Comis Symposium – Fall 2019

Inaugural Robert L. Comis, MD Translational Science Symposium
Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in ECOG-ACRIN: Directions for Cancer Research
October 24, 2019
Fort Lauderdale, FL 

This symposium is named is for the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group’s late Group Co-Chair Robert L. Comis, MD (pictured at left). The potential of translational science to advance cancer diagnosis, prevention, and treatment was a guiding passion for Dr. Comis, and the symposium honors him in this way. Learn more about Dr. Comis here.

This program addresses a topic that resonates throughout our activities in ECOG-ACRIN: the promise and the pitfalls of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. Accessing clinical data to assess efficacy and impact is, of course, a challenge of our information-rich age. Several symposium speakers engaged with this issue: How do we extract meaningful data from the medical record for these purposes. Additional speakers presented data-rich sources of information and their use.

Scroll over and click on a title to watch the video (for speakers who granted permission).


Peter O’Dwyer, MD
ECOG-ACRIN / University of Pennsylvania
Dr. O’Dwyer is a medical oncologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He also serves as Director of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2017, Dr. O’Dwyer has served as Co-­Chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group.


Warren Kibbe, PhD
Duke Cancer Institute


AI in Health Care Research–Implementation and Opportunity
Tommaso Mansi, PhD
Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.
Dr. Mansi is currently Senior Director of REtD for Siemens Healthineers, Digital Technology and Innovation, in Princeton, NJ, a position he has held since 2016. Dr. Mansi joined Siemens Healthineers in 2010, just after his PhD at Sophia Antipolis, France, in biomedical engineering. Dr. Mansi is an expert in medical image analysis, computational modeling and artificial intelligence, with publications in top-tier international conferences and journals.

Rethinking Risk Models with AI
Regina Barzilay, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Barzilay is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. Her research interests are in natural language processing. Currently, Dr. Barzilay is focused on bringing the power of machine learning to oncology.

Learning to Predict Cancer Risk (video)
Adam Yala, PhD Candidate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Adam Yala is a PhD Candidate at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and works at the intersection of machine learning and oncology.

UK Biobank: A Visionary Resource for Cancer Research in the 21st Century (video)
Naomi Allen, BSc, MSc, DPhil
UK Biobank / University of Oxford
Dr. Allen is Co-Chief Scientist for UK Biobank and Professor of Epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford. She has been involved in the UK Biobank project since 2011 and is responsible for coordinating the linkage of routine electronic health records into the study for long-term follow-up.


The Data, Informatics, and How These Relate to Medicine
Lawrence Shulman, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Shulman is a Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, Deputy Director for Clinical Services at the Abramson Cancer Center, and Director of the Center for Global Cancer Medicine all at the University of Pennsylvania.

Studying Drug Resistance in Cancer (video)
Gad Getz, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Shulman is a Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, Deputy Director for Clinical Services at the Abramson Cancer Center, and Director of the Center for Global Cancer Medicine all at the University of Pennsylvania.

AI in Pathology Diagnosis (video)
Stanley Hamilton, MD
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Hamilton is currently a gastrointestinal and molecular pathologist who is Professor and Head of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center since 1998. Dr. Hamilton has administrative responsibility for the clinical laboratories at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Pathology Big Data–Pathomics/Radiomics (video)
Joel Saltz, MD, PhD
Stony Brook University
Dr. Saltz is the Cherith Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Vice President for Clinical Informatics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He is also Associate Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center. Dr. Saltz is a leader in research on advanced information technologies for large scale data science and biomedical/scientific research and has developed innovative pathology informatics methods.


Practical Applications of Genome–Immune Environment Nexus (video)
Keith Flaherty, MD
Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Dr. Flaherty is Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the ECOG-ACRIN Study Chair of the NCI-MATCH trial, and serves ECOG-ACRIN as Chair of the Developmental Therapeutics Committee as well as Deputy Chair for the Biomarker Sciences Program.

Generating Evidence from the Real World (video)
Neal Meropol, MD
Flatiron Health
Dr. Meropol is a medical oncologist, clinical investigator, and health outcomes researcher who serves as Vice President of Research Oncology at Flatiron Health. In this role, he leads efforts to leverage Flatiron’s technology platforms and nationwide provider network to gain insights from real-world data that accelerate research and improve the quality of care for cancer patients.

Image-Based Phenotyping–National Lung Screening Trial As Example (video)
Matthew Schabath, PhD
Moffit Cancer Center
Dr. Schabath is an associate member at the Moffitt Cancer Center with joint appointments in the Departments of Cancer Epidemiology and Thoracic Oncology. Dr. Schabath has expertise in molecular epidemiology, clinical epidemiology, quantitative imaging, and health disparities.

Leveraging Multiple Data Sources to Enhance Clinical Cancer Research (video)
Mitchell Schnall, MD, PhD
ECOG-ACRIN / University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Schnall is the Eugene P. Pendergrass Professor of Radiology and the Chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Schnall was one of the architects of the merger of ECOG and ACRIN to form the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group. He has served as Group Co-Chair since 2012.

Download the printed agenda and printed programs



ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group