The Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research was established to ensure the dedication of the holder of that position to ovarian cancer research. When I accepted the inaugural Chair, I brought with me the strong philosophy of multidisciplinarity of the cancer program in Ottawa, and its focus on translational research. My highest priority was the development of multidisciplinary networks that would enable the rapid transition of discoveries in basic science into clinical applications. After some consideration and with much trepidation, I decided that a national conference of all ovarian cancer researchers could best address that goal.

On November 27, 2001, I sent an email message to everyone in my email contacts list that had an interest in ovarian cancer research – 20 people in all. When asked if anyone would be interested in a meeting on ovarian cancer research, the response was overwhelming and fast. Within 24 hours, almost everyone had replied with words like “very timely”, “excellent idea”, “this is needed”, “do it!”. Thankfully, many replies came with offers to help, and those individuals plus a few others became the organizing committee of the first Canadian Conference on Ovarian Cancer Research, held on May 26-28, 2002 in Ottawa.

Fifty-one physicians and scientists met with the objectives to assess the current limitations of treatment and care for ovarian cancer patients and to identify strengths and weaknesses and thereby prioritize areas of research that required particularly concerted effort. A satellite meeting of all ovarian cancer tissue bankers in Canada was held to establish the framework for a national ovarian tissue bank. The conference ended with unanimous agreement that this meeting should be held every two years, and so it was - in Ottawa in 2004, in Vancouver in 2006, then Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Victoria, Niagara Falls, Edmonton and now returning home to Ottawa in 2020, each meeting reflecting the culture of the local host research community.

The ovarian cancer research community in Canada is incredibly creative, enthusiastic and collaborative. As such, this meeting continues to be a dynamic forum for all physicians, scientists and trainees in Canada who have an active program in any aspect of ovarian cancer research, including basic, translational, clinical, epidemiologic and psycho-social studies. The conference allows participants to exchange ideas and current concepts and research on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. It has been tremendously rewarding to watch the development and outcomes of several collaborative and national research initiatives. May this conference continue to bring you many opportunities for collaboration and success!

Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden, Ph.D.
Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research
Professor, Dept. of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa
Senior Scientist, Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute