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2020 Invited Lecturers

October 15, 1330-1420 - Dr. Emina Torlakovic

The Fall and Rise of Immunohistochemistry

The lack of reference standards, quantitative calibrated controls, extensive use of laboratory developed assays, imprecision of immunohistochemistry (IHC) protocols, and inherently imprecise readouts of the stained slides, to name a few, led to widely recognized inter- as well as intra-laboratory variation of IHC results. However, the development of precision medicine led to high expectation of accuracy for all assays used as predictive assays in conjunction with targeted therapy and/or immunotherapy including IHC. This demand led to deconstruction and reconstruction of IHC as methodology and the employment of new concepts applied to quality assurance of IHC. The new concepts and recommendations from the four papers, so-called "Evolution Series", Evolution of Quality Assurance for Clinical Immunohistochemistry in the Era of Precision Medicine: Part 1 to Part 4", are summarized in this presentation.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish between the fit-for-purpose immunohistochemistry assay and immunohistochemistry assay with best signal-to-noise ratio
  • Identify immunohistochemistry test performance characteristics and tissue tools relevant to daily practice as well as IHC test development and validation.

Target Audience: Pathologists, Residents, Medical Students

CanMEDS Roles: Medical Expert (the integrating role), Communicator, Collaborator, Leader

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

  • Direct financial payments including receipt of honoraria Astellas Pharma; relationship: Consultancy
  • Membership on advisory boards: Merck, Pfizer, BMS, Abbvie, Roche

Speaker Profile

Emina Torlakovic, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Emina Emilia Torlakovic obtained her M.D. at the University of Zagreb Medical School and her Ph.D. at the University of Oslo Medical School. She is certified by The American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology with subspecialty boards in Hematopathology.
She is a professor at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and a Division Head of Hematopathology, Saskatchewan Health Authority. She was a founding member of the NordiQC, has co-founded CIQC, and founded Canadian Biomarker Quality Assurance (CBQA) as well as (inter)national academic quality assurance programs, which she is currently directing. Dr. Torlakovic is the Chair of the National Standards Committee for High Complexity Testing of the Canadian Association of Pathologists, which published several Canadian guidelines for standardization of IHC testing. Dr. Torlakovic chaired the International Council for Standardization in Hematology (ICSH) Working Party, which developed international guidelines for bone marrow IHC and is currently chairing ICSH Working Party for standardization of CD34 testing in the bone marrow biopsy. She was/is a member of the ASCO/CAP expert panel that published guidelines for hormone receptor testing in breast cancer in 2010 and an updated guideline in 2020. She is the President of the International Society for Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology (ISIMM) and a Board Member of the International Quality Network for Pathology (IQN Path). Dr. Torlakovic has published over 100 peer reviewed manuscripts, authored a book on Bone Marrow Immunohistochemistry, and has lectured widely nationally and internationally on immunohistochemistry, quality assurance, and hematopathology.

October 16, 0850-0950 - Dr. Ali Rajput & Dr. Alex Rajput

Jerzy Olszewski Invited Lecture; Neuropathology And Saskatchewan Movement Disorders Program

This presentation outlines the role neuropathology has played in building Saskatchewan Movement Disorders Program and research in that discipline.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Illustrate the role of neuropathology in neurology practice.
  • Describe the importance of collaboration between movement disorders neurology and neuropathology.
  • Describe the significant research contributions of neuropathology to neurology.
  • Recognize that neuropathology is a very important discipline for clinical practice and for research

Target Audience: Pathologists

CanMEDS Roles: Medical Expert (the integrating role), Communicator

Speaker Profiles

Ali Rajput MSc, FRCPC, OC, SOM, MBBS, Emeritus Professor Neurology

Ali Rajput graduated at the top of class in Medicine from Pakistan. Did Neurology residency at University of Michigan and one year Neuropathology training in Kingston. Joined University of Saskatchewan Medical Faculty 1967 and served as Professor, Head of Neurology and currently Distinguished Professor – practicing and pursues research. Started Saskatchewan Movement Disorders Program in 1968 which is widely known as the best program of its kind. He founded Saskatchewan Parkinson's Disease Foundation, established Ali Rajput Endowment for Movement Disorders in Saskatchewan, co-founded Movement Disorder Group of Canada. He has served on several committees, including Parkinson's Disease Working Group of the World Health Organization. He has received many major awards, including Morton Schulman Award from the Parkinson Society Canada for "…humanity and caring for his patients", Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Officer of the Order of Canada, and Best Researcher Award University of Saskatchewan (only clinician). In 2005 his work was chosen as one of the four most significant advances in Medicine in the 100-year history of the Province. He received D.Sc. by University of Saskatchewan (only active clinician). He has published extensively and his work is cited widely.

