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The Personal Side of Sequencing: Exploring the Role of Cancer Gene Panels and NGS in Clinical Research

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

The Personal Side of Sequencing: Exploring the Role of Cancer Gene Panels and NGS in Clinical Research

Recorded 23 October 2013



Genetic testing methods for cancer research play an important role detecting gene variance in disease. As researchers learn more about the mechanisms of cancer, the development of accurate and affordable technologies for effective and quick detection becomes paramount. Advances in next generation sequencing (NGS) have allowed accurate variant detection that can uncover the specific genetic mutations that may drive cancer. The application of NGS to breast cancer research has enabled the development of cost-effective, multigene sequencing panels that have advanced our understanding of the disease and may in the future translate into better diagnosis and outcomes for patients. The audience will learn about the current state of breast cancer research, how data generated by NGS gene panels target variants of interest and have been developed and used in routine laboratory research, and the broader issues of breast cancer education, awareness, and community services.

 During the webinar, the speakers will:

  • Describe their clinical research into genes associated with breast cancer
  • Address criteria for laboratory NGS gene panel testing
  • Discuss the current landscape regarding breast cancer awareness, and the availability and affordability of research testing 
  • Answer your questions live on air!


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Speaker bios

José Luis Costa, Ph.D.

Porto, Portugal

Dr. Costa carried out his undergraduate studies at the University of Porto in Portugal and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Biology at Uppsala University in Sweden. Prior to joining the Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto (IPATIMUP) in 2006, Dr. Costa carried out postdoctoral research at the Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His current research activities include the implementation of next generation sequencing technologies in a diagnostic setting and the use of this technology to better understand cancer etiology and treatment.

Harriet Feilotter, Ph.D.

Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Feilotter is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen’s University, where she maintains an active research program dedicated to biomarker discovery and validation in a variety of human diseases. She obtained her Ph.D. from Queen's University and did a postdoctoral fellowship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States, where she became a research associate for two years. Returning to Canada and Queen's University in 1995, she took on a research associate position. In 1998, she began her Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG) training in Kingston, and became a CCMG Fellow in Molecular Genetics in 2000. As the chief scientific officer of the Ontario Cancer Biomarker Network, she oversees the genomic and proteomic laboratory operations of that entity, with a special interest in the integration of platforms designed to support large-scale studies of human DNA, RNA, and proteins. In her role as service chief of Kingston General Hospital Laboratory Genetics, she also oversees the clinical genetics program. This combination of job responsibilities allows her to focus on methods to bridge the gap between research and clinical application of biomarker findings. 

Sandra Balladares, Ph.D.

Life Technologies
Mexico City, Mexico

Dr. Balladares received her undergraduate degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in molecular biomedicine from the National Polytechnic Institute, also in Mexico. She has worked at Life Technologies for nine years, part of that time at Applied Biosystems prior to its acquisition by Life Technologies, and is currently the senior district manager for Commercial Operations in North Latin America. Dr. Balladares brings a personal perspective to the issue of genetic screening, being a breast cancer survivor herself who experienced the frustration of not having access to genetic testing that could have positively impacted her treatment. She is now a passionate advocate for cancer screening tests, particularly in her home country of Mexico.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently Dr. Sanders is the Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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