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LEIF ANDERSSON, Uppsala University
The overall objective of Dr. Leif Andersson's group is to use a genomics approach to advance our understanding of the genetic basis for phenotypic variation. We are using domestic animals as our model organisms because domestication and animal breeding have caused major changes in many phenotypic traits. This gives a unique opportunity to unravel the genes underlying phenotypic variation. The research includes genetic studies of both monogenic traits, like inherited disorders and coat colour, and multifactorial traits, like muscle development, fat deposition, autoimmune disorders and general disease resistance. The major research projects involve genetic analysis of divergent intercrosses in chicken and genome-wide association analysis in the dog but the ongoing research also includes genetic studies in horses and pigs. The ultimate goal of the research is to identify the genes and mutations affecting a certain trait and thereafter study the mechanism and biological significance of the detected mutations.


MICHAEL ASHBURNER, University of Cambridge

Michael Ashburner (1942-) is Professor of Biology at the University of Cambridge and is the former Joint-Head of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI).He was educated at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe and the University of Cambridge, where he received his undergraduate degree (1964) and Ph.D. (1968), both in genetics. He then went to the California Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral fellow with Hershell Mitchell. In 1979, he returned to the Department of Genetics in Cambridge where he has been based since, as Assistant in Research, University Demonstrator, University Lecturer, Reader in Developmental Biology and Professor (Ad hominem) of Biology (since 1991). He has been Miller Professor at the University of California at Berkeley and visiting professor at the University of California Medical School, San Francisco; University of Crete, Greece; and University of Pavia, Italy. For the period 1994-2001 he was first Research Coordinator and then Joint-Head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute at Hinxton, Cambridge. During this period he was on 50% leave from the University of Cambridge. His major research interests are now the structure and evolution of genomes. Most of his research has been with the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, about which he has written the standard research text (Drosophila: A Laboratory Handbook, Cold Spring Harbor Press, New York, 1989, 2nd ed. 2005). His research has covered a range of subjects, from classical genetics, developmental biology, cytogenetics to evolution, at both molecular and organismal levels. He was a member of the consortium which recently sequenced the entire genome of this fly. He has had a strong interest in the provision of databases for biologists for about 15 years. He is a founder of FlyBase, a major database for researchers using Drosophila as a model organism, and of the Gene Ontology Consortium, a project to provide infrastructure for biological databases by a defined taxonomy of gene function. Ashburner is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and of the Academia Europeae; he is a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, and past president of the British Genetics Society. He has honorary degrees from the Universities of Crete and Edinburgh. He recently received the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal from the Genetics Society of America. He also is a Professorial Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.

DAVID BENTLEY , Illumina, Inc.

Dr. David Bentley is Vice President and Chief Scientist at Illumina Inc, developing new DNA sequencing technology for fast, accurate sequencing of complex genomes. His major research interest is the study of human sequence variation. He was previously Head of Human Genetics and founding Member of the Board of Management at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he played leading roles in the Institute's contribution the human genome reference sequence, The SNP Consortium and the International HapMap Project.

Interviewed by Chris Gunter, Nature
LEO BRIZUELA, Agilent Technologies


Dr. Leonardo Brizuela conducted his graduate research in the laboratory of Dr. David Beach at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (1985-1988). His work on the cdc2 kinase and p13 in yeast, invertebrate marine organisms and vertebrate somatic cells resulted in important publications in the field of cell cycle regulation. He then worked on his postdoctoral fellowship at Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Labs (1989-1991) where he contributed to the understanding of the mechanism of action and characterization of the binding proteins for the immunosuppressors FK506 and rapamycin. Dr. Brizuela then joined the EMBL as a Staff Scientist in 1992 working with Dr. Sara Courtneidge. His work there concentrated on the oncogenic properties of the hamster polyoma virus middle T antigen. He then joined Mitotix, Inc. in 1994, where he worked as Senior Scientist for 3 years. He was then promoted to Director of Biochemistry. Dr. Brizuela also headed the oncology drug discovery program for CDK inhibitors (in collaboration with Dupont Pharmaceuticals) from 1994 until 1998. During this period the program generated candidates for pre-clinical development and his research resulted in the generation of numerous biochemical assays and screens, as well as the publication of the atomic structures of a natural CDK inhibitor (p19) and that of CDK6 bound to p19. His other publications during this period also contributed to the understanding of the mechanism of action of p19 and p21 inhibitors, as well as the characterization of small molecular weight inhibitors currently in development and on clinic. As Director of Biochemistry he dealt with other oncology and antifungal programs. He joined the Harvard Institute of Proteomics in January 2000 as Associate Director. His research interests continued to center on the identification and biochemical characterization of proteins involved in signal transduction and cancer, as well as in the development of high-throughput protein expression, purification and detection methodologies. His efforts initiating and conducting the human kinase clone project resulted in one of the most important and widely used human gene set produced by the Institute. Likewise, Dr. Brizuela initiated and headed the efforts of the Institute on the creation and exploitation of gene repositories for relevant bacterial human pathogens. His work on this area resulted in his positioning as Director of the Proteomics Core for the “New England Research Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Diseases”, a Harvard based and one of the eight Centers of Excellence funded at the National level by the NIH after the 9/11 events. Dr. Brizuela is currently Director of Science and Technology /Genomics at Agilent Technologies. The main focus of this work is the further develop and identify new applications for microarray-based technologies and other genomic solutions.


