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Northwest Gynecological Cancer Symposium

Northwest Gynecological Cancer Symposium
Friday, September 8, 2023
8:30 AM – 6:30 PM



The Rivkin Center is proud to present the third biennial Northwest Gynecological Cancer Symposium (NGCS) to be held on Friday, September 8, 2023 from 8:30am to 6:30pm at the University of Washington, South Lake Union Campus in Seattle, Washington.

NGCS is designed to facilitate communication and foster collaboration between scientists in the Pacific Northwest working on the prevention, early detection, and treatment of gynecological cancers.

Featured Speakers

Jessica McAlpine, MD
University of British Columbia/Vancouver Coastal Health

Elizabeth Swisher, MD
University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Sanjay Malhotra, PhD, FRSC
Oregon Health & Science University/Knight Cancer Institute

Accepting Abstracts for Poster Presentation

Researchers (faculty, postdocs/fellows, staff scientists, graduate students, etc) based in Washingtion, Oregon, and British Colombia are invited to submit abstracts on original work for consideration for poster presentation. Work must pertain to gynecological cancer-related research areas listed below. Abstract length should not exceed 3,000 characters, including spaces.

Abstracts may be submitted on basic science, preclinical, clinical and public health projects on gynecological research, including the following research areas:

Animal models, biomarkers, cancer stem cells, cell biology, chemoresistance, clinical research, DNA repair, early detection, epigenetics, etiology/pathophysiology, genetics, genomics, health and healthcare disparities, immunology, molecular mechanisms, novel therapies, prevention, proteomics/metabolomics, survivorship, tumor microenvironment, and other topics relevant to gynecological cancer research.

The poster abstract submission deadline is 11:59pm, Monday, August 28, 2023.

Share this event

NGCS Flyer

Download the NGCS flyer to share with colleagues or post on message boards.


Registration is FREE but you must register to partake in the catered lunch and reception. Registration is limited to 120 participants. Registration closes on September 1, 2023.


NGCS will be held in the Orin Smith Auditorium located in the Administrative Building (building map) at the University of Washington, South Lake Union at 850 Republican Street, Seattle, WA 98109.



Jackie Lang, PhD at

Prior Symposia

Check out the 2019 NGCS program and event details.


NGCS will be held in the Orin Smith Auditorium located in the Administrative Building (building map) at the University of Washington, South Lake Union at 850 Republican Street, Seattle, WA 98109.



Parking is available at UW SLU garages. The entrances to both garages are on Republican St. Hourly and daily rates are offered (payment by Visa/Mastercard only). Parking for four or more hours costs $21. For UW employees, parking in the SLU garages is free if you have a UW parking pass. Garage parking is free to all after 3:30pm. Please note that you cannot ENTER the garage after 5:30pm, but you can exit at any time.

The garage elevator will take you directly to the lobby with the reception desk.

NOTE: You will need to pay for your parking at the pay kiosk in the lobby to leave the garage. The arm at the exit will not raise without a paid/validated ticket.

Transportation within Seattle

The “One Bus Away” app provides real time arrival information for buses, the link light rail, and the streetcar. Each bus stop should also have a poster indicating approximate arrival times for each route. 


Fare is $2.75 and exact change is required upon boarding. Ask your driver for a transfer ticket, which allows the use of King County Metro bus lines for the next two hours. Learn more about fares here.

South Lake Union Streetcar

The streetcar runs between the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and downtown Seattle at 10 to 15 minute intervals. Fare is $2.25 and pay stations are located at every streetcar stop and accept credit cards or coins. See hours here.

Ride Share & Taxi’s

Uber and Lyft are very popular in Seattle. Alternatively, traditional taxi services are available as well.


Registration is FREE but you must register to partake in catered lunch and reception. Online registration closes September 1. Registration is limited to 120 participants.


8:00am – 8:30am

Check-in & Poster Setup

8:30am – 8:40am

Opening Remarks by Dr. Jackie Lang, Rivkin Center



Tanja Pejovic, MD, PhD Oregon Health & Science University, Knight Cancer Institute

8:40am – 9:25am

Designing drugs to overcome treatment resistance
Sanjay Malhotra, PhD, FRSC Oregon Health & Science University, Knight Cancer Institute

9:25am – 9:40am

Complete loss of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling activities elicits a targetable metabolic shift in ovarian cancer
Yemin Wang, PhD, University of British Columbia

9:40am – 9:55am

Nanoparticle-mediated follistatin mRNA Delivery: A potential therapeutic strategy for metastatic ovarian cancer and cancer-associated cachexia
Tetiana Korzun, Oregon Health & Science University

9:55am – 10:10am

Defective STING signaling in low-grade serous ovarian cancer: An opportunity for oncolytic viruses therapy
Dawn Cochrane, PhD, University of British Columbia

