Governance

Management Team

Oversees standards for the operations of the biobank, including standard operating procedures, quality control, quality assurance and data protection policies used when handling and storing biospecimens and their derived data, as well as other data from participants.

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Neil Fleshner, MD, MPH, FRCS(C)
BioBank Director

Dr. Fleshner is Head of the Division of Urology, Princess Margaret Cancer Care Center, University Health Network and is affiliated to Mount Sinai and Toronto General Hospitals. Dr. Fleshner completed his medical training from University of Toronto, followed by surgical residency and fellowship in urological surgery from University of Toronto and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center respectively. He also completed training in epidemiology from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Dr. Fleshner envisioned early in his career the importance of longitudinal study design in urological cancer research and the importance of well characterized samples in such research projects. The current biobank is an offshoot of that early realization followed by years of meticulous work.

In addition to his surgical practice, Dr. Fleshner conducts research on urologic cancer prevention with an emphasis on prostate and bladder cancers. He has authored over 400 scientific papers and lectured at various national and international conferences.

Dr. Fleshner is an avid music lover and father of three wonderful children.

Heidi Wagner, BSc, PA(ASCP)CM
BioBank and Clinical Trials Associate Director

Heidi recently joined the Biobank as Associate Director and brings a breadth of experience from working at large cancer care centers. Over the last 10 years, Heidi has worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX and Roswell Park Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY. Heidi obtained her BSc in Anatomic Pathology from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

Through her education and experience in pathology and biobank management, she has gained a working knowledge of processes and workflow improvements, accreditations and standards, operational challenges, contingency and financial planning. Heidi is actively involved in global biobanking organizations and is currently serving on a committee and working group of International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) and European, Middle Eastern and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking (ESBB). Heidi continues to publish in scientific journals and present at national and international conferences.

Heidi derives her motivation and her commitment from family experiences of cancer.

Sangita Paul, MSc
GU BioBank Lab Supervisor

Sangita has been working as a GU Biobank laboratory Supervisor at UHN for the past 7 years. She has a Master’s degree in biological science from BHU in India and has more than 13 years of experience working in Biomedical and Clinical academic research fields in the USA and Canada.

As a BioBank lab supervisor in GU BioBank, Sangita manages the efficient usage of cryo-storage space for a variety of projects and the day to day operations of GUB lab. She coordinates the timely release of BioBank samples to collaborators and researchers and ships samples all over the world as per IATA and TDG guidelines.  Sangita is also involved in designing study protocols and storage devices for Bio- specimens in the LIMS database. Sangita has mentored over 30 co-op students and interns in past 7 years and effectively trained them on working in a sample management lab. Sangita sits on GU Biobank QMS and SOP committee and also spearheading the QA initiative on GU BioBank specimen inventory.

Her prior experience include working  as a Research Associate at the University of Texas Health Science Center, USA in Bone research and Clinical Microbiology where she contributed to several research projects.  Her work, as a first author, was published in Bone morphological research.

Apart from her professional interest, Sangita volunteers her time in community youth mentorship.

Sangita loves to travel and enjoys spending time with her family.  She enjoys listening to music during her free time.

Dr. Miran Kenk
Clinical Trials Supervisor

Dr. Kenk completed his doctoral training with specialization in Pharmacology at the University of Ottawa and post-doctoral training at the Research Imaging Centre, University of Toronto with focus on clinical studies for evaluation of inflammation and hormonal abnormalities.

Miran’s research efforts have continued through the years resulting various presentations and publications including presentation at the prestigious Hermann Blumgart lecture at the annual meeting of the Society for Nuclear Medicine.

As clinical trials supervisor, Dr. Kenk facilitates and coordinates the operational aspects of a number of clinical trials, translating Dr. Fleshner’s overall design and goals into study protocols that meet all regulatory and ethical regulations, and are capable of generating the data necessary to answer the scientific question being posed. He also executes trial activities, such as patient recruitment and screening, arranging the supply and distribution of drugs, liaising with other trial sites, and training clinical trial staff.