CARLOS BUSTAMANTE , Cornell University

Carlos D. Bustamante is a statistical population geneticist interested in human and primate evolution, impacts of domestication on genetic architecture, and medical applications of genomics technology. He received his Ph.D. (2001), M.S. (2001), and B.A. (1997) degrees from Harvard University where he was a Ph.D. student with Daniel L. Hartl. He was also post-doctoral fellow with Peter Donnelly at Oxford under the aegis of a Marshall-Sherfield Fellowship. Since 2002, he has been on the faculty at Cornell University where he teaches statistics, statistical genetics, and bioinformatics. His group has most recently worked on comparing the human, macaque, and chimpanzee genomes, quantifying the strength of selection against new mutations in the human genome, and identifying rapidly evolving genes in different human populations. His current research focuses on identifying genes contributing to phenotypic differences among domestic dog breeds, developing genomic resources for using the macaque as a non-human primate model for mapping genes involved human diseases, and on a large collaborative project to map genes of agronomic importance in Domesticated Asian rice (Oryza sativa).




MICHELE CLAMP, Broad Institute of Harvard University & MIT

Michele Clamp has a first degree in Physics from the University of Oxford and then escaped to Manchester University for a PhD in experimental solid state physics. Another 3 years were blissfully spent in Manchester after transferring to the Biochemistry department for a post-doc developing novel molecular dynamics algorithms with Andy Brass. The return to the South could no longer be avoided when she joined Geoff Barton's group in October 95 ostensibly to work at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. She got her feet under a desk there after a year's wait and worked on the location of genes in genomic human DNA. She moved to the EBI in December 1997 where she worked on the Java multiple alignment analysis tool JalView as well as a CORBA interface to the Pfam alignment database. In January 1999 she moved to the Sanger Centre in order to develop analysis tools for the annotation of the Human Genome where she heads a team on the Ensembl project. Michele has now moved on again to the Broad Institute in Boston, USA.

PETER DONNELLY, University of Oxford

Peter Donnelly, FRS, is an Australian mathematician and Professor of Statistical Science at the University of Oxford. He is a specialist in applied probability and has made important mathematical contributions to coalescent theory.

His research group at Oxford has an international reputation for the development of statistial methodology to analyse genetic data. He is a fellow of St Anne's College and, with Frances Ashcroft and Kay Davies is a director of the Oxford Centre for Gene Function.

He was educated at the University of Queensland and Balliol College, Oxford. When elected to a chair at Queen Mary College, London he was the youngest Professor in Britain. He held a chair at the University of Chicago and was head of the Department of Statistics at the University of Oxford from 1996 to 2001.

One area in which he has a leading reputation is in the interpretation of DNA evidence. He has acted as an expert witness on forensic science in criminal trials. He is noted for his collaborative work with biologists. He has been heavily involved in a number of large scale projects, such as the International HapMap Project and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, a genome-wide association study. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006. He was elected as the Director of Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG) in 2007.

