Julie Allickson, PhD, is the Michael S. and Mary Sue Shannon director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Otto Bremer Trust director, Biomanufacturing and Product Development, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Associate Professor of Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Allickson joined Mayo Clinic from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, where she was the chief manufacturing development center officer. Dr. Allickson is leading the next phase of development of the Center for Regenerative Medicine as it delivers on innovations that Cure, Connect and Transform patient care in alignment with Mayo Clinic’s 2030 vision. She directs the enterprise-wide biomanufacturing strategy that aspires to introduce new regenerative therapeutics into the practice and establish Mayo Clinic as a category of one in regenerative medicine for rare and complex conditions. Dr. Allickson provides strategic leadership for all center activities and operations across Mayo Clinic. The Center for Regenerative Medicine has over 200 clinical trials and projects underway and has filed more than 150 regenerative patents. The center performs over 100,000 regenerative procedures annually. With more than 25 years of experience in clinical translation of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine products, Dr. Allickson has expertise in business management, regulatory affairs, strategic planning, project management and team-building. She has served as an executive officer of a publicly traded company that builds services for cellular banking, including licensure of technology with international affiliates.
Jack Ballantyne, PhD, is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and an Associate Director of the National Center for Forensic Science in Orlando, Florida. He possesses a B.Sc. (with Honors) in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, a M.Sc. in Forensic Science from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland and a PhD in Genetics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY. His current duties include teaching and conducting research in forensic molecular genetics. Prior to entering academia, he was a casework forensic scientist in Scotland, Hong Kong and New York where he proffered expert testimony in the criminal courts of these jurisdictions. He was the full time DNA technical leader in Suffolk County, New York and then served as a part-time consultant DNA technical leader for the States of Mississippi and Delaware, the City of Dallas and Sedgwick County, Kansas. He served as the the Chair of the New York State DNA Sub-committee, is a regular visiting guest at the FBI’s Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) and was a member of the NIST Mixture Resource Committee and the Y-STR Interpretation Commission of the International Society of Forensic Genetics. His research interests can be classified as “getting blood from a stone: more and more probative information from less and less genetic material”. Specifically, his current projects include the efficient use of Y chromosome markers for sexual assault investigations, RNA profiling and genotyping for body fluid and tissue identification and association with a DNA profile, and single-cell/low copy number analysis including DNA mixture deconvolution.
Veronique Belzil PhD, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from McGill University, Canada, in 2003, and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Walden University, USA, in 2007. She then received her graduate training in the laboratory of Dr. Guy A. Rouleau—one of the foremost leaders in human medical genetics and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research—and received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Montreal, Canada, in 2012. After graduating, Dr. Belzil started her postdoctoral research training at the Mayo Clinic in Florida under the supervision of Leonard Petrucelli, a world leader in neurodegeneration research, where she initiated and developed the genetic/epigenetic program she is now independently leading. Her laboratory has the mission of developing patient-centered approaches to treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related dementias (ADRDs), including the most common ADRD, frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Her group uses human biospecimens to systematically identify disease-specific variants in biofluids, bulk tissues, sorted cell populations, and at single-cell resolution.
Moritz Binder M.D., M.P.H, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Mayo Clinic’s Division of Hematology and Assistant Director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine Epigenomics Program. His work involves the integration and analysis of (single-cell) multi-omics data generated from cancer transcriptomes, genomes, and epigenomes. His focus in computational biology includes the application of different modeling strategies such as statistical learning approaches to improve therapeutic target discovery, early disease detection, and risk stratification in hematologic malignancies.
Johannes Brachmann, M.D., PhD, graduated in 1979 at Medical School, University of Heidelberg in Germany. Dr Brachmann in 1980 received a research fellowship of the DFG (German Research Foundatio) at the University of Oklahoma, USA where he studied on arrhythmia mechanisms in myocardial infarction and proarrhythmia in collaboration with Prof. Ralph Lazzara and Prof. Benjamin Scherlag. From 1981 to 1988 he did his residency and fellowship in cardiology at the Department of cardiology at University of Heidelberg. Since 1985, he has been active participant and principal investigator of more than 50 clinical studies mostly in the area of cardiac electrophysiology (antiarrhythmics, ICD, PM) and interventional cardiology (stents, atherectomy). Since 1998, he is working as Chief of Cardiology in Klinikum Coburg in Germany and from 2003 as Professor of Medicine at University of Würzburg. Furthermore, from 2016, Dr Johannes Brachmann is a Director of REGIOMED Centrum for Cardiology and Angiology and Leader of the Medical Boards REGIOMED-KLINIKEN and Chief physician II at Clinic cardiology, angiology, pneumology and also works as full professor at University of Split. He published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters, published abstracts, editorships. He is member of various leadership positions and committees of the German cardiac society, European society of cardiology, and Heart Rhythm Society.
Joachim Burger PhD, is Professor of Anthropology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and heads the “Palaeogenetics Group” (https://palaeogenetics-mainz.de). Burger is a pioneer in the field of prehistoric human population genetics. Burger’s team demonstrated that the first farmers were not the descendants of the hunter-gatherer population that previously lived in Europe (Bramanti et al. 2009). His team established ancient Aegeans as a robust genomic proxy for the ancestors of early European farmers (Hofmanová et al. 2016). In the same year, his team published the first Neolithic genome from the Near East providing evidence that the earliest agriculturists of Iran were not direct ancestors of Neolithic humans of Anatolia and Europe. In 2022, he and Swiss colleagues presented a demographic model for the origins of the Neolithic humans in Anatolia and Europe, showing that the earliest Neolithic people only emerged through the mixing of different Ice Age forager groups. In addition to his work on human demography, Burger has also conducted pioneering research on episodes of Darwinian selection in prehistoric humans (Burger et al. 2020) and on animal domestication during the Neolithic period in the Near East and Europe.
