All invited speakers to GAP 2018 are introduced here (page updated continuously). Click “+ Show more” to read the full introduction of a speaker and his/her engagements during the conference.

James P. Allison

James P. Allison, MD, PhD

Dr. James Allison is the Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has spent a distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy. Among his most notable discoveries are the determination of the T cell receptor structure and that CD28 is the major costimulatory molecule that allows full activation of naïve T cells and prevents anergy in T cell clones. His lab resolved a major controversy by demonstrating that CTLA-4 inhibits T-cell activation by opposing CD28-mediated costimulation and that blockade of CTLA-4 could enhance T cell responses, leading to tumor rejection in animal models. This finding paved the wave for the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy for cancer. Work in his lab led to the development of ipilimumab, an antibody to human CTLA-4 and the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy approved by the FDA. (ref. MDA web)

Participates in the following events:
Wednesday 5/16 9:45 AM-10:30 AM - Immunotherapy including checkpoint inhibitors

Jonas Bergh

Jonas Bergh, MD, PhD

Jonas  Bergh  holds the  Mimi  Althainz’ Professorship in Oncology at  Karolinska Institutet (KI) and is senior consultant Radiumhemmet, Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. He has recently been appointed Director for the Strategic Research Program in Cancer at KI. Between 2009 and 2010, he was Professor of Breast Oncology at Manchester University in England. Professor Bergh's research is mainly focused on tailored breast cancer treatment.

Bergh is currently acting Chair of the Scientific Advisory Group Oncology-Hematology at the European Medicines Agency (EMA), where he has been member since 2004. He is co-chairman for a global network, Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group, with over 600 clinical scientists. The group’s publications have a globally great impact on primary breast cancer treatment. Bergh is also a member of the consensus panels establishing treatment recommendations for primary and metastatic breast cancer; also of great importance for breast cancer treatment in many countries.

Jonas Bergh is also fellow in Royal College of Physicians in London, member of the scientific council IARC for WHO, Visiting Professor of Breast Cancer Research, Oxford University and member of the Nobel Assembly.

Participates in the following events:
Tuesday 5/15 8:30 AM-11:30 AM - OPENING PLENARY SESSION 1
Tuesday 5/15 3:30 PM-5:30 PM - WS 6: Breast Cancer

Peter Friedl

Peter Friedl, MD, PhD

Dr. Friedl was born and raised in Germany, received his M.D. degree from the University of Bochum in 1992 and the Ph.D. degree from the McGill University, Montreal in 1996. Since 2007 he is directing the Microscopical Imaging Centre of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands and since 2011 holds a joint-faculty position at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX for preclinical intravital imaging of cancer lesions and their response to molecular targeted and immunotherapy.

His research interest is the mechanisms and plasticity of cell migration in immune regulation and cancer metastasis, with emphasis on cell-matrix adhesion, pericellular proteolysis and cell-cell communication during migration. His laboratory identified pathways determining diversity and plasticity of cell migration, collective cancer cell invasion, and the contribution of migration pathways to immune defense and cancer resistance. His discoveries have provided a nomenclature for the different types of cell migration and their roles in building and (re)shaping tissue, with emphasis on inflammation, regeneration and cancer. His therapeutic preclinical studies focus on the intravital visualization of niches and mechanisms and strategies to overcome therapy resistance.

Participates in the following events:
Thursday 5/17 9:45 AM-10:15 AM - "Plasticity of cancer metastasis"

Thomas Helleday
Thomas Helleday, PhD

Professor Thomas Helleday is the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Biology at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

He heads a large multidisciplinary translational research group focusing on understanding basic DNA repair and DNA-damage and developing novel drugs for anti-cancer treatments. The group was first to demonstrate a novel concept for treating cancer called “synthetic lethality” established by the selective killing of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutated breast and ovarian cancers by PARP inhibitors (now EMA/FDA approved). The research covers both basic and translational work including academic-driven clinical trials, based on basic science findings in his laboratory.

Participates in the following events:
Thursday 5/17 1:30 PM-2:00 PM - Keynote

Olli Kallioniemi

Olli Kallioniemi, MD, PhD

Olli Kallioniemi is Professor in Molecular Precision Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet and Director of the Science for Life Laboratory (, a national infrastructure for life sciences in Sweden since 2015.

Professor Kallioniemi received his M.D. in 1984, Ph.D. in 1988 and specialty training in laboratory medicine at the University of Tampere in Finland. He undertook a postdoc at UC San Francisco in 1990-1992 and was appointed faculty at the National Human Genome Research Institute, at the NIH (1995-2002). He was the founding director of the Medical Biotechnology unit at Turku, Finland at the VTT Technical Research Centre and University of Turku (2002-2008). He was the Founding Director of FIMM – the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland ( and professor at the University of Helsinki in 2007-2015. FIMM is part of the Nordic EMBL partnership in Molecular Medicine.

