2nd Young Scientist Cancer Congress 2024 (YS2C)

New translational approaches in cancer therapy

October 10 & 11, 2024 – Montpellier France

The postdoc association of the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse was created in 2022 by Benoît Aliaga, Chloé Bessière and Steffen Fuchs. It gathers more than 30 postdocs who work at the CRCT. As an initiative of postdocs/young clinician scientists for postdocs/clinician scientists we organized the 1st Young Scientist Cancer Congress of the Cancéropôle Grand Sud Ouest (GSO) on the 5th October 2023 at the Oncopole, Toulouse. The event turned out to be a big success, leading to an idea to create an annual meeting taking place in major cities of the South-Western France and promoting the networking among the young researchers. The 2nd Young Scientist Cancer Congress will take place on 10-11th October in Montpellier and will treat the subject of new translational approaches in cancer therapy. This year we again several renowned international scientists will present their latest work, which will guarantee a high level scientific discussion.

Aim: The main goals of this congress are to: promote the work of postdocs and young clinician scientists, optimize their career paths, establish networks, and to enable new translational research projects.

Public: To achieve our goals, we decided to open the conference to the whole scientific community, which are researchers and clinicians of all career levels.

Organization: This day will alternate presentations by internationally renowned keynote speakers, presentations by postdocs and young clinicians, application-focused presentations by 2 leading single-cell and spatial transcriptomics companies and a presentation from an editor of Nature Communications about scientific publishing and peer-reviewing.

Call for abstracts of young scientists ONLY :

We invite all postdocs, young clinicians and PhD students to submit abstracts for an oral presentation or a poster. While preparing your submission, please follow the abstract guidelines. The organizing committee of YS2C will select the best abstracts for oral presentations and posters.

Several prizes will be awarded:

  • complimentary registration to the EACR 2025 Congress/EACR Conference for the best oral presentation,
  • more info to come!

When posting on social media (Twitter/X, LinkedIn) about the conference, please use our hashtag #YS2C and #YS2C_GSO.

Key dates and registration :

  • Deadline for submission of abstracts for oral presentations: July 31, 2024 (23:59)  OPEN
  • Deadline for submission of abstracts for poster presentations: September 06, 2024 (23:59) OPEN
  • Registration (obligatory) until: September 22, 2024 (23:59) OPEN

Registration is obligatory, but free for all researchers. Please follow the instructions on the GSO web portal.

The physician’s corner – a dedicated space for informal meetings between clinicians and researchers

One of our aims is to bring young clinicians and researchers together. This will foster exchange and potentially start future collaborations, all for the sake of translational research and ultimately for the patients’ benefit. This is why we will have a dedicated space during the lunch break and poster session, “the physician’s corner”, where informal discussions between clinicians and researchers can happen in a relaxed atmosphere. Use this opportunity and just come around!

Program (more speakers to come)

October, 10

9:00 – 9:15: Welcome address

Session 1: Cancer evolution and heterogeneity

Keywords: clonal evolution, natural selection, somatic mutations, biomarkers, epigenetics 

9:15 – 10:00: Nicholas McGranahan (the EMBO Young Investigator Lecture) 35’ + 10 min questions

10:00 – 10:20: Presentation 1 (15’ talk + 5’ questions)

10:20 – 10:40: Coffee break + industry sponsors stands

10:40 – 11:00: Presentation 2

11:00 – 11:20: Presentation 3

11:20 – 11:40: Presentation 4

11:40 – 12:00: Tech talk 1

12:00 – 14:00 Lunch time + industry sponsors stands

Session 2: Cancer treatment and clinical outcomes

Keywords: immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, biotherapy, biomarkers

14:00 – 14:45: Michael Schmück-Henneresse 35’ + 10 min questions

14:45 – 15:05: Presentation 5

15:05 – 15:25: Presentation 6

15:25 – 15:45: Coffee break + industry sponsors stands

15:45 – 16:05: Presentation 7

16:05 – 16:25: Charles Herbaux 35’ + 10 min questions

16:25 – 18:00: Poster session

19:30: YS2C gala with keynote speakers

October, 11 

Session 3: Tumor microenvironment 

Keywords: cell-cell communication, immune cells, metabolism, cancer-associated fibroblasts

9:00 – 9:45: Mara Sherman 35’ + 10 min questions 

9:45 – 10:05:  Presentation 8

10:05 – 10:20: Presentation 9

10:20 – 10:40: Coffee break + industry sponsors stands

10:40 – 11:00: Presentation 10

11:00 – 11:20: Presentation 11

11:20 – 11:40: Presentation 12

11:40 – 12:00: Tech talk 2

12:00 – 14:00: Lunch time + industry sponsors stands

13:30-14:30: Physician corner

Session 4: Tumor immunology

Keywords: inflammation, exhaustion, immuno-oncology

14:30 – 15:15: Frances Balkwill 35’ + 10 min questions

15:15 – 15:35: Presentation 13

15:35 – 15:55: Presentation 14

15:55 – 16:25: Coffee break + industry sponsors stands

16:25 – 16:45: Presentation 15

16:45 – 17:30: Daniela Thommen 35’ + 10 min questions

Session 5: The editor’s perspective or the clinical perspective

17:30 – 18:00 Joanne Clancy 20′ + 10 min questions

Closing remarks and ceremony of poster & oral presentation awards

Keynote speakers
Professor Frances Balkwill, Ph.D.
OBE, FMedSci; Deputy Centre Lead, Group Leader, Research Theme Lead;  Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London