Angel Carracedo, M.D., PhD, is a Professor of Legal Medicine (University of Santiago de Compostela), Director of the Galician Foundation of Genomic Medicine (Galician Service of Health), Director of the Genomics and System Biology Group (CIMUS and IDIS), Director of the Genomic Medicine Group (USC), Director of Translational Medicine group and member board of CIBERER (Network Center for Rare disease research). President of Kaertor Foundation, President of INGADA Foundation, Ex-director of the Institute of Forensic Science, Past-President of the International Society for Forensic Genetics and the President of the International Academy of Legal Medicine. His group leads scientific production in the SCI area of legal and forensic science worldwide (http://sciencewatch.com/ana/fea/11julaugFea). Director of the Institute of Legal Medicine (USC) from 1995 to 2015. From 2002 he has been working also in the clinical genetics area where he has set up the Galician Foundation of Genomic Medicine (current director). This center is carrying out most of the molecular genetics and cytogenetic analysis requested by the Galician system of Health, covering a population of 3.5 million inhabitants and being one of the most important public genetic services in Spain. Most of AC recent research is now mainly concentrated in the genetics of mendelian and complex traits and personalized medicine and he is coordinating the IMPACT-Genomics project (the Spanish National Initiative for personalized medicine) and the mirror group of the 1+M Genome Initiative and he has participated in more than 20 international projects (coordinating 7 of them. AC has published 8 books and more than 800 papers in SCI journals (HI 100, and around 50,000 cites). Former president of different scientific societies on Cancer, Pharmacogenomics and Forensic Science. Current president of the International Academy of Legal Medicine. Member of the Forensic advisory board of the ICRC and the International Criminal Court.
John “Al” Copland M.D., PhD, is Professor of Cancer Biology in the Department of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Dr. Copland received his Ph.D. in Physiology and Endocrinology from the Medical College of Georgia. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and became a faculty member in the Endocrine Division of Internal Medicine Department at UTMB. He was recruited to Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville FL in 2003 as one of the founding members of the Cancer Biology Department. His research interests revolve around discovery of novel cancer genes and signaling pathways involved in cancer tumorigenesis and progression using genomic and functional genomic technologies that interrogate patient tumor tissues and preclinical models. The Copland lab has developed over 80 patient tumor-derived cell lines and 120 patient derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models.2, 3 PDX models are highly predictive of patient response to therapy and a gold standard to date for testing novel therapies. The major goal is to understand the genetic and molecular underpinnings of the biology of cancer in order to develop targeted lifesaving therapies. Additionally, Dr. Copland is a member of the Developmental Therapeutics Group in the NCI Designated Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. In collaboration with Dr. Tamas Ordog, he has been working towards an understanding of an intriguing discovery related to FOXO3, acting as an oncogenic transcriptional factor (TF) in anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), the deadliest of cancers.5 FOXO3 is well-known for its tumor suppressor activity in regulating genes that antagonize tumor growth and survival.
Julie M. Cunningham, PhD, was born in England, moving to Australia after first grade. Since 2004 she is a collaborative scientist and a director of the Genomic Analysis Core facility at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA. A fascinating job really, while pursuing her research interests of genomic aspects of cancer, as a core lab director she works with a wide variety of investigators whose disciplines further her knowledge, surely a good thing for a scientist.
Henry Erlich, PhD, is currently Emeritus at the Benioff UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. His laboratory has been involved for over 35 years in the development and application of molecular genetic technology such as PCR and DNA-based HLA typing for the analysis of infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases. He has also focused on the development of diagnostic tests for monogenic disease as well as the application of PCR in forensics genetics, performing the first forensic DNA case in the US in 1986 (Penn. Vs. Pestinikas) and the first post-conviction review. His lab has applied HLA NGS systems to the analysis of cell free DNA in plasma for detecting donor DNA in recipient plasma for early detection of graft rejection. The lab has applied probe capture and NGS to analyze forensics mixtures with mitochondrial DNA, SNP, and STR markers and for analyzing fetal DNA in the maternal plasma for developing a non-invasive prenatal test for the hemoglobinopathies.
William A. Faubion, M.D., PhD, is Professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Immunology at Mayo Clinic. He has served as Chairs for Research of the Division of Gastroenterology and the Dept of Medicine prior to his most recent role as the Associate Medical Director of the Center of Regenerative Medicine. His interests are mucosal immunology and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Mark A. Frye, M.D., PhD, is a Consultant in the Department of Psychiatry & Psychology at Mayo Clinic. He is the past Chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Psychology (2010-2020) and is recognized with the distinction of the Stephen and Shelley Jackson Family Professorship in Individualized Medicine. Dr. Frye received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota and completed his psychiatric training at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He subsequently completed a fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland with a research focus on the neurobiology of treatment resistant depression and bipolar disorder. Dr. Frye’s current research centers on biomarkers of mood disorders and alcoholism complementing his international clinical expertise in mood disorders and addiction. Dr. Frye and his team established the Mayo Clinic Individualized Medicine Biobank for Bipolar Disorder to identify the underpinning mechanisms of bipolar disorder through genomic studies. An active clinical investigator, he has received research support from NIMH, NIAAA, Mayo Foundation, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and industry partners, and has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Frye is the President of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), a network of 23 academic centers of excellence collaborating in clinical innovation, research, and education, and the Scientific Advisory Board Vice-Chair of the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a leading national organization mission driven to improve the lives of people who live with mood disorders.
Alexandre Gaspar Maia, PhD, leads Mayo Clinic’s Functional Epigenomics Laboratory, where he combines advanced sequencing techniques to profile the epigenomic landscape at a single-cell level, mostly focusing on enhancer elements, or enhancers. Dr. Maia has worked extensively in epigenetic regulation of stem cells, cellular reprogramming and cancer, and is now particularly interested in using epigenomic profiling of enhancer elements to identify biomarkers of sensitivity to poly (ADP ribose) polymerase (PARP)-inhibitors in the context of ovarian and breast cancers. Dr. Maia’s long-term goal is to understand how enhancers drive resistance to drug treatment in cancer and to dissect the mechanisms by which those enhancers are activated and silenced during cancer transformation. The identification of biomarkers for drug resistance to determine which patients will be responsive to which treatments will be a great step forward in cancer treatment. Dr. Maia aims to develop the technology to detect such biomarkers using liquid biopsy, which will greatly increase applications in the clinical setting.
