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Education Dinner: Debate

Education Dinner Series
December 2017
The Grandstand Room 2, 1 Blackburn Circuit The University of Sydney
Sydney Catalyst

Debate: 'The next big thing in cancer needs a revolution not more evolution.'

Event Summary

The annual Sydney Catalyst Debate aims to be thought provoking, controversial and invariably entertaining. This year's debate was hosted at The Gradstand on Wednesday 6th December and attracted 45 Sydney Catalyst members.

Thank you to both teams for an entertaining debate and congratulations to the winning team...The Affirmative!

Thank you also to our Chair Dr Wojciech Chrzanowski  and Adjudicators Associate Professor Natalka Suchowerska and Michelle Lai.

For the Affirmative
Captain: Professor Neil Watkins 

Petre Chair of Cancer Biology, Lab-Head Cancer Developmental Biology, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Dr Lorraine Cantrill
Clinical Lead for Oncology Clinical Trials at St Vincent's Hospital

Dr Venessa Chin
VMO Kinghorn Cancer Centre

For the Negative
Captain: Professor John Simes

Director, Sydney Catalyst 
Director, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Rachael Morton
Director, Heath Economics - NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney

Dr Anthony Joshua
Director of Cancer Services, St Vincent's Hospital
Conjoint Associate Professor, The University of New South Wales

About the Debate
The annual Sydney Catalyst End of Year Debate aims to be controversial,  thought provoking and invariably entertaining.
Team biographies

Professor John Simes  MBBS, MS, FRACP, MD, is a medical oncologist in neuro-oncology, clinical epidemiologist and biostatistician. As the Director of the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre he leads an extensive research program aimed at improving health practice and health outcomes through better use of clinical trials research. As the founding Director of Sydney Catalyst, he brings together cross-disciplinary teams whose aims are to improve the outcomes of those affected by cancer, through discovery, new knowledge and the development and implementation of more effective cancer treatments, supportive care and preventive strategies. Professor Simes is a committed clinician and researcher, leading clinical trials and translational research in Australia and, through collaborations, across the world. 

After an impressive career spanning 30 years, John is still inspired when a good idea evolves into a trial that helps improve practice and gives patients better outcomes. 

Dr Anthony Joshua  completed his medical oncology training at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney, Australia before moving to Toronto, Canada to complete a PhD under the supervision of Dr Jeremy Squire in prostatic carcinogenesis, and a clinical Fellowship under Dr Ian Tannock. He joined the Department of Medical Oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto as a staff oncologist in late 2008, specialising in genito-urinary malignancy and melanoma with research interests in circulating tumour DNA, tumour heterogeneity, mechanisms of enzalutamide resistance and autophagy. He returned to Australia, joining the Kinghorn Cancer Centre and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in late 2015. He is currently a conjoint Associate Professor with the University of New South Wales.
Despite obvious physical similarities in stature and physique, he is not related to the current world heavyweight champion.
Associate Professor Rachael Morton is a health economist at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, and Principal Research Fellow, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. She has a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology and PhD in health economics and completed her post-doc at The University of Oxford under the supervision of Professor Alistair Gray. Rachael was a Board member of the Australia and New Zealand Melanoma Trials Group (ANZMTG) for 9 years, and has research interests in economic evaluation alongside clinical trials, diagnostic test evaluation, and incorporation of patient reported outcomes measures (PROMs) into routine care. Rachael has published >100 papers, and in her spare time is an advocate for gender equity in STEMM - (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine). 
Her personal evolution has involved flares, shoulder pads, lace and leg warmers… 

Professor Neil Watkins: after completing medical school, physician training and a PhD in Perth Western Australia, Dr Watkins moved to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centre in Baltimore MD, reaching the rank of Associate Professor of Oncology.  At Johns Hopkins, he worked with by Dr Steve Baylin and Dr Phil Beachy, both renowned in the fields of cancer epigenetics and developmental biology, respectively.  He returned to Australia to take up the Chair in Cancer Biology at Monash University before moving to the Garvan Institute in 2014 as the Inaugural Petre Chair In Cancer Biology. His research interests include developmental biology in cancer, chemoresistance and lung cancer genomics.

Dr Venessa Chin completed her medical oncology training in the Royal Prince Alfred network and then went on to complete her PhD at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research with Professor Andrew Biankin and Dr Marina Pajic.  Her studies centred around genomics-guided therapeutic development in pancreatic cancer.  She is now a VMO at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre with an interest in lung and head and neck cancer.  In addition to this, she is also holds a post-doctoral research position in Professor Neil Watkins' lab where she is focused on the genomic lead research in both lung and head and neck cancer.  

She is an Aquarian, enjoys Agatha Christie novels, all things Elizabethan, and Devonshire Teas.

Dr Lorraine Chantrill completed her UNSW PhD entitled The Path to Personalised Medicine for Pancreas Cancer in 2015 at The Garvan Institute of Medical Research/St Vincent's Clinical School and has recently been appointed as Senior Staff Specialist Medical Oncologist at St Vincent's Hospital.

She is the Clinical Lead for Oncology Clinical Trials at St Vincent's Hospital and is the Principal Investigator on several clinical trials in gastrointestinal cancers. She is a Director of the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG) and Chairs the Upper GI working party of the AGITG. She is a member of the Data Safety Monitoring Committee of the Australasian Lymphoma and Leukaemia Group. She is an executive member of the Australasian Pancreatic Club (APC) and the Australian Pancreas Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI).  She co-chairs the Annual APC/AGITG Pancreas Cancer Research Workshop.