10:10am – 10:45am

Coffee Break



Jackie Lang, PhD Rivkin Center

10:45am – 11:00am

Precision medicine opportunities: Uniformity across stromal components of ovarian cancer histotype contrasts heterogeneous disease
Karolin Heinze, PhD, University of British Columbia

11:00am – 11:15am

Changes in the tumor microenvironment marks transition from serous borderline tumor to low grade serous carcinoma
Rodrigo Vallejos, University of British Columbia

11:15am – 11:45am

Poster Presentation Lightning Round

11:45am – 12:45pm

Lunch (provided)



Yvette Drew, MD, PhD, University of British Columbia, BC Cancer Vancouver

12:45pm – 1:30pm

Advances in endometrial cancer; towards precision oncology

Jessica McAlpine, MD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health

1:30pm – 1:45pm

p53 abnormal endometrial carcinomas copy number signatures by shallow whole genome sequencing
Juliana Sobral de Barros, MSc, BC Cancer Agency

1:45pm – 2:00pm

Assessing the reproducibility crisis in vaginal microbiome studies for clinical applications in endometrial cancer
Dollina Dodani, University of British Columbia

2:00pm – 2:40pm

Coffee Break



John Liao, MD, PhD, University of Washington

2:40pm – 3:25pm

Two decades of PARP inhibitors: Lessons learned for precision treatment of ovarian cancer

Elizabeth Swisher, MD, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

3:25pm – 3:40pm

Importance of genetic testing in rare ovarian carcinomas: lynch syndrome and endometrioid ovarian carcinoma
Andrea Neilson, MD, University of British Columbia

3:40pm – 3:55pm

Modeling the formation of SCCOHT with SMARCA4-mutant ovarian cells and SWI/SNF inhibitors
Adam Krieg, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University

3:55pm – 4:00pm

Closing Remarks

4:00pm – 5:00pm

Poster Session

5:00pm – 6:30pm



eSense-Cancer: Patient engagement as a strategy for adapting an online sexual health tool for gynecologic cancer survivors
Genevieve Allaire-Stacey | University of British Columbia

Outpatient Screening for Early-Stage High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer using Endoscopic Optical Coherence Tomography
John Black, PhD | Glannaventa, Inc.

Persistent sociodemographic disparities in the type of permanent contraceptive procedure performed at Cesarean delivery
Ann Cathcart, MD, PhD | Oregon Health & Science University

Characterizing somatic TP53 mutations in non-cancerous and high-risk fallopian tubes using ultra-deep sequencing
CoohleenAnn Coombes, MSc | University of Washington

Targeting metabolic reprogramming in ARID 1 A/B dual-deficient dedifferentiated endometrial cancinoma
Rebecca Ho | University of British Columbia/BC Cancer Research Institute

Multi-omics analysis to predict Paclitaxel-treated response and novel therapeutic targets in ovarian cancer
Boyoung Jeong, PhD | Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University

Modeling the development of Clear Cell Ovarian Carcinoma (CCOC) using culture and single cell RNA sequencing
Forouh Kalantari | BC Cancer Research Center

DMBA-induced ovarian carcinoma: a clinically characterized model for OncoTherad® immunotherapy and anticancer therapies
Bianca Ribeiro de Souza, PhD | University of British Columbia, Institute of Biology – University of Campinas

TP53 mutational landscape in non-cancerous endometrium during the lifespan of Black and White individuals
Eric Rios-Doria, MD, MS | University of Washington

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Rivkin Center gratefully acknowledges our sponsor for the 2023 Northwest Gynecological Cancer Symposium. Their vital support and dedication helps make this event possible. Thank you!

For more information about sponsoring the 2023 NW Gynecological Cancer Symposium, please contact Halie Steward, Donor Relations & Events Manager, at or (206) 584-2010. To learn more, download the Sponsor Benefits Package.

Available activity sponsorships:

  • Lunch Sponsor – SOLD
  • Reception Sponsor
  • Coffee & Tea Sponsor – SOLD

Gold Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor

Lunch Sponsor

Coffee & Tea Sponsor

NGCS Planning Committee

John Liao, MD, PhD

University of Washington

Tanja Pejovic, MD, PhD

Oregon Health & Science University, Knight Cancer Institute

Yvette Drew, MD, PhD

University of British Columbia,
BC Cancer Vancouver


Jackie Lang, PhD

Rivkin Center

Talk to your Family

Talking to your family and identifying cancer in your family tree can be a good indicator of your health risks. Download our Family Tree Worksheet here.  Be sure to include yourself, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Get Educated

Know your body and be proactive about your health. Learn about your breast and ovarian health. Learn about the risk factors and signs & symptoms for breast and ovarian cancer.