Struan F. A. Grant, PhD, has been conducting human genomics research for over 20 years. The highlights of my career are the discovery of the polymorphic Sp1 site in the COL1A1 gene and its association with osteoporosis, the identification of variation in the TCF7L2 gene playing a key role in conferring type 2 diabetes risk and providing leadership in an international genetics effort to characterize genes influencing birth weight and common childhood obesity risk. I have also previously played a role in uncovering genes involved in other traits, including cleft lip with or without palate, scoliosis, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, ADHD, head circumference, intracranial volume, myocardial infarction, pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis, type 1 diabetes, asthma, multiple sclerosis and neuroblastoma. As a Director of the Center for Spatial and Functional Genomics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, my current work primarily involves investigating disease genomics with a specific focus on pediatrics. Utilizing high-throughput genotyping and sequencing technologies, combined with statistical and bioinformatic approaches, my goals include unraveling genomic puzzles related to childhood obesity, pediatric bone strength determination, early onset diabetes and cancer.
After graduating on ‘Ancient DNA from Europe’s first farmers’ in 2006, Wolfgang Haak PhD, spent his Postdoc years working on National Geographic’s ‘The Genographic Project’ (2007-2011) and as ‘Ancient human DNA’ Group leader at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA in Adelaide, Australia (2010-2015). Since 2015 he is leading the ‘Molecular Anthropology’ group at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. His work is positioned at the interface of human populations genetics, archaeology, anthropology, medical sciences, and linguistics. The main aim of his group is to investigate and evaluate ancient human genome-wide data in the light of contextual information from neighboring disciplines, such as archaeology and anthropology, in order to generate a detailed and comprehensive portrait of human prehistory over the last 20,000 years. The project portfolio ranges from global outlooks on population affinities, past migrations and demography to intra-group relationships and kinship-reconstruction, and also encompasses the interaction with, and response to, changing environmental factors, such as climate, diet and diseases.
Mateja Hajdinjak, PhD, is a molecular biologist using ancient DNA to study human evolutionary history. She completed her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, under supervision of Dr. Matthias Meyer and Prof. Svante Pääbo, recovering and analysing genome-wide data and piecing together population history of some of the last Neandertals and earliest modern humans in Eurasia. She is currently a Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellow at the Francis Crick Institute in London, United Kingdom, where she is continuing her work on human evolutionary genomics and tracing origins of modern human ancestry using ancient DNA, with a special focus on ancient hunter gatherer groups in Africa and west Eurasia.
Mitchell Holland, PhD, is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and has served as an associate professorial lecturer and adjunct faculty member at various colleges and universities. Dr. Holland has been on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences and a member of the Advisory Board of the International Journal of Legal Medicine. Prior to being asked in early 2005 to help develop the Forensic Science Program at Penn State, Dr. Holland was the Senior Vice President of Operations and Laboratory Director of The Bode Technology Group. At Bode, Dr. Holland led the efforts to produce DNA profiles from victim remains recovered from Ground Zero (World Trade Centers) following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. His group is currently leveraging the power of massively parallel sequencing (MPS) to measure rates of mtDNA heteroplasmy in different population groups; evaluate the transmission of heteroplasmic variants between maternal relatives and tissue types; assess the impact of damage on the interpretation of low-level heteroplasmic variants; and develop best practices for the application of MPS approaches in forensic casework. In addition, members of Dr. Holland’s group are exploring ways to extract small fragments of DNA from highly degraded skeletal material for STR and SNP analysis on an MPS platform.
Haojie Huang, PhD, is the Gordon H. and Violet Bartels Professor of Cellular Biology and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Urology at Mayo Clinic. He is also the Director for Urology Basic Sciences Research and the Associate Director of the Epigenomics Program at the Center for Individualized Medicine (CIM) at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Huang’s research has been focusing on genetic alteration, transcription regulation, epigenetic reprogramming, cell lineage plasticity, and therapy resistance in cancers, especially in prostate cancer. Dr. Huang have published over 140 peer-reviewed papers, some of which are in high profile journals such as Science, Nature Medicine, Cancer Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Molecular Cell, etc. Currently, Dr. Huang is the President of the Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR) and serves on the Editorial Board of the AACR flag journal Cancer Research and as an Associate Editor for Cancer Research Communications and an Editorial Advisor for Asian Journal of Urology.
Jodi Irwin joined the FBI Laboratory as a Research Scientist in 2012. She supports the lab’s DNA testing operations by developing and validating methods for near-term implementation into forensic casework. Her focus is primarily on optimizing and streamlining mitochondrial DNA workflows and developing methods to advance the FBI Laboratory’s NGS initiatives. Prior to joining the FBI, she spent 14 years at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory where she developed software applications for database searching and kinship statistics and explored novel technologies to expand the AFDIL’s DNA testing capabilities. Her early career was spent in a number of academic laboratories focused on evolutionary genetics. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s from San Francisco State University and a doctorate from the University of Innsbruck.
Mattias Jakobsson, PhD, has a broad interest in population genetics and human evolution. His lab uses computational approaches for deciphering complex patterns of large-scale human genomic variation from both modern-day and ancient humans in order to understand human evolutionary history. The lab focus on interrogating long-standing questions in human evolution, including the colonization and migration in Stone Age Eurasia and the population history of sub-Saharan Africans.
Steven A. Johnsen, PhD, is the Scientific Director of the Robert Bosch Center for Tumor Diseases in Stuttgart, Germany. Before assuming this position in February 2022, he was a Full Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic. He also previous held faculty positions at the University of Göttingen and the University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf. Dr. Johnsen’s group studies the molecular epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms controlling cell fate determination and adaptive resistance.