JOSEPH ECKER , The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Joseph Ecker is a Professor in the Plant Biology Laboratory and the Director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Ca. He earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and carried out postdoctoral studies with Ronald Davis at the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University. He served on the Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania (1987-2000) before joining The Salk Institute for Biological Studies (2000). His research on the gaseous plant hormone ethylene has yielded basic insights into the mechanisms of plant growth control and its application has resulted in technologies that delay fruit ripening and disease processes. His laboratory participated in mapping and sequencing of genome of Arabidopsis thaliana and he continues to explore the encyclopedia of DNA elements in Arabidopsis through the development and application of technologies for genome-wide and systems biology analysis of plant gene function. He has been the recipient of multiple honors, including: the Kumho Science International Award in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (2001), the International Plant Growth Substances Association Distinguished Research Award (2004), the American Society for Plant Molecular Biology Martin Gibbs Medal (2005), and was chosen as the Scientific American 50: Research Leader of the Year in Agriculture in 2004. He was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2006. In 2007 he received the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science from the US National Academy of Sciences. Professor Ecker is an editor of PLoS Genetics and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He currently serves as President of the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology.

XAVIER ESTIVILL , Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Sain

Dr. Xavier Estivill is the Director of the Genes and Disease Programme of the Centre for Genomic Regulation, and a Professor of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Dr Estivill gained his doctorate of Medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1987, and his PhD at the University of London in 1995, for his studies on the molecular genetics of cystic fibrosis. He has contributed to the identification and analysis of a large number of genes involved in monogenic diseases and to the understanding of structural variability of the human genome and predisposition to disease. Some achievements of his group (present and past) are the characterisation of phenotypes due to mutations in the cystic fibrosis gene, the identification of the genes that cause cystinuria, the detection of common mutations for hearing loss, the identification of genes involved in Down syndrome, and the molecular mechanisms responsible for neurofibromatosis. Currently, his group is studying the molecular basis of common disorders and variability at the structural level, and evaluating the contribution of non-coding RNAs in neurological and psychiatric disorders. He is promoting the “European profiles of structural and sequence variation of the human genome in Disease” project (EUVADIS), which will use high-throughput -omic technologies to dissect the human genome of 1000 subjects for ten common human disorders at the sequence level. The project aims to integrate the biological data of medical conditions for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common human diseases, and to foster the implementation of genomic medicine at the individual and collective levels.

Interviewed by Chris Gunter, Nature
KELLY FRAZER, The Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Kelly A. Frazer is a Professor of Genome Molecular Experimental Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute and the Director of Genomic Biology in the Scripps Genomic Medicine Program. Her current research is focused on identifying and functionally characterizing human DNA variants underlying disease. Prior to joining Scripps in 2007, Dr. Frazer held the position of Vice President of Genomics at Perlingen Sciences, where she played a key role in the HapMap Phase II project, an international effort to genotype a large fraction of common SNPs in the human genome.




RICHARD GIBBS, Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Richard Gibbs received a B.Sc. (Hons) in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Radiation Biology in 1986 from the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Australia. He subsequently moved to Houston as a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine to study the molecular basis of human-linked diseases and to develop technologies for rapid genetic analysis. During this period he also developed several fundamental technologies for nucleic acid analysis.
In 1991 he joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine and played a key role in the early planning and development phases of the Human Genome Project. In 1996, he established the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center when the College was chosen as one of six programs to complete the final phase of the Human Genome Project. He currently holds the rank of Director and Professor.
In addition to his work on the Human Genome Project, Dr. Gibbs also has made significant contributions to the deciphering of the fly, mouse, dictyostelium, and rat genomes. Dr. Gibbs has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award.


Interviewed by Chris Gunter, Nature
DAVID HAUSSLER , University of California, Santa Cruz

