Congratulations and farewell to Dr. John Bartlett

Dr. John Bartlett
Dr. John Bartlett

I regret to announce the departure of Dr. John Bartlett, Director of Diagnostic Development, Provincial PI for the Ontario Tumour Bank and Senior Principal Investigator, at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), effective July 31, 2021. John will be returning to the University of Edinburgh to pursue his ongoing work across a number of personalized medicine clinical trials, including OPTIMA, ROSCO and others. He has maintained an active research group in Edinburgh throughout his tenure at OICR and will continue to promote collaborative translational science from his base in Scotland.

John was recruited to OICR in 2011 from the University of Edinburgh to build OICR’s new Transformative Pathology (now Diagnostic Development) Program, to support the development of pathology researchers through the Transformative Pathology Fellowship Program and to lead the Ontario Tumour Bank. Over the past decade John has led the development of molecular diagnostics, precision medicine and early detection of cancers in Ontario and around the world, largely within the context of partnerships with clinical groups and in particular in the deep multiomic analysis of clinical trial cohorts. During his tenure at OICR John published over 175 peer reviewed articles, including those focused on research, guidelines and policy. He is named on multiple patents, and is actively engaged in translating these novel discoveries into the clinical space. He is widely recognized as a mentor and promoter of team collaborative science.

As a result, under his leadership, the Program grew to be an essential collaborative resource for Ontario’s clinical trials, pathology, and molecular biomarker discovery communities supporting key initiatives including OCTANE, PanCuRx, CCTG, amongst many others.

John was key to the building of the Ontario Molecular Pathology Research Network and OICR’s recently-launched Window-of-Opportunity Clinical Trial Network. His involvement in international projects such as ASCO-CAP and the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group have helped to create better approaches to delivering therapies for patients around the world. This work was part of the reason why the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), one of the most prestigious journals in cancer research, recently added John to its list of most-cited authors. John’s work with partners such as ThermoFisher Scientific, Movember and Prostate Cancer Canada (now part of CCS) have helped OICR build stronger ties to industry and partners in the charitable sector.

In the meantime, the Diagnostic Development Program will be led jointly by Drs. Jane Bayani and Melanie Spears, both well-positioned to take over as leaders in the interim. We are committed to working with them on the vision of Diagnostic Development including the recruitment of a Director of Diagnostic Development in the future. Many of you will be familiar with Melanie and Jane: they are Principal Research Scientists, Associate Directors in the Diagnostic Development Program and accomplished scientists who have worked with John for many years, helped build Diagnostic Development, and are well prepared to lead the program in the future. Diagnostic Development will continue as normal under their very capable leadership until new permanent leadership is announced.

John will remain affiliated with OICR as an Associate Investigator and will continue to actively participate providing advice and leadership in key areas including the Window-of-Opportunity Clinical Trial Network, the PRONTO study, and biomarker implementation collaborations with industry partners. Together with John, we will ensure a smooth transition of leadership in Diagnostic Development and the stability of its many internally and externally funded research programs. OICR and John remain committed to working with John’s funding partners to ensure we will continue our productive interactions in these areas.

While we will miss John, both personally and professionally, we are truly thankful for his time here at OICR and all that he has helped to build. The strength of the Diagnostic Development Program and his team is a testament to his vision and leadership. I ask that you join me in congratulating John and wishing him all the best in his new opportunities.

Lincoln Stein
Head, Adaptive Oncology
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Dr. Jane Bayani
Dr. Jane Bayani
Dr. Melanie Spears
Dr. Melanie Spears