Alex Rajput MD, FRCPC, Professor Division Head, Neurology

Alex Rajput received his MD degree with Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 1994.  He trained in Neurology at the University of Iowa from 1994 to 1998, followed by further training at the University of Saskatchewan including a one year Clinical Movement Disorders fellowship.  He received his American Board Certification in Neurology in 1999 and his FRCPC (Neurology) in 2000.  Dr. Rajput joined the faculty at the University of Saskatchewan in 2000 and is a Professor in the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine. He has been the Director of the Movement Disorder Frozen Brain Studies Laboratory since 2003, and in 2008 was named Director of the Movement Disorders Program at the University of Saskatchewan in 2008.  He has been a member of the Neurology residency training program since 2000 and was the Residency Program Director from 2005-2010.  He was an Examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada from 2010-14. He is currently a member of the editorial board for both the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences and Parkinsonism and Related Disorders and also reviews articles for Neurology and Movement Disorders.  He has been a member of the Parkinson Study Group since 2000 and a member of their Credentials Committee from 2010-14.  Dr. Rajput was a member of the Parkinson Society of Canada Scientific Advisory Board from 2008-12.  He is currently a member of the International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF) Medical Advisory Board and the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society Continuing Medical Education Committee.

October 17, 0910-1000 - Dr. Werner Stenzel

David Robertson Invited Lecture; The Inflammatory Myopathies- Essential Role of Muscle Biopsies for Precise Diagnosis

This talk adresses the up-to-date knowledge of the morphological features that inflammatory myopathies can show.  An easy to use general approach to pathological identification of typical characteristic features will be provided and differential diagnoses will be mentioned. I will cover the most relevant entities and briefly touch upon further rare subtypes of IIM.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the major subentities of inflammatory myopathies based on morphological features
  • Discriminate between different types of Dermatomyositis
  • Describe the most recent diagnostic features for sIBM

Target Audience: Pathologists, Residents

CanMEDS Roles: Medical Expert (the integrating role)

Speaker Profile

Werner Stenzel, MD, PhD
I am a Neuropathologist and Myopathologist, and board certified in general Neurology and in Neuropathology. Currently, I am the head of the neuromuscular diagnostic and research unit in Berlin at the Charité Hospital. I also act as co-Director of the German reference center of Neuromuscular diseases. My primary research interest is in juvenile and adult forms of myositis and inflammatory nerve pathologies. We study pathogenesis of the different subentities of myositis, pathogenicity of autoantibodies, cancer association and the role of different immune cells. In this field, I have developed an international visibility with numerous activities. Several doctors from all over the world have spent some time with us in the lab and in diagnostics as well as in research. It has always been a pleasure to welcome guests, and, it is my declared aim to support their research. We recently developed a strong interest in developing new techniques for ultrastructural myopathology, which we use in diagnostic routine as well as for research questions related to the identification and characterization of morphological features of new entities. In addition, I am an Associated Editor of the journal Neuromuscular Disorders (NMD), and an Executive Editor for Neuropathology and Applied Neuropathology (NAN). My commitments extend to the European Neuromuscular Centre where I am a member of the research committee. I have organized several workshops, and I have participated in numerous ones.


October 17, 1000-1050 - Dr. Jodi Warman Chardon

MRI and Diagnosis of Muscle Disease

Muscle MRI is becoming an essential part of the diagnostic algorithm for most genetic muscle disorders, to distinguish between phenotypically similar disorders, guide interpretation of genetic testing, and as a biomarker of disease progression or response to therapies.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize key clinical features and muscle MR imaging in genetic muscle diseases and their inflammatory mimics
  • Distinguish between architectural distortion and abnormal signal intensity and of muscle at MR imaging.
  • Understand key international initiatives in data sharing in muscle imaging and genomics to improve diagnostic algorithms in genetic myopathies.