David Haussler is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor of Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, where he directs the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering. He is also affiliated with the Departments of Computer Science and Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. He serves as scientific co-director for the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and is a consulting professor at both Stanford Medical School and UC San Francisco Biopharmaceutical Sciences Department. Haussler’s research lies at the interface of mathematics, computer science, and molecular biology. He develops new statistical and algorithmic methods to explore the molecular evolution of the human genome, integrating cross-species comparative and high-throughput genomics data to study gene structure, function, and regulation. He is credited with pioneering the use of mathematical computer models—Hidden Markov Models (HMMs), Stochastic Context-Free Grammars, and discriminative kernel methods—for analyzing DNA, RNA, and protein sequences. These methods have specific applications in finding protein-coding and RNA genes in the human and other genomes and predicting three-dimensional protein folding based on similarities to other proteins with known structures. In particular, Haussler’s application of HMMs to the task of computer gene-finding quickly became the dominant methodology and was first used successfully on the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) genome. As a collaborator on the international Human Genome Project, his team posted the first publicly available computational assembly of the human genome sequence on the internet. His group now maintains a web browser for the genome sequence at http://genome.ucsc.edu that is used extensively in biomedical research. Most recently, Haussler has focused on broadly exploring the functional elements of the human genome, primarily through interspecies comparisons. His findings have shed light on the possible functionality of what was once considered to be “junk” DNA, and his lab has identified and explored the function of genomic elements that have remained conserved for millions of years and then undergone rapid evolution in newer species. He has also begun to computationally reconstruct the genome of the ancestor common to placental mammals. Haussler received his BA in mathematics from Connecticut College in 1975, an MS in applied mathematics from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo in 1979, and his PhD in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1982. He belongs to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a fellow of both AAAS and AAAI. He has won a number of prestigious awards, including the 2006 Dickson Prize for Science from Carnegie Mellon University and the 2003 ACM/ AAAI Allen Newell Award.


THOMAS HUDSON , Ontario Instutite for Cancer Researh

Dr. Thomas J. Hudson is President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). He is recruiting more than 50 internationally recognized principal investigators to implement OICR’s Strategic Plan, which focuses on prevention, early diagnosis, cancer targets and new therapeutics.

Dr. Hudson was the founder and Director of the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre and Assistant-Director of the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research. Internationally renowned for his work in genomics, he led the effort to generate dense physical and gene maps of the human and mouse genomes. He is a leader in the development and applications of robotic systems and DNA-chip based methodologies for genome research. Dr. Hudson and his team were founding members of the International Haplotype Map Consortium.

In 2007, Dr. Hudson was appointed Professor (status-only) in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. He taught in the departments of Human Genetics and Medicine at McGill University and practiced medicine at the McGill University Health Centre – Montreal General Hospital (Division of Immunology and Allergy).

Dr. Hudson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. One of the co-founding members of P3G, he is its Scientific Director. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Human Genetics.




Interviewed by Chris Gunter, Nature
MICHAEL LEVINE , University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Michael Levine is is Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development at the University of California, Berkeley. His labortaory studies gene networks that control animal development and disease. Particular efforts focus on the control of segmentation and gastrulation in the early Drosophila embryo, the immune response in Drosophila larvae, and the differentiation of the notochord and heart in the sea squirt, Ciona intestinalis.


JOSEPH MCINERNEY, National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics

Joseph D. McInerney received his MS in human genetics and genetic counseling from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, in 1976. He then spent more than two decades at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), in Colorado, where he was director for 14 years and wrote textbooks and other educational materials in biology, with a focus on genetics and evolution. Since October 2000, McInerney has been director of NCHPEG – the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics – where he continues to develop educational materials in human genetics and genetic medicine.

In addition to his educational publications, McInerney has published more than 100 articles, chapters, and reviews in the scientific and science-education literature. He served as the editor of Perspectives in Genetic Counseling from 1983-1987 and now serves on the editorial boards of the Quarterly Review of Biology and Community Genetics. In 1996, he was elected a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in recognition of his contributions to science education. In 2005, McInerney received the award for excellence in genetics education from the American Society of Human Genetics and the Natalie Paul Award for national achievement from the National Society of Genetic Counselors.




ELAINE MARDIS, Washington University School of Medicine

Elaine R. Mardis
is an Associate Professor of Genetics and Molecular Microbiology, and Co-Director of the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. She holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Chemistry (1989) and a B.S. in Zoology (1984) from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Mardis has been at the Washington University School of Medicine’s Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) since 1993, playing a pivotal role in the evaluation, optimization and application of novel sequencing instrumentation, chemistry and molecular biology. As Director of Technology Development, she helped develop automation and pipelines for sequencing the Human Genome. She currently orchestrates the GSC’s efforts to explore next generation sequencing technologies and to transition them into the Center’s production sequencing efforts.




RICK MYERS, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Richard M. Myers is currently the Chairman and the Stanford W. Ascherman Professor at the Department of Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine. Since 2005, he has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, an emerging non-profit research institute with close partnerships with biotechnology companies in Huntsville Alabama. He was offered and accepted the position of Director of HudsonAlpha, and has been actively involved in building the institute with its founder, Jim Hudson. He will take over the position of Director full time in July 2008.