Professor Frances Balkwill is a British scientist, renowned for her research on the interaction between tumors and their microenvironment, particularly in the context of cancer growth and spread. Her work has been instrumental in deciphering the connection between inflammation and cancer. She is a prominent figure in translating this understanding into innovative treatments for ovarian cancer. Balkwill has also played a pivotal role in raising public awareness of scientific advancements.
Professor Balkwill was trained at Barts Medical Oncology Unit and the ICRF Lincoln’s Inn Fields. During her postdoctoral research, she focused on studying interferons and their role in cancer therapy. Her subsequent work delved into the intricate roles of cytokines, both in cancer promotion and inhibition. This research paved the way for broader studies on the cellular and mediator components of the complex and dynamic tumor microenvironment. Currently Professor Balkwill’s research is centered on ovarian cancer. Recently, her lab published a comprehensive profile of the human ovarian cancer microenvironment. They have also developed new mouse models and human multicellular tissue culture models, which they are using to investigate biological therapies that could prevent relapse and improve patient survival in ovarian cancer.
In addition to her scientific contributions, Professor Balkwill is actively involved in public engagement with biomedical science. She has authored several books for children on cell and molecular biology. She is the Director of the Centre of the Cell, an informal biomedical science center for children, educational website, and outreach project in East London, which has engaged over 180,000 participants since its inception in September 2009.
Balkwill serves as a non-parliamentary board member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and is a Trustee of Bloodwise. She was awarded an OBE in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. In 2015, the University of Bristol conferred upon her a Doctor of Science honoris causa, and in 2017, she received the Cancer Research UK Inspiring Leadership in Research Engagement Prize.

Doctor Mara Sherman, Ph.D
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City

Mara Sherman is an associate member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at New York city. The Mara Sherman lab aims to understand the heterocellular interactions among pancreatic cancer cells and their surrounding microenvironment, and to target these networks for therapeutic benefit.
She did her PhD in the laboratory of Michael Teitell at the University of California, Los Angeles, working on the mechanisms regulating B cell lymphomagenesis. Then she moved to the laboratory Danny Manor at Cornell University, Ithaca, working on mechanisms of cellular transformation by the Dbl oncogene.
She has prestigious recognition in the field and her laboratory is supporting by grant like R01 and P01


Nicholas McGranahan, Ph.D
Cancer Genome Evolution Research Group, CRUK-UCL Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, Human Technopole, UCL Cancer Institute, London, UK

nicholas mcganahanNicholas McGranahan is an emerging computational geneticist based at the CRUK-UCL Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, located in the UCL Cancer Institute. He completed his Ph.D. at the University College London under the advisory of Dr. Charles Swanton and Dr. Nicholas Luscombe. He pursued his research as a postdoctoral fellow at The Francis Crick Institute in the lab of Dr. Charles Swanton. Currently, he is leading a research group that develops computational methods to explore the cancer genome and antitumor immunity within an evolutionary framework.
Using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and evolutionary methods, his team aims at understanding how tumors are developing and how they might be treated. McGranahan’s work has is centered around exploring tumorigenesis as an evolutionary process. He has developed various tools to assist researchers in understanding the effect of genetic mutations accumulated during tumor development, but also use this knowledge to predict the tumor’s trajectory. This comprehensive approach might help in designing a more effective cancer treatments in the future. Dr. McGranahan exceptional work in the field of cancer evolution has granted him several prestigious awards, including: Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, Young Investigator EMBO Award and Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, Wellcome Trust.


Charles Herbaux, MD, PhD · PU-PH
Associate Editor, Nature Communications

Charles HerbauxProf. Charles Herbaux is a MD PhD whose work is primarily focused on lymphoproliferative diseases. He obtained his MD in the University and CHRU of Lille in 2014. He did his PhD in 2017 working on pathophysiology of T prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL). In 2018, he joined the laboratory of Dr. MS Davids at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston as a postdoctoral fellow. While there, he focused on the development of a BH3 profiling method to assess the tumor cell’s dependency to anti-apoptotic proteins from the Bcl-2 family. Pr Herbaux come back to France in 2020, where he carries out his care and clinical research activities in the department of Clinical Hematology – CHU de Montpellier. He is also leading translational research projects within Pr Jérôme Moreaux’s team at Institute of Human Genetics. He is studying how cellular signaling cascades and cell death are affected by BCR and TCR pathway inhibition, and how these results correlate with clinical outcomes in trials. Ultimately, the aims of his clinical and research efforts are to help develop novel therapies that improve outcomes for patients afflicted with lymphomas and lymphoid leukemias.


