Annual Symposium on Upper Gastro-Intestinal Cancers

We are pleased to invite you to the McGill’s 5th Annual Symposium on Upper Gastro-Intestinal Cancers held in Montreal at Sofitel on October 29, 2022. The symposium aims to gather healthcare professionals of different disciplines to share their insights and latest research in the clinical management of esophageal and gastric malignancies. This platform will provide a unique opportunity to interact with international leaders in the field of Upper Gastro-Intestinal Cancers and learn about novel approaches that can be implemented in daily practice.

The 5th Annual Symposium on Upper Gastro-Intestinal Cancers is hosted by:

From left to right: Dr. Lorenzo Ferri (Thoracic Surgeon- McGill University), Dr. Serge Mayrand (Gastroenterologist - McGill University),
Dr. Joanne Alfieri (Radiation Oncologist - McGill University) and Dr. Thierry Alcindor (Medical Oncologist - McGill University)


Why attend:
- Learn from experts in the field and enhance your knowledge base
- Get informed on the future of patient care
- Network with international leaders



Visiting Professors

Robert Bechara, HonBSc, MD, FRCPC
Queens University

After obtaining his medical degree from the University of Toronto, Dr. Robert Bechara completed his internal medicine and gastroenterology residency training at Queens University. Dr. Bechara completed his fellowship training in advanced therapeutic endoscopy at St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto. Subsequently, he completed a 1-year third space endoscopy fellowship under Dr. Haruhiro Inoue at the Showa University Digestive Disease Center Koto-Toyosu Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. His training in Japan included Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy(POEM), Peroral Endoscopic Tumor resection (POET), Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD), Anti-Reflux Muco Sectomy, and magnifying endoscopy.

Dr. Robert Bechara is currently an Associate Professor at Queens University, and his clinical and research interests include POEM, ESD, magnifying endoscopy, diagnosis & resection of early gastrointestinal neoplasia

Samuel Klempner, MD
Medical Oncologist
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Klempner is a Associate Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and leads the gastric and esophageal program. His clinical and translational research is centered on cancer genomics, acquired resistance to targeted therapies and the intersection of genomics and immune mediated therapies to identify novel therapeutic approaches and biomarkers in gastroesophageal cancers.

He serves on the NRG non-colorectal committee, the NCI esophagogastric task force, and the NCCN guideline committees for gastric and esophageal cancers. His work is supported by Stand Up 2 Cancer, NCI/NIH, AACR, and he currently serves as the AGA Research Foundation’s Gastric Cancer Foundation Ben Feinstein Memorial Research Scholar Award in Gastric Cancer.

As a member of the gastrointestinal cancer group at MGH Dr. Klempner conducts clinical trials and translational research with new targeted agents and immune therapies and is active in gastroesophageal cancer advocacy and education.

Frédéric Lemay, MD
University of Sherbrooke

AMD degree from Université Sherbrooke 2003
Gastroenterology degree from Université Sherbrooke 2008
Fellowship in GI oncology , Hopital St-Antoine, Paris, 2010-2011
Associate Professor, Université de Sherbrooke
Program Director, Gastroenterology Adult Program,Université de Sherbrooke
Member of the Centre de Recherche Cliniquedu CHUS

Donald Low, MD
Virginia Mason Medical Center

Donald Low, MD is the Director of the Esophageal Center of Excellence at the Digestive Disease Institute, President of the Ryan Hill Research Foundation, and Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Dr. Low’s clinical interests include all aspects of general Thoracic Surgery but are focused on the treatment of Esophageal Cancer, Barrett’s esophagus, benign tumors of the esophagus, primary and revisional anti reflux surgery, para esophageal hernia and achalasia. Dr. Low is a Board Certified General Thoracic Surgeon, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. He has received Honorary Fellowships from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. His research interests have focused on the improvement in pathways of care associated with esophagectomy and standardizing outcome reporting and definitions associated with the surgical treatment of esophageal cancer. He is responsible for the formation of the Esophageal Complications Consensus Group (ECCG) and the International Online Eso data database and is President of the International Eso data Study Group (IESG).