Professor Kallioniemi is an author of 358 publications, a member of the editorial board of six journals and has been an invited key note lecturer in over 150 meetings during the past five years. He has supervised 23 doctoral theses and has been an advisor to 27 postdocs.

Professor Kallioniemi is an inventor and co-inventor of 24 issued patents, with a focus on diagnostic technology development, such as FISH, CGH, tissue microarrays, cell-based RNAi microarrays and bioinformatic methods. His current research is focussing on individualized systems medicine to promote precision care of cancer patients.

Professor Kallioniemi is a member of EMBO, the National Academy of Sciences (Finland), European Academy of Cancer Sciences and an elected member of The Nobel Assembly.

Participates in the following events:
Tuesday 5/15 3:00 PM-3:30 PM - Keynote
Tuesday 5/15 3:30 PM-5:30 PM - WS 9: Precision Medicine

Stephan Mielke
Stephan Mielke, MD, PhD

Stephan Mielke was born in 1969 in Bielefeld, West Germany. In 1999 he graduated from Medical School and received his doctoral degree from Georg-August University in Göttingen. In the same year, he started his residency and fellowship program at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. From 2004 to 2007 Mielke carried out his postdoctoral research at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, subsequently joining the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg where he has been Professor of Medicine since 2014.

In connection with his move to KI, Mielke has been appointed Scientific Director for the Theme Cancer and as head of CAST at Karolinska University Hospital.  On 1 January 2017, Stephan Mielke was appointed Professor of Haematology and Cellular Therapy at Karolinska Institutet.

Foto: Creo Media Group. Text: Anders Nilsson.

Helena Nordenstedt

Helena Nordenstedt, MD, PhD

Dr. Nordenstedt has a background working for Médecins Sans Frontières in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2014 she holds a position as Assistant Professor of Global health at Karolinska Institutet, where she has focused on teaching Global health to undergraduate and graduate students. In 2015-16 she worked closely with Professor Hans Rosling launching a massive open online course in Global health. She regularly gives lectures for the Gapminder Foundation.

Participates in the following events:
Tuesday 5/15 11:15 AM-12:00 PM - “Global Health”-Hans Rosling in memoriam (Talk + audience test)

Sir Richard Peto

Sir Richard Peto, FRS
Richard Peto is Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford. His epidemiological studies in Europe, America, India, China and Russia have shown that in many populations the importance of major causes such as tobacco, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol has been much underestimated. He has also helped widen international perspectives on the main ways of reducing premature death.

Participates in the following events:
Tuesday 5/15 10:30 AM-11:15 AM - “Halving premature death”

Caroline Robert

Caroline Robert, MD, PhD

Caroline Robert is the Head of the Dermatology Service at Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus and co-director of the Melanoma Research Unit at INSERM 981 Paris-Sud University. She trained at the Paris V University, France and completed a research fellowship at Harvard, Brigham & Women’s hospital in Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy. She chairs the Melanoma group of the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and is board member for the European Association of Onco-Dermatology (EADO), the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), the European Association of Dermato-Venereology (EADV) the French society of Dermatology and Venereology (SFD), the American Society of Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association of Clinical Research (AACR). Her main focuses of interest are clinical and translational Research on Melanoma: immunotherapy and targeted therapy, as well as the study of the cutaneous adverse events of anticancer agents. She is national and international coordinator of many clinical trials of targeted therapy and immunotherapy for melanoma patients, from phase I to III. She has authored more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including a number of publications on new treatments for metastatic melanoma

Her recent work has focused on identification of new biomarkers for immunotherapy and targeted therapies of patients with melanoma.

Joe Y. Chang

Joe Y. Chang, MD, PhD

Professor (Tenure), Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Director, Stereotactic Radiotherapy Program, Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Participates in the following events:
Wednesday 5/16 1:30 PM-2:00 PM - Keynote
Wednesday 5/16 1:30 PM-3:30 PM - WS 13: Stereotactic radiotherapy – level of evidence and clinical usefulness

Harald zur Hausen

Harald zur Hausen, MD, PhD

Harald zur Hausen studied medicine from 1955-60. After two years of medical internship he received the license to practice medicine. Subsequently, he went into research and worked in Düsseldorf, Philadelphia, and Würzburg for about 3 ½ years, respectively. In 1972 he was appointed as founding Director of the Institute of Virology at the University of Erlangen and moved 5 years later to a similar position at the University of Freiburg from 1983-2003. He was Director of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. In 2008, he has been awarded with the Nobel Price for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of specific human papillomavirus types and their role in cervical cancer. At present he heads a Division at the Heidelberg Cancer Research Center.

Participates in the following events:
Tuesday 5/15 9:15 AM-10:00 AM - "From molecules to prevention of cancer"