Passionate Experts at the Forefront of Sarcoma Research and Care
Who we are
The McGill Sarcoma group is a multidisciplinary team of experts within the McGill University Health Centre. We specialize in both pediatric and adult bone and soft tissue sarcoma. Our team is composed of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, orthopedic and general surgeons, as well as many other doctors and paramedical specialists dedicated to the diagnosis and care of these rare and difficult cancers. We partner with scientists from the MUHC Research Institute who work in their lab developing new ways to understand and manage sarcoma.
Our team in action
At the Cedars Cancer Centre, our team will welcome you and offer you the best care possible (credits: muhc.ca).
Dr. Robert Turcotte, one of our surgeons, is seeing new sarcoma patients every week in clinic at the MUHC (photo credits CBC).
Our radiation oncology department at the Cedars Cancer Centre now offers better care and equipment (credits: muhc.ca).
We had the honour to host Dr. Joseph Benevenia from Rutgers University as our visiting professor. We thank him and our very own Dr Robert Turcotte for this insightful teaching on the basics of orthopaedic oncology and approaches for tumour resection (ref: @orthomcgill).
Professor of Surgery and Medical Director of the McGill Sarcoma Program. Orthopedic Oncology fellowships at Cochin hospital Paris (1988), Mayo Clinic Rochester (88-89) and Instituto Orthopedico Rizzoli Bologna (2008). Chair Division of Surgical Oncology MUHC. Former Chairman, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at McGill University and of MUHC Department Orthopaedic Surgery (2004 to 2016).
Aoude, MDCM BSc(Eng) MSc(Eng) FRCSC
Dr. Ahmed Aoude is an assistant professor in orthopedic surgery at McGill University. He completed fellowships in orthopedic oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and spine surgery at Foot Hills Medical Center in Calgary. His practice includes complex oncology resections and spine reconstructive surgery. Prior to medicine Dr.Aoude obtained degrees in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering at McGill University. He also was a project manager designing and developing computer assisted surgery equipment and techniques for orthopedic surgery prior to pursuing his MD at University of Montreal. To date, he has multiple orthopedic surgery patents and many peer reviewed publications in orthopedics. His research interests include clinical outcomes, surgical techniques and medical device development and design.
Dr Sinziana Dumitra is a board certified Surgical Oncologist working at the MUHC and a McGill Associate Professor. After graduating from Universite de Montreal Medical School, she joined the McGill General Surgery Program which she completed. At the same time she also obtained a Master's of Science from the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health with a focus on diagnostic testing and prognostic value of tumor markers. She completed a fellowship in Complex Surgical Oncology at City of Hope, California where she further pursued her research interest in quality and delivery of cancer care. She undertook further specialization in the field of Retroperitoneal Sarcoma. Dr Dumitra is an active researcher undertaking many local and international projects. She always treated her patients with care compassion and cutting edge care.
Dr Ari Meguerditchian is a Surgical Oncologist at the McGill University Health Centre. He completed General Surgery residency at Laval University, followed by research and Surgical Oncology fellowships at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (NY). Dr Meguerditchian has served as the Director of Undergraduate Surgical Education (RVH) and Program Director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship at McGill. As the Scientific Lead of the Rossy Cancer Network, he developed an ambitious research and skills enhancement program in cancer care quality across McGill University hospitals. He also serves as Associate Editor for the journal Current Oncology. Dr Meguerditchian’s research focuses on cancer care quality and integrating health informatics resources in clinical practice. He works on developing community-wide cancer care quality analysis models. He currently serves as Director of the St-Mary’s Research Centre (CIUSSS-ODIM).
Dr. Carolyn Freeman is Professor of Oncology and Pediatrics and Mike Rosenbloom, Chair of Radiation Oncology at McGill University. A radiation oncologist with more than 40 years of experience, she is known particularly for her expertise in the management of children with cancer. She has played numerous leadership roles locally and within Quebec as well as within many national and international professional organizations, including as a founding member of the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncologists in 1988 and of the International Pediatric Radiation Oncology Society in 2004. She has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles and 27 book chapters.
Dr. Freeman’s interest in the management of Sarcomas is of very longstanding and she has participated in some of the most important clinical trials in the field. Studies developed locally over recent years in collaboration with the very excellent McGill Medical Physics faculty and students have been particularly exciting, leading to novel radiotherapy treatment techniques and potentially too to new approaches to the overall management of patients with Sarcoma.