Jelena Lukovic, MD, FRCPC, MPH
Radiation Oncologist
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Dr. Lukovic is a Radiation Oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She treats gastrointestinal, gynecologic, and endocrine malignancies. She has a Master of Public Health from Harvard University, and her primary research interest is in organ preservation. She also sits on the National Cancer Institute(NCI) Gastrointestinal Subcommittee Task Force and additionally represents the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) on the NCTN Diversity in GI Oncology Task Force.

Jonathan Yeung, MD
University of Toronto

Dr. Jonathan Yeung is Assistant Professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto and Director of the Thoracic Foregut Surgery Program at the University Health Network in Toronto. Following residency in General and Thoracic Surgery in Toronto, he pursued fellowship training in Lung Transplantation in Toronto and Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. His clinical practice covers general thoracic surgery and lung transplantation with an additional focus on foregut surgery. He is an Affiliate Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and his lab focuses on improving the personalized care of esophageal cancer using patient-derived organoids, genomics, and liquid biopsy technologies.

Guest Speakers

Suzanne Gisbertz, MD, MSc, PhD
Amsterdam University Medical Center

Suzanne Gisbertz finished medical school at the AMC, University of Amsterdam in 2002. She did her surgical training at UMCU, Utrecht University and St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein until 2010 and her advanced gastro-intestinal and minimally invasive surgical training at VUMC, Amsterdam until 2012. She got her doctorate (PhD) in 2009.

She is currently a consultant upper-GI surgeon and principal investigator at the Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam in Amsterdam. She has been proctoring minimally invasive esophagectomies and gastrectomies at different centers in the Netherlands and abroad. Her main research topics are lymph node metastases and extent of lymphadenectomy in esophageal and gastric cancer, minimally invasive upper GI surgery and postoperative outcome, quality of life following upper GI surgery and surgical techniques (e.g. omentectomy vs omentum preservation in gastrectomy, transhiatal versus transthoracic esophagectomy).

She is board member of the Dutch Society for Gastro-Intestinal Surgery (NVGIC)and of the European Society for Diseases of the Esophagus (ESDE). She is also a member of several other committees and guideline committees, both nationally and internationally.

Wayne L. Hofstetter, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Wayne L. Hofstetter, M.D., is currently Professor and Deputy Chair in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and serves as Director of the Esophageal Surgery Program. A graduate of the University of Southern California Medical School, Dr. Hofstetter focused on thoracic surgical disease, completing fellowships in esophageal and foregut surgeries at the University of Southern California, and then thoracic oncology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Broadly trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon and thoracic oncologist at the Texas Heart Institute, he now devotes a great deal of his work to esophageal cancer and lung cancer.

At M. D. Anderson, he formed a strong network of clinicians with specific interests in esophageal diseases. A multidisciplinary group emerged under his able leadership, and together, physicians from other specialties like Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, and Gastroenterology collaborate closely to treat esophageal cancer patients.

Board certified both by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Hofstetter is nationally and internationally involved in a host of clinical and scientific endeavors with membership in several organizations, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, the General Thoracic Surgical Club, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, including the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. His research, which forms avital part of his academic role, has led to numerous peer-reviewed publications, notably in such journals as the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, and Cancer.

Ekaterina Kosyachkova
Patient Advocate
My Gut Feeling – Stomach Cancer Foundation of Canada

Ekaterina is a eleven-year stomach cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2011 when she was 21 years old. She underwent a total gastrectomy with adjuvant chemo-radiation (Macdonald Protocol). At the time of her diagnosis there were no stomach cancer organizations in Canada. Frustrated by the lack of support and information for patient, Ekaterina along with fellow survivor Teresa started My Gut Feeling–Stomach Cancer Foundation of Canada so that nobody has to go through stomach cancer alone.

Today Ekaterina works as a Physician Assistant at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto Department of GI Medical Oncology. She has come full circle from stomach cancer patient to provider. Her cancer experiences allow her to relate to her patients and provide patient-centered care.

Steven Lin, MD, PhD
Radiation Oncologist
MD Anderson Cancer Center

I am an Associate Professor in Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I received my M.D./Ph.D. degrees in the Medical Scientist Training Program at The University of California Irvine Medical School and completed residency at Johns Hopkins.