Target Audience: Pathologists, Residents

CanMEDS Roles: Medical Expert (the integrating role), Scholar, Professional

Speaker Profile

Jodi Warman Chardon, MD, MSc, FRCPC (Neurology)

Dr Jodi Warman Chardon is a Clinician-Scientist in the Department of Medicine at the Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) in Neurosciences and Clinical Epidemiology and Department of Genetics at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario/CHEO RI. She is a Tier 2 Clinical Research Chair in Diagnosis and Discovery Pipeline for Patients with Genetic Neuromuscular Disease at the University of Ottawa.  Dr Warman received her MD/Neurology residency at the University of Ottawa and MSc from Queen’s University.  She completed research and clinical fellowships in neuromuscular disorders from McGill University and neurogenetics at the University of Ottawa and is certified by the Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiologists (EMG). She led the strategic development and is now Director of the Ottawa Hospital Neuromuscular Centre, a diagnostic clinical research centre for patients with NMD. She is also co-director of the uOttawa Centre for Neuromuscular Disease, which unites over 60 clinical and basic NMD researchers. Dr. Warman-Chardon's research program and clinical practice focuses on the diagnosis and the clinical characterization of patients with rare or novel inherited neuromuscular disease by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and next generation sequencing by genome and RNA sequencing.

October 17, 1110-1250 - Dr. Benjamin Ellezam

Gordon Mathieson Invited Lecture; The role of muscle biopsy in the molecular era : practical pointers in diagnostic pathology of inherited myopathies

Genetic testing for inherited myopathies has evolved in steps over the last decades and so has the role of muscle biopsy. Targeted testing and next generation sequencing panels are now at the top of clinical algorithms but patients with atypical presentations still often need histologic confirmation to corroborate molecular findings. Multiple variants of unknown significance are frequent in genomic studies and tissue analysis can help finding the right culprit. This presentation will provide various clinical examples where muscle biopsy is crucial in the workup of inherited myopathies and will offer practical cues to help in routine neuropathology practice.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Cite examples where muscle biopsy is crucial in the workup of inherited myopathies
  • Cite specific techniques currently available to neuropathologists in the workup of a muscle biopsy for inherited myopathies
  • Interpret images obtained from those techniques

Target Audience: Pathologists, Residents

CanMEDS Roles: Medical Expert (the integrating role), Scholar, Professional

Speaker Profile

Benjamin Ellezam, MD PhD

Before entering medical school, Dr Ellezam obtained a BSc in biochemistry at McGill University and a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Montreal studying CNS regeneration under Dr Lisa McKerracher who had been a post doc of Dr Albert Aguayo. He then continued at University of Montreal completing medical school and a residency in anatomic pathology, and moved to Houston for a two-year fellowship in neuropathology in the Methodist Hospital / MD Anderson Cancer Center / Texas Children's Hospital joint program. He has been staff neuropathologist at Sainte-Justine Hospital since 2012. His practice focuses both on neuromuscular pathology for which he provides a referral service for hospitals throughout the province and on pediatric brain tumor diagnostics and biobanking. He is currently Associate Clinical Professor with the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology and the Department of Neurosciences and teaches histology, anatomy and clinical neurosciences to medical and pre-medical students and neuromuscular pathology to neurology residents.

October 17, 1200-1250 - Dr. Bob Schmidt

The Nerve Biopsy – Great Expectations

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Determine if new developments in peripheral nerve analysis replace traditional nerve biopsy for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring.
  2. Learn the role of skin biopsy in establishing small fiber and autonomic neuropathies and monitoring therapy.
  3. Describe the role of the SARM1 mechanistic pathway underlying axonal degeneration and its manipulation in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy.

Target Audience: Pathologists, Residents

CanMEDS Roles: Medical Expert (the integrating role), Scholar, Professional

Speaker Profile

Robert E. Schmidt, MD, PhD

  • Professor, Pathology & Immunology
  • Head, Division of Neuropathology
  • Medical Director, Electron Microscopy Facility
  • Director, Neuropathology Fellowship

I closed my research laboratory in June 2011 after 31 years as an NIH and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation supported investigator and have focused subsequently on clinical neuropathology. I have recently been working on the development of an online atlas of neuropathology. Currently, I am a collaborator with NIH supported investigators who are interested in peripheral nerve disease, the treatment and prevention of radiation injury, neuroimmune and neuroinfectious neuropathology, microglial pathology, and neurodegenerative diseases.