Purna Kashyap, M.D., PhD, is Professor of Medicine and Physiology, Co- Director of the Microbiome and High-Definition Therapeutics program in the Center for Individualized Medicine and Director of the germ-free mouse facility at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. The Gut Microbiome laboratory led by Dr. Kashyap is interested in understanding the complex interactions between diet, gut microbiome and host physiology and strives to move the field beyond associations of microbiome with different diseases to defining the functional role of gut microbes in regulating host physiology. The overall goal of the program is to develop novel microbiota-targeted therapeutic agents such as genetically engineered microbes that will restore altered microbial functions in diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. His research is driven primarily by his clinical practice which is focused on patients with gastrointestinal motility disorders. Dr. Kashyap has published over 80 peer reviewed articles including journals like Cell, Cell Host Microbe, Science Translational Medicine, Nature Communications, and Gastroenterology. He was inducted to American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2021. He has previously served on the scientific advisory board of American Gastroenterology Association Gut Microbiome Center, and on the council of American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society. He now serves on the council and the research committee of American Gastroenterology Association, in editorial roles for Gut Microbes and Neurogastroenterology and Motility journal and as an ad-hoc reviewer on NIH study sections.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union in 1963, Garry Kasparov came to international fame at the age of 22 as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985. Kasparov’s famous matches against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996-97 were key to bringing artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream. They also sparked his interest in AI and the human relationship with our increasingly intelligent machines. He retired from professional chess in 2005 to form the pro-democracy opposition in Russia. In 2012, Kasparov was named chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. In 2016, he was named a Security Ambassador by Avast Software, where he discusses cybersecurity and the digital future, and to the executive board of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics. In 2017, he founded the Renew Democracy Initiative, dedicated to advocating the principles of the free world. The US-based Kasparov Chess Foundation non-profit promotes the teaching of chess in education systems around the world. Since 1990, Kasparov has been a regular contributor to many major publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, and The New York Daily News. He speaks frequently to business audiences around the world on strategy, decision-making, politics, and artificial intelligence. Kasparov’s book How Life Imitates Chess on strategy and decision-making is available in over 20 languages. His prescient book, Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, was released in 2015. His latest book on artificial intelligence and the human-machine relationship is Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins (2017).
Adrijana Kekic, PhD, PharmD, BCACP (Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist), is a Pharmacogenomics Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Assistant Program Director (APD) for Community-Based Pharmacy Residency, and APD for Outpatient Pharmacy Education at Mayo Clinic in Arizona (MCA). As a pharmacogenomics clinician, researcher, and educator she leads implementation of pharmacogenomics services across the Mayo Clinic. She is the current Secretary for Pharmacogenomics (PGx) Task Force and Co-chair for Pharmacy Research Council. Her research work includes pharmacogenomics studies in anesthesia, transplant, oncology, palliative care, cardiology, and large-scale whole exome sequencing study for pre-emptive medication monitoring. Currently pursuing Master of Healthcare Innovation degree with focus on precision medicine, Dr.Kekic is especially interested in developing multiomics clinical decision platforms, digital tools for greater health equality, and building interactive platforms for science communication. She lectures extensively on pharmacogenomics with niche in psychopharmacology. With almost two decades of pharmacy leadership and clinical expertise in individualized medication therapy management, Adrijana continues to advance pharmacy practice at the intersect of precision medicine and digital health. She is a founder of a networking platform dedicated to high impact professional women in healthcare
Manolis Kellis, PhD, is a Professor of Computer Science at MIT, an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, and head of the MIT Computational Biology Group (compbio.mit.edu). His research spans an unusually broad spectrum of areas, including disease genetics, epigenomics, gene circuitry, non-coding RNAs, comparative genomics, and phylogenetics. He has helped direct several large-scale genomics projects, including the Roadmap Epigenomics project, the ENCODE project, the Roadmap Epigenomics Project, the Genotype Tissue-Expression (GTEx) project, and comparative genomics projects in mammals, flies, and yeast. He received the US Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) by US President Barack Obama, the NSF CAREER award, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Technology Review TR35 recognition, the AIT Niki Award, and the Sprowls award for the best Ph.D. thesis in computer science at MIT. He has authored more than 150 journal publications, which have been cited more than 47,000 times. He lived in Greece and France before moving to the US, and he studied and conducted research at MIT, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and the Cold Spring Harbor Lab
Janet Kelso, PhD, leads the Bioinformatics research group at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Her research focusses on the analysis of ancient genomes, particularly the genomes of archaic humans. In particular, her group is interested in the development of novel computational approaches for the analysis of ancient DNA, and in using these approaches to gain insights into genome evolution. Janet received her PhD in bioinformatics from the South African National Bioinformatics Institute at the University of the Western Cape under the supervision of Professor Winston Hide. She is the co-Editor-in-chief of the journal Bioinformatics together with Alfonso Valencia, as well as an Executive Editor of the journal Database. For many years Janet has been an active member of the Board of the International Society of Computational Biology, and she was named a Fellow of the Society in 2015.
Johannes Krause, PhD, earned his Ph.D. in Genetics at Leipzig University. He was appointed junior professor for Paleogenetics at the University of Tübingen in 2010, and subsequently full professor for Archaeo- and Paleogenetics at the same university in 2013. In 2014, he became founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, heading the Department of Archaeogenetics. In 2018 he became full professor at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. He is one of the founding directors of the Max Planck-Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean (MHAAM), established in 2017. In 2020 he was reappointed to the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and his department moved to Leipzig. Prof. Dr. Krause focuses on the analysis of ancient DNA to investigate such topics as pathogens from historic and prehistoric epidemics, human genetic history and human evolution. He contributed substantially to deciphering the Neanderthal genome and the shared genetic heritage of Neanderthals and modern humans. In 2010, while working at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, he discovered the first genetic evidence of the Denisovans, an extinct hominin discovered in Siberia. His recent work includes revealing the genetic heritage of ancient Egyptians, reconstructing the first Pleistocene African genomes, uncovering the source of the epidemic plague bacteria that periodically caused historic and prehistoric epidemics in Europe, or clarifying the complex history of Europe’s prehistoric mass migrations.
