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2017 Annual Scientific Meeting Keynote Speaker Bios

Keynote Presentation:

Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Michigan
“The Application of Integrative Sequencing for Precision Medicine”

Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, American Cancer Society Research Professor, and S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and Urology at the University of Michigan.  He is also the founding Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) which is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of investigators focused on translating “-Omic” technologies to patient care in terms of biomarkers and novel therapeutics. He has co-authored over 400 manuscripts and has been designated an A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Scholar, is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians (AAP), the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the National Academy of Inventors (NAM).  He serves on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute. He leads a multi-institutional Stand Up 2 Cancer- Prostate Cancer Foundation Dream Team to develop precision medicine approaches for men with advanced prostate cancer. 


Dr. Chinnaiyan’s research has focused on functional genomic and bioinformatics approaches to study cancer for the purposes of understanding cancer biology as well as to discover clinical biomarkers.  His group has characterized a number of important biomarkers of prostate cancer including AMACR, EZH2, the sarcosine metabolite, and most recently the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) Schlap1.  AMACR is being used clinically across the country in the assessment of cancer in prostate needle biopsies. His landmark study thus far is the discovery of TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer.  TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions are specific markers of prostate cancer as well as presumably function as rational targets for this disease. This finding potentially redefines the molecular basis of prostate cancer as well as other common epithelial cancers.   Since mid-2013, detection of TMPRSS2-ERG combined with the lncRNA PCA3 in urine (called the MiPS test) is available in CLIA reference laboratories for the detection of clinically significant prostate cancer (licensed and developed with Hologic).  Currently his lab is exploring ways to target this gene fusion as well as discover similar gene fusions in other common epithelial tumors such as those derived from the breast, lung, and colon.  Dr. Chinnaiyan also led the development of the popular cancer profiling bioinformatics resource called Oncomine ( and a newer project called MiTranscriptome ( 


To exploit the rapid advances in high throughput DNA sequencing technologies to realize the goals of “precision cancer medicine” Dr. Chinnaiyan’s group established the Michigan Oncology Sequencing Center (MI-ONCOSEQ) in 2011. Using an integrative sequencing approach, the “universe” of actionable and informative mutations in an individual patient’s tumor can be captured. Thus far over 2500 adult and pediatric (through PEDS-ONCOSEQ) patients have been enrolled and had their tumors sequenced, and informative and/or actionable mutation were discovered in nearly 60% of cases.  This study has also led to a number of discoveries including the pathognomomic gene fusion for solitary fibrous tumor (SFT), targetable FGFR kinase fusions across a diverse array of cancers, mutations in ESR1 as a common resistance mechanism of endocrine therapy in breast cancer, the mutational landscape of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer and pediatric cancers.

Keynote Presentation:

Leonard M. Fleck, Ph.D.

Michigan State University
“Precision Medicine, Ethical Ambiguity”

Leonard M. Fleck, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy and Medical Ethics in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University.  He has been at MSU since 1985 and was promoted to the rank of Full Professor in 1993. He is the author of Just Caring: Health Care Rationing and Democratic Deliberation (Oxford University Press, 2009).  He is a co-editor of Fair Resource Allocation and Rationing at the Bedside (Oxford University Press, 2015).  He is currently working on a book-length manuscript with the working title Precision Medicine, Ethical Ambiguity.  He has over 140 published journal articles or book chapters.  He served on the Clinton Task Force on Health Care Reform in Washington DC in 1993.  He received a University Distinguished Faculty Award in 2003 from Michigan State University and a Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Human Medicine in 2003.  His major areas of research include health care justice and health reform, especially in relation to cost control issues.  He also addresses a broad range of ethical and policy issues related to emerging genetic technologies.  In both cases he advocates for greater use of fair processes of rational democratic deliberation to address these issues.

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