The CMRG Board of Directors is comprised of a dedicated pan-Canadian group of clinicians, scientists, and patients working together to progress myeloma research that prioritizes patient needs. The BOD share a common vision: to work together towards a world where myeloma is no longer a fatal disease. Board members bring a range of expertise and knowledge to the task, and work in close collaboration with the myeloma community at large to achieve their goals
Darrell White, MD
Dr White is a hematologist at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, a professor of medicine and the senior associate dean in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He has a long-standing interest in medical education, having served various leadership roles in medical education at Dalhousie and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. His clinical practice and research activity focus on the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma.
Donna Reece, MD
Chief Medical Officer and Director
Dr Reece is the 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 was awarded the Molly and David Bloom Chair in Multiple Myeloma Research in 2009. She has served as Chair of the Multiple Myeloma Subcommittee of the Canadian Clinical Trials Group, Co-Chair of the Myeloma Subcommittee of the Centre for Blood and Marrow Transplant Research as well as a Member of the International Myeloma Working Group and Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium. She was a Director on the International Myeloma Society from 2016-2019 and currently holds a Board membership position in Myeloma Canada. She has served as the Chief Medical Officer of the CMRG since its inception
Sofia Tavoularis, PhD
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 expertise in the areas of histocompatibility and immunogenetics, molecular biology and immunohematology, as well as extensive experience in HLA genotyping. Her work in sequence-based HLA typing led to the identification of 37 new alleles, which were reported to the HLA WHO Nomenclature Committee and published in peer reviewed journals.
Dr Tavoularis is a Director of the Canadian Myeloma Research Group (CMRG) Board of Directors as a patient representative. She is also a member of the CMRG Project Review Committee and Database Steering Committee and a member of Myeloma Canada, Ontario Advocacy Committee. She is an emeritus member of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).
Dr Tavoularis received her PhD in immunogenetics from Johns Hopkins University, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She also held the position of Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, from 1992 to 2013. Besides HLA, her research interests included KIR genotyping, stem cell colony formation, endothelial cell biology, platelet allo-antibody detection and platelet genotyping, as well as the detection of cytokines and coagulation factors. She has published 121 full papers and abstracts.
Christopher Venner, MD
Dr Venner completed his medical training at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta. He later attended the University of British Columbia to complete a sub-specialty degree in Hematology. He then went on to pursue a Plasma Cell Dyscrasias Fellowship jointly through the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of British Columbia, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and the London School of Medicine and the National Amyloidosis Centre. 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 to lead the Malignant Hematology Program and the Myeloma/Plasma Cell Dyscrasias group. He is currently a staff physician at the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre focusing on Plasma Cell Dyscrasias and Lymphoid Malignancies. In addition to being actively involved in hematology clinical trials, his current academic interest involves clinical research in plasma cell dyscrasias, examining the evolution of therapy in these diseases and the impact novel combinations have on survival. Much of this work is done through the Canadian Myeloma Research Group through activities in the CMRG Canadian Multiple Myeloma Database initiative, where he is currently active as Chair, and the CMRG clinical trials group. He is also the Co-Chair of the Myeloma Sub-Committee with the Canadian Cancer Trials Group.
Suzanne Rowland, NP
Suzanne has recently retired from a more than a 40-year career in nursing. Beginning in 1981 she found that in all the areas a nurse could focus on she was drawn to ensuring that patients with life limiting illnesses were able to maintain a satisfactory quality of life.
Throughout the years, Suzanne continued with her nursing education and in 2008 she completed a Master of Nursing and a certification as a Nurse Practitioner. The years in between the 1980s and the early 2000s were spent working primarily in oncology and/or palliative care.
The last ten years of her full-time career were spent at The Princess Margaret Cancer Center working with the Myeloma team. She developed the NP role in which she saw newly diagnosed patients, patients at end-of-life and anyone in between. As she is considered to be an expert in pain and symptom management she quickly became and important member of the team.
Along with her undergraduate degree in nursing from The University of Victoria, her Master of Nursing from The University of Toronto, Suzanne holds certifications from the Canadian Nursing Association in Oncology Nursing and Hospice Palliative Care Nursing.
Suzanne is very excited to be joining the Board of the Canadian Myeloma Research Group.