Dr. Myers received his B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1977, and then attended graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1982. He then did his postdoctoral research at Harvard University, finishing in late 1985. In all three of these positions, Dr. Myers received training in the theory and practice of scientific research, specializing in understanding the molecular basis of fundamental processes of cells of living beings, such as how cells grow, respond to the environment, and make up a complete organism. It was during his postdoctoral work that he first became interested in an area of research called human genetics, a field in which basic discoveries were beginning to have immediate impact on disease and health in people.

In early 1986, he began his first position as a faculty member as an Assistant Professor at the University of California at San Francisco, and there, he devoted his entire research effort towards learning how to find the genetic causes of diseases that people get because they inherit them from their parents. This was at a time when scientists were first learning how to find disease genes and to use them to help understand, diagnose, and ultimately, develop therapies for disorders that were previously hard to treat. Because there were some early successes with new technologies to find these genes, the Human Genome Project was conceived and begun in 1990, and Dr. Myers’s laboratory was chosen as one of the first four genome centers to map and sequence the human genome.

In 1993, Dr. Myers moved his laboratory and genome center to the Department of Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine, an institution that had a long history in human genetics research and that had embraced the Human Genome Project at its inception. Dr. Myers was promoted to Full Professor in 1996, continued to be the Director of the Stanford Human Genome Center, and took the position as Chair of the Department of Genetics in 2002. He received an endowed chair, and is currently the Stanford W. Ascherman Professor at Stanford.

During the 15 years he has been at Stanford, Dr. Myers and his laboratory have been at the forefront of research and applications in human genetics and genomics. His lab contributed to the identification of several genes responsible for diseases in humans, including a gene responsible for a form of childhood epilepsy, a key gene involved in the development of the cerebellum in the brain, a gene responsible for in the most common form of skin cancer, genes involved in heart disease, and the gene that is mutated in hemochromatosis, a common disease in which cells become overloaded with iron. He is particularly interested in the role of genes in brain disorders and cancer, and has several ongoing projects to study Parkinson disease, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, and brain and other cancers. In several of these cases, identifying the genes has led to greatly improved diagnosis, allowing early detection and treatment, and in the case of the epilepsy gene, the DNA diagnosis allows physicians to choose the safest and most effective drug to treat this particular form of epilepsy.

In addition to his disease research, Dr. Myers laboratory was one of the first four genome centers established in 1990 at the initiation of the Human Genome Project, a gigantic international effort that ultimately including more than a thousand researchers. Dr. Myers’s genome center was responsible for determining the DNA sequence of three of the 23 human chromosomes, corresponding to more than 10% of our genetic makeup. In addition to sequencing, his genome center was responsible for performing a rigorous, independent quality control analysis of the remaining 90% of the sequence. Having the sequence of the human genome has had a major transformative effect on biomedical research, greatly accelerating basic discoveries while leading to many important health advances, including both diagnosis and treatment of disease. Equally important, the Human Genome Project spurred enormous technological innovations, so that it is becoming possible to understand humans and other organisms at an unprecedented and unimagined level of detail.

Supported by the U. S. Department of Energy, Dr. Myers’s group continues to do high-throughput DNA sequencing, contributing to the sequencing of the genomes for more than 40 organisms, most of which are of importance in global energy, agriculture and environmental problems. He was involved in the initial planning and execution stages of the HGP, and helped to establish the key principles and policy of rapid and free availability of data to all the world’s researchers. This policy and the large amount of DNA sequence that has emanated from all of the genome projects has had a major transformative effect on almost all biology research, providing biologists with massive amounts of high-quality sequence data for functional, biomedical and evolutionary biology analyses.

Another major interest of Dr. Myers’s laboratory is developing and using genomics tools to understand functions of human genes, particularly at the level of gene regulation. His laboratory has developed and applied high-throughput methods, including chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), mRNA expression profiling, transcriptional promoter and methylation measurements, and computational and statistical tools to study human biology. His group is part of the ENCODE Consortium, which has the goal of identifying and understanding all the functional elements in the human genome. With Dr. Barbara Wold and her laboratory at Caltech, the Myers lab developed ChIPSeq, a method that uses ultra-high throughput sequencing to identify comprehensively sites in the genome bound by transcription factors in living cells. His group also developed a similar approach, called MethylSeq, to measure the methylation status at almost every CpG island in the human genome. He collaborates with Dr. Wold’s lab not only as part of the ENCODE Project, but is also using these methods to study particular transcription factors and networks of factors to study interesting human biological problems.


