MCRN Board of Directors
The Myeloma Canada Research Network (MCRN) is comprised of a dedicated pan-Canadian group of scientists, investigators, and clinicians representing 20 centres in nine provinces. They share a common vision: to work together towards a world where myeloma is no longer a fatal disease. The MCRN Board of Directors brings a range of expertise and knowledge to the task, and works in close collaboration with Myeloma Canada and the patient community.
Darrell White, MD, FRCPC Chairman
Dr White is a hematologist, professor of medicine, and senior associate dean of education at Dalhousie Medical School. He has a long-standing interest in medical education, having served various leadership roles in medical education at Dalhousie University and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. His clinical practice focuses on the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma.
In addition to his position as chairman on the Myeloma Canada Research Network (MCRN) Board of Directors, Dr White is a member of the myeloma subcommittee of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCICCTG), and the Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group (CBMTG).
Source: Dalhousie University
Kevin Song, MD, FRCPC Vice Chairman
Dr Song trained in Hematology and then as a Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Fellow in Vancouver from 1998-2000. He did further bone marrow transplant training in Toronto before joining the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program Attending Staff in August 2002. His current interests include the treatment of myeloma and other plasma cell dyscrasias and the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplant to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Steve Gannon, CA/CPA Treasurer
Steve Gannon has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology, manufacturing, and consulting industries. He is currently Senior Vice President at Aptalis Pharma Inc., as well as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Mr Gagnon’s responsibilities include finance, IT, and investor relations. He also headed a Board of Director’s Strategic assessment re-think of expanding beyond the company’s current therapeutic focus, managed the financial closing of the private sale of the company, and achieved significant savings and efficiencies following the integration of Eurand.
Mr Gannon is also a board member of various professional associations, which include Xenon Pharmaceuticals (XENE, NASDAQ), Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAAP, NASDAQ), CIMA PAK, as well as Myeloma Canada Research Network (MCRN) Board of Directors.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University, Chartered Accountant and Executive Program from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.
Cindy Manchulenko, BScN, RN Secretary
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ms Manchulenko graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Manitoba in 2001. While working as a clinical research nurse, she developed a passion for multiple myeloma and acquired a deep understanding of the disease. Ms Manchulenko has been involved in numerous nursing advisory programs. She has educated other nurses from across Canada on multiple myeloma and symptom management, and has helped develop tools for use in supportive care. She has also presented these programs to nurses and pharmacists across Canada who treat myeloma patients. This year, she is pursuing her Master’s of Science in Nursing at the University of British Columbia and will focus on research in myeloma patients.
Ms Manchulenko’s hopes for a cure for multiple myeloma, and is working toward that end. In the meantime, she strives to ensure that all myeloma patients receive the best quality of life possible, which can only be achieved with the collaboration and education of healthcare staff, patients, caregivers, and researchers.
Donna Reece, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Director
Dr Reece is Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the Program for Multiple Myeloma and Related Diseases in the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Princess Margaret Hospital/University of Toronto. She holds the Molly and David Bloom Chair in Multiple Myeloma Research and is Chair of the Multiple Myeloma Clinical Trials Group of the National Cancer Institute of Canada, as well as a Co-Chair of the Myeloma Working Committee at the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. Dr Reece also serves on the Myeloma Canada Scientific Advisory Board and leads the Myeloma Canada Research Network.
Aldo Del Col, MBA, RPh Director
Since being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2002, Mr Del Col has directed his attention to creating an effective national platform to address the needs of the Canadian myeloma community. Since founding the Myeloma Montreal Support Network in 2004 and co-founding Myeloma Canada in 2005, Mr Del Col has focused on establishing the organization as the voice of the Canadian myeloma community, first as President of the Board of Directors, then as Executive Director from 2010 to 2013, and now as Chairman of the Board. More recently he co-founded the Myeloma Canada Research Network (MCRN), a sister organization to Myeloma Canada, to accelerate the advancement of Canadian myeloma research. Drawing upon his scientific and pharmaceutical background, he works closely with Canada’s leading myeloma researchers, investigators, clinicians, and pharmaceutical companies to drive research focused on optimizing patient outcomes.
Mr Del Col holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from the University of Toronto and a Master in Business Administration from York University. Throughout his extensive career, Mr Del Col has gained knowledge and experience, not only as a community pharmacist, but also as a financial analyst for a multinational pharmaceutical company and the national director of sales and marketing for a global health and beauty consumer products corporation.
In addition to his ongoing responsibilities with Myeloma Canada and the Myeloma Canada Research Network, Mr Del Col works part time in a community pharmacy, and serves as the hematology patient representative for the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) and as a reviewer for CCTG’s Clinical Trials Committee. He is also a member of the Global Myeloma Action Network, serves on the board of directors of the International Myeloma Foundation, and participates in both national and international advisory boards.
Sofia Tavoularis, PhD, Director
Dr Tavoularis was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in January 2014. That same year, she retired from the Canadian Blood Services, where she held the position of Director of the HLA Laboratory. In that position, she was responsible for the provision of large-scale HLA genotyping services for donors across the country (except Quebec- who joined the Canadian OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network).
Dr Tavoularis has a range of expertise in the areas of histocompatibility and immunogenetics, molecular biology and immunohematology, as well as extensive experience in HLA typing. Her work in sequence-based typing led to the identification of 37 new alleles, which were reported to the HLA WHO Nomenclature Committee.
In addition to Dr Tavoularis’ position as Patient Representative of the Myeloma Canada Research Network (MCRN) Board of Directors, she is also a member of the MCRN project Review Committee and a member of Myeloma Canada, Ontario Advisory Committee.
Dr Tavoularis received her PhD in Immunogenetics from The Johns Hopkins University, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She has published over 120 full papers.
Christopher Venner, MD, FRCPC Director
Dr Venner is Chair of MCRN Canadian Multiple Myeloma Database
Dr Venner completed his medical training at the University of Calgary and later attended the University of British Columbia to complete a specialty degree in Hematology. He then went on to become the inaugural Plasma Cell Dyscrasias Fellow, a position funded jointly through the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of British Columbia, St. Bartholomew’s, and the London School of Medicine. After spending a year completing his fellowship training in the UK, he joined the National Amyloid Centre as a staff physician before returning to Edmonton and the Cross Cancer Institute (CCI). He is currently the clinical lead for the Malignant Hematology Program at the CCI. In addition to being actively involved in hematology clinical trials, his current academic interest involves clinical research in plasma cell dyscrasias. He is examining the evolution of therapy in these diseases as well as the impact novel combinations have had on survival.