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Research Team

Responsible for recruitment of participants, sample collection, processing and storage, as well as clinical data annotation. Our staff includes qualified individuals who are leading contributors in healthcare services.

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Alisha Bhimani
Research Analyst
alisha.bhimani@uhn.ca


Susan Nguyen
Clinical Research Analyst
susan.nguyen@uhn.ca


Saranya Kulendran
Clinical Research Study Assistant
saranya.kulendran@uhn.ca


Mikaeel Ghany
Clinical Research Study Assistant
mikaeel.ghany@uhn.ca


Janine Nunal
Clinical Research Study Assistant
janine.nunal@uhn.ca


Elvie Shah
Clinical Research Study Assistant
elvie.shah@uhn.ca

 


Leanne Jeans
Clinical Research Study Assistant
leanne.jeans@uhn.ca

Ana Bolanos
Clinical Research Study Assistant
ana.bolanos@uhn.ca

Stephanie Brennan
Clinical Research Study Assistant
stephanie.brennan@uhn.ca

Leda Weiss
Clinical Research Study Assistant
leda.weiss@uhn.ca


Rosita Thomassian
Clinical Research Study Assistant
rosita.thomassian@uhn.ca

Emily Hsueh
Research Clerk
emilychun-yen.hsueh@uhn.ca

Khansa Siddiqi
Biobank Technician
khansa.siddiqi@uhn.ca

Praveen Sakhamuri
Biobank Technician
venkata.sakhamuri2@uhn.ca

Manpreet Jagdev
Biobank Technician
manpreet.jagdev@uhn.ca

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Steering Committee

Oversees the use of specimens. The hierarchy for sample use gives precedence to investigators performing in-house academic projects, followed by collaborative academic projects, and lastly for commercial projects.

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Genito-urinary Steering Committee

Department of Surgical Oncology
Dr. Neil Fleshner – MD, MPH, FRCSC, GU BioBank Director, Professor at the Division of Urology, Professor University of Toronto.

Dr. Antonio Finelli – MD, MSc, FRCSC, Chief of Urology, GU Site Lead, Princess Margaret Cancer Center Associate Professor University of Toronto

Dr. Robert Hamilton – MD, MPH, FRCSC, Staff Urologist and Associate Professor University of Toronto

Department of Medicine Oncology

Dr. Srikala Sridhar – MD, FRCSC, Staff Urologist and Associate Professor University of Toronto

Department of Radiation Oncology
Dr. Alejandro Berlin – MD , MSc, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine – University of Toronto

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Dr. Andrew Evans – MD, PhD, FRCSC, Staff Pathologist and Associate Professor University of Toronto

Gynecological Steering Committee

Clinical GYN BioBank Director
Dr. Taymaa May, MD, MSc, FRCSC, Assistant professor, University of Toronto​

Scientific GYN BioBank Director
Dr. Alicia Tone, PhD

Department of Surgical Oncology
Dr. Stephanie Laframboise, MD, FRCSC, Assistant Professor, Gynaecologic Oncology Fellowship Training Program, University of Toronto​

GU BioBank Director
Dr. Neil Fleshner – MD, MPH, FRCSC, GU BioBank Director, Professor at the Division of Urology, Professor University of Toronto.

Thoracic Steering Committee

Department of Surgical Oncology
Dr. Thomas Waddell, MD, MSc, FRCSC, PhD, Pearson-Ginsberg Chair, Division of Thoracic Surgery, University of Toronto Division and head of Division of Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Marc de Perrot, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Thoracic Surgery, University of Toronto​

GU BioBank Director
Dr. Neil Fleshner – MD, MPH, FRCSC, GU BioBank Director, Professor at the Division of Urology, Professor University of Toronto.

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Research Ethics Board

Approves studies that meet ethical standard and adds scientific value to healthcare. Provides advice and external oversight in the areas of law, ethics and the public’s perception of biobanks. Please visit the REB website for more information.