Daniela Thommen, MD, Ph.D
Precision cancer immunotherapy Group, Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam

thommen_danielaDaniela Thommen is a group leader at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Her group focuses on understanding the determinants of response to checkpoint inhibitors, taking advantage of a unique ex-vivo tumor model, the patient-derived tumor fragment platform. Through transcriptomic, spatial and multiparametric flow cytometry analysis, her lab aims to identify predictive biomarkers of response to immune-checkpoint inhibitors. She has made major contributions to the field, characterizing thoroughly the lymphocytes compartment in solid tumors, especially lung cancer.
Supported by a MD-PhD fellowship, she pursued both medical training and completed a PhD in T-cell immunology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 2010 under the supervision of Prof. Biedermann. She continued her dual activity as a clinician scientist, through training in internal medicine and medical oncology and, in parallel, work as a research fellow in the lab of Prof. Zippelius at the Department Biomedicine in Basel.
In 2016, she joined the lab of Prof. Ton Schumacher at the Netherlands Cancer Institute with a postdoctoral fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. After a few productive years where she continued to advance understanding of the heterogeneity in intratumoral immune activity, with a focus on T cell dysfunction, she started her own independent research lab at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in April 2020.
She is the recipient of several prestigious grants and awards, such as: the Swiss Pfizer Research Prize in oncology (2019), the Young Investigator Grant/Bas mulder award (2018) from the Dutch Cancer Society and a Melanoma Research Alliance Team Science Award, together with C. Blank and D. Peeper.


Michael Schmück-Henneresse, Ph.D
Group leader for Experimental Immunotherapy, Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

Michael Schmück-Henneresse is an expert in the field of Immunotherapy. He earned his Ph.D. in 2012 at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and subsequently conducted postdoctoral research at Charité with Prof. Volk. Since 2020, he is leading a research group at Berlin Institute of Health (Charité and MDC).
Dr. Schmück-Henneresse’s research is dedicated to a profound understanding of how T cells orchestrate effective immune memory against viral infections or cancer and how this can be tailored for therapeutic purposes. In pursuit of this, his team pioneers the development of cutting-edge technologies aimed at detecting, characterizing, and genetically reprogramming T cell specificity. Simultaneously, they craft strategies to optimize the quality of T cells for therapeutic use.
Employing physiological models and state-of-the-art techniques, including high-content imaging, spectral flow cytometry, CyTOF, proteomics, and scRNA-seq, his team meticulously mimics and characterizes the optimal specificity, quality, potency, and longevity of therapeutic T cells. The overarching goal of Dr. Schmück-Henneresse’s research is to augment and reinvigorate optimal and sustained T-cell activity. By doing so, the ultimate aim is to introduce new treatment options characterized by heightened efficacy and safety for patients.

Joanne Clancy, Ph.D
Associate Editor in Nature Communications, Springer Nature, UK

Joanne joined Nature Communications in March 2022 as a Locum Associate Editor. Previous to this Joanne received an MSc(Res) in Translational Oncology at the University of Sheffield and went on to study for a PhD at University College London. Her doctoral research evaluated the effects of combining radiotherapy and a novel inhibitor of DNA damage repair on tumour immunogenicity. Joanne is based in the London office and handles mainly cancer therapy related submissions.

Organizing committee
Benoît Aliaga, Ph.D, CRCT, Toulouse Chloé Bessiere, Ph.D, CRCT, Toulouse Steffen Fuchs, MD; CRCT Toulouse, Charité, Berlin Marcin Domagala, Ph.D; CRCT Toulouse
Anna Salvioni, Ph.D, CRCT, Toulouse Roxana Khazen, Ph.D, CRCT, Toulouse Charline Ogier, Ph.D, CRCT, Toulouse Sara Ovejero, Ph.D, IGH, Montpellier
Serena Stadler, Ph.D, Charité, Berlin Katyana Seba, Ph.D, CRBM, Montpellier Pierre Francois Roux, Ph.D, IRCM, Montpellier Oriana Villafraz, Ph.D, IRCM, Montpellier
Laura Grunewald
Thomas LeFeivre, Ph.D, BRIC, Bordeaux  Javier Florido, Ph.D, IRCM, Montpellier Laura Grunewald, Ph.D, Charité, Berlin
Volunteers (all the help is welcome)
Laurence Granier, Ingénieure
CRCT Toulouse
Pratical informations
Location :

The 2nd Young Scientist Cancer Congress (YS2C) will take place at the Amphi Dumontet of University of Montpellier, from October 10th to 11th, 2024.

Address: Amphi Dumontet, Faculty Of Science De Montpellier, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France


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