Pieter Wesseling, MD, PhD
Keynote Presentation Title: Innovations in the New WHO Classification of CNS Tumors - How to Diagnose Brain Tumors in Children
Pieter Wesseling (PW) is clinical neuropathologist, professor in neuro-oncological pathology, and affiliated with the Amsterdam University Medical Centers/VUmc in Amsterdam, as well as with the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is an expert in the histopathology and molecular biology of tumors of the Central Nervous System (CNS), and has (co-)authored > 250 papers on these aspects. His main research interest nowadays concerns further elucidation of the molecular underpinnings of CNS tumors and translation of this information into an improved clinical diagnosis. PW is editorial board member of several international top 5 neuropathology/neurooncology journals, consultant for multiple (international) funding agencies, and scientific advisory board member for several research institutes abroad. He has been a member of the consortium to Inform Molecular and Practical Approaches to CNS Tumor Taxonomy (cIMPACT-NOW) from the start in 2016, was centrally involved in shaping the more recent editions of the WHO CNS tumor classification, and at present acts as expert editor for both the 2021 WHO CNS tumor classification and the 2021 WHO Pediatric tumor classification.
Michelle Monje, MD, PhD
Keynote Presentation Title: Developing CAR T-cell Immunotherapies for Children with CNS Tumors
Michelle Monje is an associate professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University. She received her M.D. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford and completed her residency training in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School Partners program, and then returned to Stanford for a clinical fellowship in pediatric neuro-oncology and postdoctoral fellowship in developmental and cancer biology. Dr. Monje is recognized as an international leader in the pathophysiology of glioma, especially diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)/H3K27M-mutated diffuse midline gliomas and a pioneer in the emerging field of Cancer Neuroscience. Her clinical focus is on childhood glial malignancies and cognitive impairment after childhood cancer therapy. Her laboratory studies neuron-glial interactions in health and disease, with a particular focus on mechanisms and consequences of neuron-glial interactions in health, glial dysfunction in cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment and neuron-glial interactions in malignant glioma. Together with these basic studies, her research program has advanced preclinical studies of novel therapeutics for pediatric high-grade gliomas and cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment in order to translate new therapies to the clinic. She has led several of her discoveries from basic molecular work to clinical trials for children and young adults with brain tumors.