Dr. Fabio Cury is a Radiation Oncologist at the McGill University Health Centre. He received his medical degree from the Universidade Federal do Parana, Brazil. In addition to completing his residency training in Radiation Oncology at Hospital Erasto Gaertner, Dr. Cury completed a fellowship at the MUHC, McGill University, in 2006. He is an Assistant Professor at the Division of Radiation Oncology, and an Associate Member of the Department of Surgery, at McGill University. He is the Radiation Oncology site-leader for Sarcoma. He leads several training courses on Contouring and Planning for Radiation Therapy, and his research interests include hypofractionated radiotherapy for sarcomas, stereotactic body radiotherapy and quality assurance on contouring and planning for radiation therapy.
Dr. Ramy Saleh is a medical oncologist and an Assistant Professor in the department of medicine at the McGill University Health Center (MUHC). Dr. Saleh obtained his medical degree at the American University of Beirut before completing his internal medicine and medical oncology training at the MUHC. He also completed a Master’s in Experimental Medicine from McGill University. He then pursued a 2-year fellowship in the Phase I Bras Drug Development Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and at the same time obtained a clinical diploma in the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr. Saleh is currently the Medical Director of the Phase I Medical Oncology Unit at the Research Institute of the MUHC. His duties include care, teaching and clinical research in Sarcoma and Genito-Urinary malignancies. His focus is to spearhead an Oncology Phase I Program and expand the clinical trial footprint of the MUHC, in order to provide patients better access to cutting edge treatments.
I received my medical degree from the Chonnam National University College of Medicine in South Korea. I then completed my residency in Anatomic Pathology/Clinical Pathology at the SUNY Upstate Hospital in Syracuse, NY, USA and fellowships in Surgical Pathology with focus on bone and soft tissue as well as dermatopathology from the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN, USA. I also had training experience with Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman at the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, Dr. Sharon Weiss at Emory University, and at the Cleveland Clinic. I work as a bone and soft tissue pathologist and dermatopathologist. I contribute to medical student and resident teaching as well. I am Board-certified in Anatomic Pathology/Clinical Pathology and Dermatopathology.
Oluyomi (Yomi) Ajise is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at McGill University. She is Board certified in Anatomic Pathology in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; and in Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Pathology in the United States by the American Board of Pathology. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a fellow of the College of American Pathologists.
Prior to coming to McGill, Yomi completed two fellowships at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York focusing on Oncologic Surgical Pathology at first and thereafter Hematopathology.
Yomi received her MD degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC in 2005 where she graduated with distinction and was honored as Medical School Valedictorian. She subsequently completed two years of residency in Internal Medicine at New-York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; followed by 4 years of residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at New York University in New York, USA.
Her professional areas of interest include optimum clinical diagnostic services; teaching and clinical research including collaborative research studies.
Dr Garzia completed her Master’s in medical biotechnology in Italy at the University of Naples and earned her PhD in Life Science for her research conducted at the Telethon Institute for Genetics and Medicine in Naples. Dr. Garzia moved to Canada to advance her training in cancer genetics with a post-doctoral fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Livia Garzia is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and a principal investigator in the Cancer Research Program and the Research Institute of the MUHC. Her research program focuses on bone tumors such as Ewing Sarcoma and Osteosarcoma. Dr. Garzia uses genetic and molecular techniques to understand why certain patients respond to therapies and others do not, and how can we improve the outcome of patients where the first line of treatment has failed. She holds the Nicole et Francois Angers Sarcoma Research Chair and has been awarded many research grants including FRSQ Junior 2.
Dr. Joanna Przybyl received a joint Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences from KU Leuven, Belgium and Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Warsaw, Poland. Her doctoral studies focused on identifying new prognostic and predictive markers for soft tissue sarcoma. She then joined the laboratory of Dr. Matt van de Rijn in the Department of Pathology at Stanford University, where she completed her postdoctoral training in computational biology. During her postdoctoral studies, Dr. Przybyl demonstrated potential clinical utility of ctDNA monitoring in patients with leiomyosarcoma and leiomyoma, discovered activation and prognostic role of hexosamine biosynthesis pathway in leiomyosarcoma, and identified macrophage infiltration in undifferentiated uterine sarcomas. Dr. Przybyl is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery of the McGill University and a Principal Investigator in the Cancer Research Program of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). Dr. Przybyl is also an Associate Member in the Department of Pathology of the McGill University.