Trusted Healthcare Provider

Having a relationship with a health care provider you know and trust is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your health care. Click here to find a provider

Higher Risk in the Ashkenazi Jewish Population

In the general population, around 1 in 400 people carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. People of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry have a 1 in 40 chance of carrying a BRCA mutation, making them 10 times as likely to carry a BRCA mutation as someone in the general population. Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you have a BRCA mutation then there is a 50% chance of passing the mutation on to your children, whether they are boys or girls. It’s important to note that these mutations significantly increase risk, but are not a guarantee a person will get cancer.

Why is the Ashkenazi Jewish population at higher risk?

Over 90% of the BRCA mutations found in the Jewish community are one of three “founder mutations”. A founder mutation is a specific gene mutation in a population that was founded by a small group of ancestors that were geographically or culturally isolated. Because the population was isolated, the rate of founder mutations in descendants is much higher than it would be if the population were larger and co-mingling with more genetically diverse populations. A large expansion in the population caused the current high frequency of the mutations in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. If you are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, the chance of carrying a BRCA gene mutation compared to the general population is increased tenfold. BRCA mutations can be passed down from either your mother’s or father’s side, and may be associated with any of the following cancers:
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer, fallopian tube, peritoneal cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Colon Cancer

Ready to take action? Knowledge is power. Take this short quiz to be proactive about your health.

Genes 101

Our bodies are made of many tiny building blocks called cells. Our cells contain a copy of our genome – all of the DNA genetic code we inherited from our parents. Our genome is organized into 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from mom and 23 from dad. Each chromosome has hundreds or thousands of genes. Each gene has the instructions to make a protein that may control the structure or function of cells, can determine many things including how tall we are or the color of our eyes. Genes also contain instructions for many things inside of us that we cannot see, such as how our bones are formed or how our heart works. Each gene is made up of molecules called nucleic acids (A, T, C, and G). The specific sequence of the nucleic acids holds the instructions that control all the components and their functions in cells.

If the DNA sequence is changed, like a spelling mistake, the instructions may not make sense. The technical term for this change is “mutation,” meaning there is a change to the usual genetic code that may change the instructions stored in the gene. A mutation in a gene that repairs DNA damage or controls cell growth can increase the risk of developing cancer.

Sporadic vs Hereditary Cancers:

Ovarian and breast cancer can be either sporadic or hereditary. Sporadic cancers make up the vast majority (85-90%) of ovarian and breast cancers and are not associated with family history of either cancer or inherited cancer-associated mutations. Sporadic cancers arise from genetic mutations acquired in some cells of the body by events part of normal metabolism and environmental factors. This type of cancer can happen to anyone. Most acquired gene mutations are not shared among relatives or passed on to children.

Hereditary (also known as inherited, or familial) cancers are those that occur due to genetic mutations that are inherited from mom or dad. Other blood relatives may also share these same gene mutations. Parents give one copy of each gene to their children. If a parent has a genetic mutation in a gene, each of their children have a 50% chance of inheriting that mutation. Therefore, even in families with hereditary cancer, not all family members inherit the mutation that is causing cancer, and their risk of cancer is similar to the average person in the general population. Individuals who are suspected to have a family history with high incidence of ovarian, breast, and other cancers may be offered genetic testing to try to find the specific genetic mutation that may put them at risk. Importantly, individuals who do not have a known genetic mutation but have high incidence of ovarian, breast, or other cancers in their families are still considered at higher risk for developing those cancers.

Hereditary cancers often occur at an earlier age than the sporadic form of the same cancer, so experts often recommend starting cancer screening at a younger age for individuals at high risk for hereditary cancer. Hereditary cancers can also be more aggressive than the sporadic form of the same cancer. Individuals who have inherited a gene mutation may be at a higher risk for more than one type of cancer.

BRCA 1 and BRCA 2: Most Common hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

The genes that are most commonly involved in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) are BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes are named for their link to breast (BR) cancer (CA), but they are also linked to ovarian cancer risk as well as other cancers. Both women and men can inherit mutations in these HBOC genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes that have a usual role in our body of providing instructions on repairing DNA damage and preventing cancer. When a family has an inherited mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2, this leads to an increase in cancer risk. Not every man or woman who has inherited a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene will develop cancer, but people who have a mutation do have a significanlty increased chance of developing cancer, particularly cancer of the breasts or ovaries.

While breast and ovarian cancers are the most common cancers diagnosed in people with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, the risk of some other cancers is also increased. Men with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of early-onset prostate cancer than men without mutations in either gene. Other cancers seen at increased rates, particularly in individuals with BRCA2 mutations, include pancreatic cancer and melanoma. Researchers are continuing to find new genes that are involved in hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer so it is important to follow up with a genetic counselor on a regular basis if hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is likely in your family.

Talk to your family about your health history and take the Assess Your Risk quiz here