Dr. Myers’s research contributions have resulted in more than 190 publications and have been recognized by a Searle Scholar Award (1987-1990), a Pritzker Foundation Award (2002), a Wills Foundation Award (1996-2003) and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Alabama (2005). He was on the editorial board of the journal Human Molecular Genetics from 1992-2000, the Board of Directors of the American Society of Human Genetics from 1997-2001, a member and chair of the Genome Research Review Committee, National Human Genome Research Institute from 1998-2002, a member and chair of the HapMap Advisory Committee from 2002-2006, a member of the Advisory Council for the NHGRI from 2003-2006, and as a contributor to numerous editorial, scientific society, and governmental review panels. He currently serves on more than a dozen groups, including serving as an editor of the journal Genome Research, a founding member of the Stanford Genetics/San Jose Tech Museum Science Education Partnership, and a member of the Coordinating Committee for Prioritization of Sequencing Targets for the NHGRI.

In addition to research, Dr. Myers is actively involved in teaching and service. He participates in a wide variety of teaching, educational outreach, and institutional and national service activities. He teaches several courses in genetics and genomics to undergraduate, medical and graduate students, and has a special interest in teaching science to non-science majors. He helped established a partnership between the Department of Genetics at Stanford and the San Jose Tech Museum (“Stanford at the Tech”, see http://genetics.stanford.edu/techmuseum/), which helps to develop scientific exhibits as well as providing a venue for training graduate students in the art of teaching to the public. In addition, he directs a variety of teaching activities for the local schools, from the primary level through the junior college level, as well as for a number of laygroups; these include lectures, organized tours of his genome center, laboratory exercises, and curriculum development. He is particularly interested in increasing and nurturing diversity in the scientific community, and is active in several programs involved with under-represented groups at the graduate school level and earlier. Many of these same activities have already been established as a key component of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.





LEENA PELTONEN , The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Leena Peltonen is the Head of Human Genetics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK, Research Director at the Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM, University of Helsinki and National Public Health Institute, Finland and is also a visiting Professor at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University Cambridge, MA. With over 400 publications, Dr. Peltonen is among leading molecular geneticists world-wide. She is one of the pioneers in the use of genetically isolated populations in the genetics-based identification of disease genes. She was the founding Chair of the Department of Human Genetics at UCLA in 1998-2002 and president of HUGO in 2005-2007. Dr. Peltonen has also served as a member of the UNESCO Bioethics Committee, and since 2006 she has been a Foreign Associate Member of the National Academies USA, Institute of Medicine (IOM). She is also a member of the international board of the European Research Council.




DAVID SCHWARTZ , University of Wisconsin - Madison


Professor David Schwartz, a Bronx native, has been working in the field of genomic analysis since 1975, when he was an undergraduate at Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts. During his senior year, he worked in a Harvard University laboratory using viscoelastic measurements to determine the sizes of a series of eukaryotic genomes. There, he conceived a radical approach for the electrophoretic separation of very large DNA molecules, which at the time was poorly received. After starting graduate school at University of California-San Diego, under the mentorship of Professor Bruno Zimm, he was able to further develop this concept. A transfer to Columbia University, under the mentorship of Professor Charles Cantor, enabled the creation of Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis, and a series of publications, which help to establish the basis for the recently completed Human Genome Initiative. Upon graduation from Columbia University (Dept. of Chemistry), Professor Schwartz became the first Staff Associate at The Carnegie Institution of Washington, Dept. of Embryology, who did not have prior post-doctoral experience. There he pioneered single molecule techniques to study DNA polymer dynamics during electrophoresis. In 1989, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at New York University, New York, and was later given an adjunct appointment in the Computer Science Department (Courant Institute for the Mathematical Sciences). At New York University, he developed the Optical Mapping System, which is the first practical single molecule approach for whole genome analysis. In 1999, Professor Schwartz, moved his laboratory to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was made a Full Professor in the departments of Genetics, Chemistry, and the UW Biotechnology Center. At UW, Professor Schwartz’s laboratory is developing new single molecule platforms for whole genome analysis, through the concerted understanding and exploitation of novel polymer effects within confined geometries. These new findings are embraced within an integrated high-throughput environment to address important biological questions regarding basic genomic structural, and functional issues in normal and cancer genomes, as well as addressing the need for the high-resolution analysis of populations to foster effective association studies.