The research in the laboratory of Dr. Przybyl is focused on: 1) development of liquid biopsy (circulating tumor DNA) assays for patients with soft tissue tumors, 2) metabolic reprogramming in selected types of soft tissue tumors, and 3) multi-omic profiling of soft tissue tumors to identify new diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets in these tumors.
Lab website: przybyl.lab.mcgill.ca
Dr. Nadine Zablith earned her PhD degree in Public Health from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, her Master of Science from McGill University in Canada, and her Bachelor of Science from the American University of Beirut. After working in Global Health, Public Health and other disciplines, Dr. Zablith has joined the MUHC Sarcoma research team in October 2021. The current research projects focus on biobanking of sarcoma samples and quality of life studies.
Josée Lamarche has been practicing nursing for 34 years. She worked in various disciplines at the MUHC and taught nursing at Maisonneuve CEGEP. She became part of the sarcoma team 5 years ago and has specialized in wound care.
I have been practicing in nursing for over 30 years in orthopaedics and many other surgical specialties as a clinician nurse. I completed my bachelor in Sciences (nursing) in 1989 and a master degree in Sciences (nursing) in 1994. I work on different surgical units, taught at the CEGEP level and work many years in the orthopaedic clinic as a sarcoma clinician nurse. I pursued my studies with a second master degree in Sciences (nursing) and a diploma as a nurse practitioner in adult care. I was hired with the orthopeadic-oncolgy service at the MUHC and I have been presently working as a candidate nurse practitioner with the team since september 2021.
Priya Shah is a clinician nurse that worked in various disciplines. She worked in different
oncology settings for the past five years. As a Pivot Nurse, Priya plays an integral role with
patient and family centered care. Her role consists of collaborating with the multidisciplinary
team to offer and provide psychological, sociological, and emotional care.
She has a Bachelor of Science (nursing) from the Laval University (1991) and a Master of Science (nursing administration option) from the Montreal University (2009). Selected for the MSSS national program on social services and health leader development, completed in February 2020.
She has been part of the the McGll University Health Centre for 29 years as a nurse, a nursing manager in a care unit (neurosciences) and to this day as a clinico administrative coordinator working in cancer care at the MUHC since 2019.
My name is Jenika Delisle Trunzo and I am the clinical coordinator for the sarcoma clinic. My tasks include navigating the patient from the moment that they are referred to our clinic up until they have surgery. I make sure that each and everyone of our patients has everything they need before every doctor's visit, including MRI, Xray, Ct scan, biopsy, ultrasound, etc.
Dr. Jonathan Spicer is the Dr. Ray Chiu Distinguished Scientist in Surgical Research and an assistant professor of surgery at McGill University. He is the medical director of the McGill Thoracic Oncology Program, where he chairs the thoracic malignancy tumour board, thoracic oncology clinical research team and heads the pulmonary oncology network that oversees all hospital systems providing clinical care to lung cancer patients for a region covering half of the Quebec land mass and a catchment area of 1.9 million. Dr. Spicer is a surgeon scientist leading a broad research program covering basic, translational and clinical research topics. He trained in general surgery at McGill University and subsequently in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Centre. On a basic science front, Dr. Spicer is recognized as a leader in our understanding of how neutrophils impact cancer progression and in particular on the role of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in cancer biology. His publication in the Journal of Clinical Investigation was awarded as one of the top 10 cancer discoveries in Canada in 2013. His lab has since made several novel discoveries around the biology of NETs. He is an FRQS-funded clinician scientist and has obtained operating grants from the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons, the American Surgical Association and the Cancer Research Society amongst others. He played pivotal roles for the funding of the Montreal Cancer Consortium by the Terry Fox Cancer Research Institute and the Quebec Cancer Consortium by the Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation. On a clinical front, Dr. Spicer has developed one of the most active research programs in the area of neoadjuvant immunotherapy for operable lung cancer. His work has made McGill one of the top recruiters worldwide for these indications and he has obtained industry funding to perform an investigator initiated trial studying the role of immunotherapy in early stage lung cancer. He is an expert in enhanced recovery protocols for pulmonary surgery and his clinical practice is focused on minimal access techniques for thoracic surgery and extended resections for complex thoracic malignancies. He is the program director for the McGill Advanced Thoracic and Upper GI Surgical Oncology Fellowship. Dr. Spicer is the research chair for the Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons and sits on numerous steering committees and advisory boards for international phase 2 and 3 trials investigating the use of novel therapies prior to lung cancer resections.
Dr. Jonathan Cools-Lartigue is an Attending Surgeon in the Division of Thoracic and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at McGill University. He is also a scientist and principal investigator at the RI-MUHC. His translational and clinical research focuses on esophageal and gastric cancers.
