Dr. John E. Dick
Dr. Dick is currently Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist of the University Health Network in the Research Institutes of the Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospitals and the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine. He is also Director of the Program in Cancer Stem Cells at the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR). Dr. Dick’s seminal contributions to the fields of molecular haematology, stem cell biology and oncology have been recognized by numerous prestigious awards including the Clifford Prize for Cancer Research (2009) from Australia, the Robert L. Noble Prize from National Cancer Institute of Canada (2000) and the Diamond Jubilee Award (2007) (with Drs. J.E. Till and E.A. McCulloch) from the National Cancer Institute of Canada. Dr. Dick was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2004.
Dr. Dick's research has focused on understanding normal and leukemic human stem cells. This research developed a system for transplanting normal and leukemic human stem cells into immune-deficient mice; an assay that has revolutionized the study of human hematopoiesis. His group characterized many of the properties of normal repopulating cells with this assay system. His lab also established that only a small proportion of human leukemic cells were capable of initiating human leukemia within the immune-deficient mice. Purifiying these leukemia-initiating cells provided direct evidence for the cancer stem cell hypothesis.
Dr. Aaron Schimmer
Dr. Schimmer is a staff physician in the department of Hematology/Oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, a senior scientist at Ontario Cancer Institute and the head of Experimental Hematology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Schimmer is developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of acute leukemia. He is a strong proponent of 'drug recycling' where off-patent drugs are screened and tested to see what effects they have on cancer targets. This approach to drug development can be successful and highly efficient, as the toxicity and side effects related to the use of the drug in humans is already documented and well-understood. Dr. Schimmer is the author of over 135 papers, and is the inventor on over 20 patents and patent applications. He has advanced three drugs with novel mechanisms of action from his lab into clinical trials for patients with acute leukemia. He has received over 30 awards and honours for academic achievement including an award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation for the best young scientists. In 2007, Dr. Schimmer was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40. Dr. Schimmer received the 2012 Till & McCulloch Award, presented each year by the Stem Cell Network in recognition of the year's most influential peer-reviewed article by a researcher in Canada. He also received the 2013 Bernard and Francine Dorval prize, which is awarded by the Canadian Cancer Society to a promising investigator who began their independent research within the previous 10 years and who has made outstanding contributions to basic biomedical research.