the clinical care program of patients with intracranial tumors. He holds a part-time professorship at the Neurosciences department at KU Leuven, Belgium and is head of the Laboratory of Experimental Neurosurgery and Neuroanatomy. He is the current Chair of the Belgian Association of Neuro-oncology (BANO), extended board member of the Belgian Society for Neurosurgery (BSN) and active member of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS), the European Association of Neuro-oncology (EANO) and the Society of Neuro-oncology (SNO). He is co-founder of the Belgian Brain Tumor Support (BBTS) and actively training residents in neurosurgery as well as supervising several finalized and ongoing Ph.D. projects. Professor De Vleeschouwer is peer-reviewer for more than 25 scientific journals and serves in the editorial board of 4 biomedical journals. His main research interests comprise both clinical and experimental neuro-oncology and include functional and morphological demarcation tools in brain tumor surgery, basic and applied brain tumor immunology and strategies to modify the brain tumor micro-environment.
Gilles Besin, Ph.D., Executive Director, Head of Discovery Research - Affinivax
Dr. Gilles Besin has 15 years of research experience in immunology and vaccines for infectious diseases, oncology and metabolic disorders. Recently, Dr. Besin joined Affinivax as Executive Director, Head of discovery to lead all the research efforts. Before that Dr Besin led the Research and Discovery groups at both Moderna and In-Cell-Art. In Moderna, he led the platform Immunology group and the efforts to modulate T cell responses in cancer and autoimmune diseases using mRNA lipid nanoparticles. Dr. Besin also collaborated in the development of numerous mRNA cancer and infectious diseases vaccines in Moderna, some actually in clinical phase. Prior to Moderna, Dr. Besin was involved in the discovery of DNA vaccines mainly in cancer, e.g. hepatocellular carcinoma in In-Cell-ART (France). In parallel to these efforts, Dr. Besin participated in the development of mRNA vaccines in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur and CureVac under the umbrella of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Prior to his industry experience, Dr Besin worked on the characterization of autoimmune T cells and dendritic cells in autoimmune disease (Type 1 diabetes) in the Clinical Research Center of Sherbrooke University and in the Armand Frappier Institute, both in Canada. Dr. Besin received his PhD in Immunology from the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Germany, a Master in Cell biology from Louis Pasteur University in France and an Engineering Diploma in Biotechnology from ESBS in France.
Jo Van Betsbrugge, Ph.D., CMC & Drug Development | Co-inventor of Baqsimi™ (Intranasal Glucagon, Eli Lilly/Locemia Solutions)
Dr. Jo Van Betsbrugge is an independent Pharmaceutical Development Consultant who covers all areas of CMC development, from preclinical development of small molecules and peptides, to formulation development, clinical manufacturing, and scale-up. Jo’s journey in drug discovery and development began in 1999 when he created BioQuadrant Pharmaceutical Intermediates Inc, a chemistry-based CDMO specializing in the development of small molecule and peptide drugs. During his career at BioQuadrant he led the successful execution of over 80 milestone-driven projects for private and public biotech firms. He is a co-inventor and co-developer of Eli Lilly’s Baqsimi™, a novel intranasal dry powder formulation of glucagon originally developed at BioQuadrant in 2009 on behalf of Locemia Solutions. Baqsimi received FDA approval in July of 2019.
Jo obtained his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Brussels (Belgium) in 1997. He received training in cGMP-compliant manufacturing, process validation, and in the preparation of the CMC section for NDAs, CTDs and INDs. He’s a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.
Ravin Narain, PhD., P.Eng., Full Professor & an established researcher, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering – University of Alberta
Dr. Ravin Narain is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia. He has made original and innovative contributions to the design, fabrication, and characterization of novel polymers, hydrogels and nanomedicine for a wide range of applications. Dr. Narain’s research mainly focus on biomaterials, nanomedicine and regenerative medicine, with an emphasis on developing new biomaterials for drug and gene delivery applications. In particular, he has made significant contributions in the area of glycopolymers and glyco-nanomaterials for a range of applications primarily for biomedical uses. His laboratory focuses essentially on the controlled radical polymerization process for the synthesis of well-defined polymers. He has published over 170 articles and is the editor of 5 books namely Engineered Carbohydrate-Based Materials for Biomedical Applications (Wiley), Chemistry of Bioconjugates (Wiley), Glycopolymers: Synthesis and Applications (Smithers & Rapra), and Polymers and Nanomaterials for Gene Therapy (Woodhead Publishing & Elsevier Inc.). He is currently on the Advisory Board for Polymer Chemistry (RSC) and is the Editor for three special issues for Polymers (MDPI): Polymers and Nanogels for Gene Therapy; Responsive Polymers for Drug Delivery, Imaging and Theranostic Functions; Advanced Polymers for Engineering Applications. He has also been appointed as the section editor for the second edition of Comprehensive Glycoscience (Elsevier) and editor for a new book, Polymer Science and Nanotechnology (Elsevier).
Mark David Vincent, MD, MB, ChB, FRCPC, Medical Oncologist – London Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Vincent is a medical oncologist at the London Regional Cancer Centre, a part of Cancer Care Ontario, where his activities include the management of lung and gastrointestinal cancer, and laboratory research into the reversal of cytotoxic drug resistance by means of gene therapy. He is also an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario in the Department of Medicine, in the division of Medical oncology where he received the Award of Excellence in Teaching in 2004.
Nicolas Bertrand, Ph.D., Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, CRCHUL – Université Laval
Prof. Nicolas Bertrand is an expert in the preparation and characterization of nanoparticles for drug delivery applications. After a postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Dr. Robert S. Langer’s laboratory), he started his independent research team at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Université Laval in January 2015. He has authored multiple well-cited articles in the field of nanomedicine and drug delivery, notably on the use of pharmacokinetics to understand the fate of biomaterials and nanoparticles. He is the director of the research cluster on “Biopharmacy and Pharmacometry” within the Réseau Québecois de Recherche sur les Médicaments. Prof Bertrand also acted as a consultant for various clinical- and preclinical stage nanomedicine companies.
Université du Québec à Rimouski
Jonathan Gagnon, Ph.D., Department of Biology, Chemistry & Geography – Université du Québec à Rimouski
Chemist and inventor of Ovensa’s licensed TRIOZAN™ technology. Separates, purifies, characterizes and modifies naturally occurring polysaccharides to use their natural chirality and develops new applications in areas such as catalysis, environmental and biomedical.