Dr. Mlynarek specializes in head and neck oncology and microvascular reconstruction, head and neck sarcoma, thyroid and parathyroid surgery, skin cancer, as well as plastic and reconstructive surgery. Prior to joining the faculty at McGill, he finished two fellowships in head and neck oncology and complex reconstruction. After graduating from the McGill Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery residency program in 2007, Dr. Mlynarek received a diploma from the American Society of Head and Neck Surgery, for completing a fellowship in advanced head and neck oncology and microvascular reconstruction at the University of Alberta, under the guidance of Dr. H. Seikaly and Dr. J. Harris. He then completed a second fellowship training at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, focusing on the management of skin cancer, complex head and neck reconstruction and cosmetic facial surgery, under the distinguished guidance of Dr. J. Chaplin, Dr. N. McIvor and Dr. M. Izzard.
Teresa S. Araneta, MD
Dr. Araneta is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon from the Philippines. She received her medical degree at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, Manila and completed her Orthopedic Residency training at the Philippine General Hospital. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health. She is currently an Orthopedic Oncology fellow at the McGill University Health Center with special interests in adult and pediatric bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
Dr. Marc Hickeson completed his medical school at the University of Ottawa in 1996 and residency in nuclear medicine at McGill University in 2000 followed by a nuclear oncology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 2002. He is currently assistant professor in radiology. He has been a faculty staff physician at the McGill University Health Center since 2005 and the program director of the nuclear medicine residency program since 2009. His research interests include molecular imaging in oncology, particularly with positron emission tomography.
1998-2003; Doctorate in Medicine (M.D.)
2003-2008; Diagnostic Radiology Residency
2008-2009; Fellowship in Diagnostic Radiology (musculoskeletal imaging)
2009/2010 to present
Staff Radiologist (musculoskeletal).
2019/2020 to present
Musculoskeletal section chief.
Natalia Gorelik completed her Medical School and Radiology Residency at McGill University, followed by a Musculoskeletal Radiology Fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, NY, USA. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at McGill University. Her research interests include musculoskeletal oncology as well as health services and outcomes research. She is presently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr Rehana Jaffer completed her Medical degree and Radiology residency at McGill University. She is Board certified in Diagnostic Radiology by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and by the American Board of Radiology. Upon graduating residency in 2011, she did a fellowship in Musculoskeletal Imaging at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and also earned a second Musculoskeletal Radiology fellowship from McGill University. Dr Jaffer is currently a Musculoskeletal Radiologist at McGill University Health Centre, as well as an Assistant Professor at McGill University. Since 2016, Dr Jaffer has been the Musculoskeletal Radiology Fellowship Director.
Martine Therrien, Clinical Research Nurse, recently joined the RI-MUHC CIM Oncology research team Head & Neck and Sarcoma Research Programs in 2020. She started her practice at the Montreal Children's Hospital as a Registered Nurse (B.Sc. Inf) on the Orthopedics and General Surgery Units. She pursued her career as a Clinical Research Nurse in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology-Immunology Research Department at CHU Sainte-Justine, where she coordinated various clinical research projects, including Sarcoma and Rare Tumor study protocols.
I am an avid patient and public health advocate, a young researcher and a PhD candidate in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. My work focuses on adaptation of (young) cancer patients and survivors. Particularly, I am exploring how people facing cancer become resilient.
In my work I employ mixed methods, from semi-structured interviews to data-driven approaches to analysis that address questions such as why some individuals cope better than others.
I hope to contribute to the development of novel and holistic interventions in psycho-social care at all phases, from diagnosis through surveillance.
I have first joined the MUHC Sarcoma team as a summer research trainee in 2018 for a project on a novel Patient-reported Outcome (PRO) Measure for quality of life. We are currently looking at trajectories of recovery in sarcoma over time, and plan to investigate the role of anxiety in functional and psychological outcomes.
Caroline Buote has joined the RI-MUHC CIM Oncology team in January 2018. As well as the sarcoma disease team, she works in the head and neck and the breast teams and has been part of the gastrointestinal and melanoma teams in the past. She previously worked as a clinical research coordinator in the Pediatric Immunology Research Department at the CHU Sainte-Justine. She also has worked in a preclinical study CRO in Sherbrooke, writing protocols and data analysis reports for pharmaceutical sponsors. She studied in molecular biology and medical genetics. She now works on consenting patients, conducting patient visits and liaising with study sponsors.