One of my primary clinical research interest focuses on ways to enhance radiotherapy cures in esophageal cancer. This can incorporate the use of advanced radiation techniques to limit the exposure of normal tissue and reduce the morbidity of treatment. The clinical benefit of advanced radiation technologies to improve outcomes in esophageal cancer has been demonstrated from single institutional datasets to large population or hospital-based databases.

I am currently PI of a Phase IIB randomized trial comparing Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) vs. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) in esophageal cancer. This is currently being developed as a NRG Phase III randomized trial (GI1543) for which I will serve as the national PI.

Andrew Seely, MD, PhD, FRCPC
University of Ottawa

Andrew JE Seely is Professor of Surgery within the Divisions of Thoracic Surgery and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Director of Research for the Division of Thoracic Surgery. He was awarded a Tier 1 Clinical Research Chair from the University of Ottawa. Dr Seely leads research teams focused on innovative health information management to improve care.

In Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Seely leads adverse event monitoring and quality improvement research locally and nationally; and has helped create a CATS national database and learning network. In critical care, Dr Seely performs theoretical research exploring the clinical insights of complex systems science, physiologic understanding of complex biologic variability, applied research monitoring multi-organ variability during exercise, infection, critical illness, dying and ventilator weaning, and implementation research introducing variability-derived clinical decision support tools. He shares his family life with Kathy Patterson and their daughters Phoebe and Ruby in Ottawa.

Teresa Tiano
Chair and Co-Founder, My Gut Feeling

Teresa is an eleven-year stomach cancer survivor, and a 5-time cancer survivor. She also Has Lynch Syndrome which puts her at high risk for many types of cancer. When she was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2011, it was her second cancer diagnosis. Teresa had a laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy followed by chemo and radiation.

Teresa has over 20 years of experience in the non-for-profit world, and 14 years of governance and administrative experience in the cancer sector directly. She has volunteered at St. Michael's Hospital, Carmelina's Home, and Caritas.

Teresa sits on patient advocacy teams for various national and international research projects. Her volunteer work with My Gut Feeling allows her to support patients so that no-one has to go through the journey alone. Teresa holds an Honours BA in History and Literature from the University of Toronto. She is married and lives with her husband in Toronto

Mark I. van Berge Henegouwen, MD, PhD
Amsterdam University Medical Center

Mark I. van Berge Henegouwen is chair of the upper GI unit at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, chair of the Dutch Upper GI Cancer Audit and chair of the Dutch society of foregut surgeons of the Netherlands. He was appointed professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery in 2017 at the University of Amsterdam. Mark van Berge Henegouwen’s clinical practice is dedicated to patients with malignancies of the esophagus and stomach.

The Amsterdam UMC is currently one of the largest centers for esophageal and gastric cancer in Europe. The Amsterdam UMC is a tertiary referral center for these patients with around 250 esophago-gastric resections annually. Mark van Berge Henegouwen has introduced minimally invasive surgery for esophageal and gastric cancer at his center in 2009 and now around 90 percent of patients is treated thoraco-laparoscopically or robotically.

Mark van Berge Henegouwen is a Principal Investigator in upper GI cancer Surgery and main research activities are focused on improvement of outcomes in upper GI cancer surgery, outcomes and centralization in the Dutch Upper GI Cancer Audit, improvement of (minimally invasive) techniques, neoadjuvant treatment regimens in esophageal and gastric cancer and quality of life in upper GI cancer surgery. He is author of over360 peer reviewed publications in the field of esophagogastric surgery.


The symposium will be held in Salon Picasso at the Sofitel Montreal
Address:1155 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2N3

Continental breakfast will be served between 7:00 am – 8:00 am
Lunch will be served during the event

Parking is available for a rate of $25 paid by guest

Cocktails and dinner
Ristorante Beatrice
Address: 1504 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1L3

6:30 pm - Cocktails
7:30 pm - Dinner


Physician – Attending only the symposium: $50
Physician – Attending the symposium & dinner: $100

*Please note, space is limited and all participants must register online by October 21st.
Only committee members and presenters will be automatically registered.

Register here!


View program

View previous symposium and past events


Thank you to our sponsors


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