Greger Larson, PhD, received his bachelor’s degree in 1996 from Claremont McKenna College, a small liberal arts college in California. He read just about everything Stephen J Gould ever wrote over the following three years while he wandered the deserts of Turkmenistan and worked for an environmental consultancy in Azerbaijan. Deciding that evolution was cooler than oil, Greger studied at Oxford and the University of Colorado before receiving his PhD in Zoology in 2006. He then spent two years in Uppsala, Sweden on an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship before starting a job in the department of archaeology at Durham University. Greger then moved to Oxford University to become the Director of the Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network Greger where he is continuing his focus on the use of ancient DNA to study the pattern and process of domestication. He rarely wonders what his salary would be had he stuck to oil.
Gordan Lauc, PhD, is the Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Zagreb, Director of the National Centre of Scientific Excellence in Personalised Healthcare, and founder and CEO of Genos Glycoscience Research Laboratory. He is also honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh and the Kings College London, member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and co-Director of the Human Glycome Project. His research team is pioneering high throughput glycomic analysis and the application of glycan biomarkers in the field of precision medicine. By combining glycomic data with extensive genetic, epigenetic, biochemical and physiological data in a systems biology approach they are trying to
understand the role of glycans in normal physiology and disease. Professor Lauc co-authoredover 200 research articles that are cited over 3,500 times. He participated in two NIH, two FP6, seven FP7, six H2020, and two ESI Funds projects and coordinated three of them. In 2007 he founded Genos, a biotech company that is currently global leader in high-throughput glycomics.
Konstantinos N. Lazaridis, M.D., serves as the Carlson and Nelson Endowed Executive Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. Dr. Lazaridis is a Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and a Consultant in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic, with a joint appointment in the Department of Clinical Genomics. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 2000. He received his medical degree at the University of Ioannina in Greece. He completed his internal medicine and gastroenterology fellowship training at Mayo Clinic and was a Mayo Foundation Scholar in Genomics in the laboratory of Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Lazaridis is considered an international leader in the area of chronic cholestatic liver diseases, namely, primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cholangitis. Since 2003, he has established and is the principal investigator of the two NIH funded, national consortia for studying patients afflicted with these diseases. His research group applies the latest genomic and exposomic approaches to better understand the pathogenesis and outcomes of patients with chronic cholestatic liver diseases as well as improve their therapy. He was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2015.
Zhenkun Lou, PhD, is a Professor of Pharmacology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Rochester, MN, co-leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Rochester, MN and a consultant at the Division of Oncology Research, Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN Professor of Pharmacology, MN. Since 2022 he is also the chair of the Division of Oncology Research. His lab focuses on signaling pathways that are activated by DNA damage-inducing radiation and chemotherapy DNA damage activates a signaling cascade called the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway that initiates DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoint activation. Understanding this pathway will elucidate the cause of genomic instability, a driving force of tumorigenesis. Several genetic syndromes have also been linked to mutations of genes in this pathway, such as ATM mutation in Ataxia-Telangiectasia (AT) syndrome. My lab has been studying the DNA repair pathway for 20 years and have made unique contributions to the field.
Weibo Luo, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) since December 2014. He received his Ph.D. summa cum laude from the University of Magdeburg, Germany in 2007, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship and instructorship with 2019 Nobel Laureate Dr. Gregg Semenza at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before joining UTSW. Dr. Luo studies oxygen homeostasis in tumor growth and metastasis at the molecular and cellular levels, with a particular focus on the master regulators of oxygen homeostasis named hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). He utilizes the multidisciplinary approaches to study crosstalk of HIF, epigenetics, and metabolism and their roles in tumor growth and metastasis. His overall goals are to identify the novel hypoxia-dependent therapeutic vulnerabilities and ultimately to translate knowledge to cancer therapy.
Tomislav Maricic, PhD, is a staff scientist in the genetics department of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. He was involved in developing methods for the generation of the first Neandertal genome sequence. Using the Neandertal genome scientists were able to define all positions in the human genome where all modern humans are different from Neandertals and apes. Those positions could be called a genetic recipe for being a modern human, and their function is largely unknown. Tomislav is interested in characterizing those positions and to achieve that, he introduces Neandertal mutations in human pluripotent stem cells using CRISPR editing.
Ulrika Marklund, PhD, is a principal investigator at the Department for Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Her research is focused on neural cell diversity in the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Ulrika gained her Master Degree in Molecular Biology from Umeå University in 2002, and then moved to Stockholm for the PhD work at Karolinska Institutet. Her thesis focused on the molecular control of cell identity and neurogenesis in the developing central nervous system, with most noticeable achievements on dopamine neuron specification. She thereafter switched field to the peripheral nervous system and gained expertise in ENS development as a postdoctoral fellow (2009/2010) in the lab of Prof. Pachnis at National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK. Ulrika established an independent team at Karolinska Institutet in 2013, and has since then used transcriptome techniques (single cell RNA-sequencing, microarrays) to classify enteric neural subtypes and determine developmental principles for their diversification. She has recently broadened the scope of research to enteric neural networks and their role in gut disorders. An ultimate goal is to recapitulate cell fate determination and circuit formation in the purpose of disease modeling and cell-based therapy of GI neuropathology.
Charla Marshall, PhD, is Chief of the Emerging Technologies Section at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System’s Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFMES-AFDIL). She is a molecular anthropologist by training and has a background in ancient DNA. Dr. Marshall’s group develops and validates new MPS/NGS methods to improve DNA-assisted identification of missing US service members. Current efforts are focused on SNP-based extended kinship analyses and mitochondrial genome sequencing, both for degraded DNA and reference quality samples. Other active areas of research are DNA extraction and library preparation for improved DNA recovery. Aside from her work at the AFMES-AFDIL, Dr. Marshall is a member of the FBI’s SWGDAM NGS Committee, an editorial board member of FSI:Genetics, and an adjunct professor at the Pennsylvania State University.