Interviewed by Chris Gunter, Nature
KARI STEFANSSON, deCODE Genetics Inc.

Kári Stefánsson, M.D., Dr. Med. has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director since he co-founded deCODE genetics in August 1996. Dr. Stefánsson was appointed the Chairman of the Board of Directors of deCODE genetics in December 1999. From 1993 until April 1997, Dr. Stefánsson was a professor of Neurology, Neuropathology and Neuroscience at Harvard University. In addition, from 1993 through December 1996 he was Director of Neuropathology at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1983 to 1993, he held faculty positions in Neurology, Neuropathology and Neurosciences at the University of Chicago. Dr. Stefánsson received his M.D. and Dr. Med. from the University of Iceland and is board-certified in neurology and neuropathology in the United States. He has published numerous articles on the genetics of common/complex diseases.


Interviewed by Chris Gunter, Nature
DIETRICH STEPHAN , Navigenics Inc.

Dr. Dietrich Stephan
is a human geneticist who works to understand the root causes of common human diseases so that early diagnostics and interventions can be implemented. Dr. Stephan most recently was the deputy director of discovery research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute and still holds a faculty appointment there. Dr. Stephan has identified genes that predispose to disorders such as autism, exercise-induced heart attacks and sudden infant death syndrome, and contributed to understanding a multitude of common "complex genetic" disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Stephan is chairman of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Neuroscience Microarray Consortium, and has previously held faculty appointments at Johns Hopkins University, the National Human Genome Research Institute of the NIH, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, George Washington University and the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Stephan has published extensively in journals such as Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Genetics and the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Stephan received his B.S. at Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, and trained as a fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the NIH.



HILLARY SUSSMAN , Genome Research, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory



Hillary Sussman received a PhD in Human Genetic Toxicology from the University at Albany in 2002. Until 2004, she worked as a freelance science writer on Long Island in New York, writing for magazines such as The Scientist and Drug Discovery Today. Since then, Dr. Sussman has been Executive Editor of Genome Research, a journal that publishes advances in genome biology and genomic medicine. As a primary research journal, Genome Research ranks fourth among all genetics publications and is among the top ten most highly cited research journals in biochemistry and molecular biology. Dr. Sussman is also the Editor of the book, Genomes, published in 2006 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Interviewed by Chris Gunter, Nature
GEORGE WEINSTOCK , Washington University School of Medicine
George Weinstock, Ph.D. joined The Genome Center at Washington University in 2008 where he is Associate Director and Professor of Genetics. Previously, he was involved in building one of three NIH-funded large-scale Genome Centers (Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center, HGSC) and subsequent sequencing of the Human Genome. He was a leader in other HGSC genome projects: the rat, mouse, cow, macaque, marmoset, orangutan, dolphin, wallaby, sea urchin, honey bee, beetle, wasp, acorn worm, Drosophila melanogaster and pseudoobscura, Dictyostelium discoideum, Ascosphaera apis, and Acanthamoeba among others. In addition he continued to sequence bacterial genomes of interest in infectious diseases and evolutionary studies including Treponema pallidum (syphilis) and the periodontal pathogens Fusobacterium nucleatum and Treponema denticola. Most recently he has worked on studying the human microbiome: the collection of microbes that colonize the human body. The goal of this work is to analyze the genomes of these organisms, characterize the communities that they form, and measure how these change with different health and disease states. Dr. Weinstock received a B.S. from the Univ. Michigan (Biophysics, 1970), a Ph.D. from MIT (Microbiology, 1977) and did his postdoctoral research at Stanford Univ. Medical School (Biochemistry Department). In 1980, he joined the NCI-Frederick Cancer Research Facility and established the DNA Metabolism Section, Laboratory of Recombinant DNA. In 1984, he moved to The Univ. Texas-Houston Health Science Center (Dept. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1984-95; Dept. Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, 1995-2001). In 1998, he joined the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center as Co-Director and became a tenured Professor in the Molecular and Human Genetics Department in 2001.




Stem Cell Chats (2008) Meetings & Courses Home

 

 

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