Aleksey Matveyenko, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering and Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester Minnesota, USA. Dr. Matveyenko completed his doctoral studies at the University of Southern California, (USC), followed by postdoctoral fellowship in islet biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA). He subsequently served on faculty at UCLA followed by transition to Mayo Clinic. The work in Matveyenko laboratory has long been focused on identifying molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying loss of pancreatic beta cell function and mass in diabetes, with an emphasis on gene environment interactions. Specifically, recent research focus is on the role of circadian clocks and circadian system as novel regulators of beta-cell secretory function, survival and regeneration. To accomplish these research goals the laboratory uses an integrative approach ranging from cellular, molecular, and biochemical studies to in vivo physiological models.
Ian Maze, PhD, completed his B.S. in Microbiology at The Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Eric Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. He then completed his Postdoctoral Studies at the Rockefeller University under the mentorship of Dr. C. David Allis, Ph.D. before joining the faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) as a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics in 2014. Dr. Maze is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacological Sciences at the ISMMS and is Director of Mount Sinai’s Center for Neural Epigenome Engineering. Dr. Maze’s research program is focused on investigations of chromatin regulatory mechanisms controlling neurodevelopment and disease, with an extended focus on novel roles for monoamine neurotransmitters in the direct regulation of gene expression and synaptic signaling in brain
Mait Metspalu, PhD, studied geography and molecular biology and evolution at the University of Tartu where he also defended his PhD on phylogeography of human mtDNA in South Asia in 2006. In 2012-2013 Mait was a visiting research fellow in UC Berkeley. His research concentrates on using and developing population genetics approaches to understand the genesis of the genetic diversity patterns of humans through reconstructions of past population movements, splits and admixtures as well as adaptations to local environments (both natural and manmade). During the few past years Mait has also started a dedicated ancient DNA program aiming mostly at reconstructing population changes in the East European Plain since the Paleolithic. He became the vice-director (2010) and subsequently the director (2014) of the Estonian Biocentre, the leading research institute in Estonia in the interdisciplinary and interconnected fields of evolutionary genomics, population genetics and archaeogenetics. In 2018 EBC merged with Estonian Genome Center, which houses the population based Estonian Biobank containing genetic and health data for a cohort of 200 000. Mait became the director of the new Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu in 2018. As the head of IGUT Mait is involved in facilitating the transfer of knowledge of genetic risks for diseases into the medical system in Estonia.
Matthias Meyer, PhD, is a biochemist, head of the ‘Advanced DNA sequencing techniques’ group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and co-head of the Ancient DNA Core Unit. His research mainly focuses on the development of methods that improve the recovery of trace amounts of DNA from ancient biological material and their application to questions surrounding human evolution and prehistory. Methods developed in his group have led to the reconstruction of the first high-quality genome from ancient DNA, which was retrieved from the finger bone of a Denisovan individual, a member of an extinct archaic human group. They also enabled the recovery of DNA sequences from the ~430,000 year-old Sima de los Huesos hominins, the oldest human DNA sequences known to date, and the isolation of trace amounts of ancient human DNA from cave sediments. His methods have also found applications in biomedical research, for example in the analysis of DNA from formalin-fixed biopsy samples or cell-free DNA.
Eva Morava-Kozicz, M.D., PhD, did her specialty trainings in Europe and also in the US, as pediatrician, geneticist and metabolic specialist. Her major clinical expertise is inborn errors of metabolism (IEM). She has decades of experience in the diagnostics, follow-up and treatment in IEM, especially in congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG) and mitochondrial disorders. She is on the Minnesota newborn screening committee. She is council member of the Society for the Study on Inborn Errors of Metabolism (SSIEM). She is actively involved in developing novel therapies in genetic disorders. Currently she focusses on clinical trials in IEM. She is also the main PI of the U54 FCDGC consortium studying congenital disorders of glycosylation. CDG consists of more than 140 different genetic disorders, some of these counting only 4-10 patients in the world. A strong patient association, committed clinicians and a devoted group of scientists have formed the FCDGC consortium to improve patient outcomes. On this foundation, Dr Morava and her team established a nationwide network of regional centers to develop treatment in these individually ultra-rare conditions, and meet currently unmet patient needs. FCDGC’s mission is to improve clinical symptoms as well as improve quality of life and life expectancy of individuals with congenital disorders of glycosylation through advancing and sharing knowledge, developing and validating new diagnostic tools, and develop therapies to restore appropriate glycosylation.
Connie Mulligan, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and faculty member of the Genetics Institute at the University of Florida. She is interested in understanding the genetic and psychosocial factors that influence response to stress, and is particularly focused on stress-associated epigenetic changes that may appear future generations. Specifically, Dr. Mulligan and her team investigate how stress or trauma that is experienced during pregnancy may associate with epigenetic changes in the mother and future offspring. She has two ongoing projects: 1) new mothers and their infants in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 2) three-generation refugee families from Syria with different war exposures.
Eskeatnaf Mulugeta, BPharm, PhD, is an assistant professor at Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam (Erasmus MC) in The Netherlands. He has a multi-disciplinary educational background with a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy, followed by 3 Master’s degrees in Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, and Molecular Medicine. He performed his PhD research at Erasmus MC in the lab of Prof. Dr. Joost Gribnau, where he investigated the evolution of mammalian sex chromosomes (X&Y) during evolution and development. He then moved to the Institute Curie (Paris, France) for his post-doctoral research (with Prof. Edith Heard) where he focused on cancer genomics and epigenomics, and also adapted Naked mole rats as model animals for aging and cancer research. After completing his postdoctoral research, he started his research group at Erasmus MC in the departments of Cell Biology and Department of Genetic Identification. Eskeatnaf’s current research focus includes deciphering and understanding gene regulatory networks that orchestrate normal and diseased development, understanding the role of the non-coding genome, developing novel single-cell omics techniques and analysis methods, and understanding the molecular mechanism of longevity and cancer resistance in Naked mole rats. In addition, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Manfred Kayser (Department of Genetic Identification, Erasmus MC) he adapts single-cell omics techniques and analysis methods for forensic application. He is a coordinator of genetics and genomics course at a graduate school and a lecturer of computational biology
Tamas Ordog, M.D., PhD, is Professor of Physiology and Director of the Gastroenterology Research Unit in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is also Genetics and Epigenetics Mechanistic Research Theme Group Leader and Epigenomics Core Director in the Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology. His research focuses on the transcriptional, epigenetic, and metabolic regulation of gene expression in the lineage of interstitial cells of Cajal, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and enteric neurons. He has also contributed to the discovery of mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance at mitosis and during stem cell differentiation and the role of epigenetic factors in diabetes, aging, immunological, fibrotic, psychiatric, and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as various cancers.
Walther Parson, PhD, holds an associate professorship at the Institute of Legal Medicine, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria and an adjunct professorship at the PennState University, PA, USA. Together with his colleagues he set up the Austrian National DNA Database Laboratory in 1997 in Innsbruck, where he currently supervises the High Through-put DNA Database Laboratory and the research group Forensic Genomics. Walther Parson’s research focuses on various fields of genetics and genomics, including forensic, medical and population genetics. His group was repeatedly consigned to handle international requests on Forensic DNA profiling of victims of mass fatalities (e.g., the 2004 Tsunami, the 1973 victims Chile, the 2014 Missing Mexican students), international human identification cases (e.g., the Russian Tsar family Romanov) and identification of individuals of historic interest (e.g., Friedrich von Schiller, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). The most recent challenge in that respect was a 20 year-long debated controversy over Kaspar Hauser, the putatively kidnapped Prince of the House of Baden (Germany). Walther discusses how the case was finally solved with the help of modern forensic genetic identification methods.
Mrinal S. Patnaik, M.D., PhD, is a Physician Scientist with the Division of Hematology and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), with a specific interest in epigenetic dysregulation in myeloid neoplasms, specifically Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML). He has carried out important preclinical and prognostic work in CMML and have importantly demonstrated the high prevalence of epigenetic and chromatin dysregulation along with the negative prognostic impact of epigenetic mutations (more aggressive disease phenotype and shortened overall survival). This work has led to the development of the Mayo Molecular Model (Leukemia 2014); a contemporary prognostic model for patients with CMML that now is applied worldwide. In July 2015, he was awarded the NIH CTSA KL-2 scholar award to further his work in CMML and has used this time and mentoring to define the interplay in the genomic and epigenetic landscape of proliferative and dysplastic CMML subtypes.
Dragan Primorac, M.D., PhD, is a pediatrician, forensic expert and geneticist. He is the first recipient of the title “Global Penn State University Ambassador” and currently he serves as the Chair of the International Affairs Committee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He is professor at Eberly College of Science, The Pennsylvania State University, and Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven, in the United States and as professor at Medical Schools in Split, Osijek and Rijeka as well as at Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, in Croatia. In October of 2016. he was appointed as a visiting professor at the College of Medicine and Forensics, Xi’an Jiaotong University, People’s Republic of China. Dr. Primorac is one of the pioneers in DNA identification of skeletal human remains from mass graves. Currently, he has particular interest in metabolic bone and cartilage disorders, pain treatment, sports medicine as well as in personalized and regenerative medicine. Dr. Primorac was invited speaker at more than 150 conferences all around the world. His work was published in most cited journals including Science and Nature and his papers have been cited more than 4300 times (Google Scholar) while h-index is 29. Currently, he is a team leader of the Croatian partner in the international consortium within EU FP7 project entitled “Multi-dimensional OMICS approach to stratification of patients with low back pain”, worth 7.6 million euros. He is the cofounder and the President of The International Society of Applied Biological Sciences (www.isabs.hr). In 2017. he was elected president of The Croatian Society for Human Genetics. Dr. Primorac received 21 domestic and international awards. From 2003 to 2009 he served as Minister of Science, Education and Sports of The Republic of Croatia.
Mechthild Prinz, PhD, is a professor for Forensic Genetics and the director of the Masters of Science in Forensic Science Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. She has an MS in Biology from the University of Cologne in Germany and a PhD in Human Biology from the University of Ulm, also in Germany. Prior to joining John Jay College, Dr. Prinz worked as a forensic geneticist and laboratory director performing, and later supervising and managing, paternity and criminal casework for the Institute of Legal Medicine of the University of Cologne and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. She is a past member of the FBI’s Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods and the National Institute of Standards Organization of Scientific Area Committees, and a former president of the International Society for Forensic Genetics. She is a fellow for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and serves as peer reviewer for prominent forensic journals and grant organizations. She has more than 30 years of experience in forensic DNA research and casework applications including Y-STR typing, low template DNA analysis, and mass disaster victim identification. Her current research focusses on the optimization of recovery, testing and interpretation for trace amounts of DNA evidence.
Elias Puchner, PhD, received his Diploma (M.S. equiv.) and then graduated with a PhD in Biophysics from the University of Munich in 2008 for performing research in the field of single-molecule force spectroscopy in the lab of Hermann E. Gaub. Research highlights include the development of “single-molecule cut and paste” which combines the specificity of DNA hybridization with the nm-precision of atomic force microscopy to assemble single molecules to precise arrangements. I also experimentally demonstrated that the enzyme titin kinase acts as a molecular force sensor in muscle and gets mechanically activated by force. With the support of a fellowship from the German Science Foundation, he transitioned to synthetic biology and single molecule super-resolution microscopy (PALM) during his postdoc with Wendell A. Lim and Bo Huang at the University of California. He developed quantitative PALM to be able to count single biomolecules in diffraction limited structures and gained new insights into the maturation of endocytic vesicles to endosomes. Since 2015 he leads his own single-molecule and cellular biophysics lab at the University of Minnesota where he became Associate Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy in 2021. His lab further develops and applies optical single molecule and super-resolution microscopy techniques to gain new quantitative insights into biological processes with single molecule sensitivity and a resolution on the nanoscopic length scale.
Keith Robertson, PhD, earned his Bachelor’s degree at Cornell University and his Ph.D. at The Johns Hopkins University in Dr. Richard Ambinder’s laboratory. He did postdoctoral training with Dr. Peter Jones at the University of Southern California and with Dr. Alan Wolffe at the National Institutes of Health. His first faculty position was within the intramural program at the NIH followed by the University of Florida and currently the Mayo Clinic, where he is a Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Robertson has published over 120 manuscripts in the area of cancer epigenetics and his laboratory has been continuously funded by the NIH. He has served on numerous national and international grant review panels and is on the editorial board of the journal Epigenetics. The laboratory uses a combination of basic biochemical methods, cell biology, genome/epigenome engineering, and omics analyses to understand how epigenetic processes like DNA and histone methylation maintain normal cellular growth controls, and when deregulated or mutated in cancer, contribute to tumor initiation and progression.
Yi Xing, PhD is the Francis West Lewis Endowed Chair and Founding Director of the Center for Computational and Genomic Medicine, as well as the Executive Director of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Xing is also a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Prior to his appointment at CHOP and Penn, Dr. Xing was a Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at UCLA, and served as Program Director of UCLA’s Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program. Dr. Xing received his BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology and BE in Computer Science and Technology from the University of Science and Technology of China (2001). He completed his PhD training in Bioinformatics with Dr. Christopher Lee at UCLA (2001-2006), and his postdoctoral training with Drs. Wing Hung Wong and Matthew Scott at the Stanford University (2006-2007). Dr. Xing has an extensive publication record in bioinformatics, genomics, and RNA biology. His work has provided fundamental insights into the function, regulation, and evolution of post-transcriptional RNA processing in mammals. His current research merges the fields of computational biology, biomedical data science, RNA genomics, human genetics, precision medicine, and immuno-oncology.
Antti Sajantila, M.D., PhD, works as a professor of forensic medicine in the Department of Forensic Medicine, at the University of Helsinki, and as a senior medical examiner in the Forensic Medicine Unit at the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare. He is an Honorary Professor of Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima. Professor Sajantila is a member of the executive board of European Council of Legal Medicine and the Steering Committee of the Independent Forensic Expert Team hosted by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. He has served in the Advisory Board for the United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteur for the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death. Professor Sajantila has participated in many international medico-legal investigations, implemented on the requests of various international communities. Professor Sajantila has published over 220 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and co-authored books in forensic genetics, pathology and pharmacogenetics. His current research interests are ancient DNA, archeaovirology, forensic genetics and forensic pathology.
Vijay H. Shah, M.D., received his undergraduate, medical, and clinical medicine training at Northwestern University. He obtained advanced clinical and research postdoctoral fellowship training in hepatology and liver disease at Yale University. He has maintained an NIH-funded program at Mayo Clinic for almost 25 years which focuses broadly on alcohol related liver disease, cirrhosis, portal hypertension and its complications with over 250 peer review publications in prestigious journals such as Journal of Clinical Investigation, Nature, Proceedings of National Academy of Science, New England Journal of Medicine and others. The basic, translational, and clinical work leans heavily on Big Data analytics. Dr. Shah is a member of the prestigious American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and Association of American Physicians (AAP). Presently, Dr. Shah serves as the Carol M Gatton and Mayo Distinguished Investigator and Chair of Department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, where he is overseeing a Digital Transformation of the Department. In his leisure time, Dr. Shah likes to ski, play guitar, kayak, exercise, and spend time with his wife, two daughters, and his Labrador retriever.
Anne Stone, PhD, is Regents’ Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at the Arizona State University. Currently, her research focuses on population history and understanding how humans and the great apes other primates have adapted to their environments, including their disease and dietary environments. This includes: (a) Native American population history, (b) the evolutionary history of the Great Apes, and (c) understanding the evolutionary history of mycobacteria (specifically the causative agents of tuberculosis and leprosy). Stone has been a Fulbright Fellow (1992-93), a NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellow (1997-1998), and a Kavli Scholar (2007). She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2016). Stone currently serves as a senior editor of Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Mark Stoneking, PhD, received his PhD in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986. After postdoctoral work at Berkeley he held research scientist positions at the Human Genome Center at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and at the Cetus Corporation. He joined the faculty of the anthropology department at The Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor in 1990, rising to associate professor in 1994 and full professor in 1998. In 1999 he left Penn State for the newly-established Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where he supervised the Human Population History Group and was Honorary Professor of Biological Anthropology at the University of Leipzig until his retirement in June 2022. He is currently affiliated with the CNRS Laboratory of Biometry and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Lyon in Lyon, France. His research interests involve using molecular genetic methods to address questions of anthropological interest concerning the origins, migrations, and relationships of human populations, the impact of cultural practices on human genetic diversity, and the influence of selection during human evolution. He has authored more than 300 scientific papers, and a textbook, Introduction to Molecular Anthropology (Wiley, 2017).
Andreas Tillmar, PhD, works as a forensic geneticist at the National Board of Forensic Medicine, Sweden and as a senior lecturer and associated professor of forensic genetics at Linköping University, Sweden. He is well experienced from working over 15 years in the field. During these years he has signed more than 20,000 reports on DNA-based paternity, kinship and missing person investigations. His current tasks include technical leadership mixed with R&D. His research is focused on various topics of forensic genetics such as applying new genetic polymorphisms for complex kinship testing, applied biostatistics, population genetics and most recently investigative genetic genealogy. He is the main, senior or co-author of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles. He is the chairman of the English-Speaking Working Group (ESWG) of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG). A detailed CV can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/andreastillmar/cv.
Natalia Tretyakova, PhD, is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Coll. She received B.S. and MS in Chemistry at Moscow State University (Russia), then performed doctoral research in Environmental Sciences at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill under the tutelage of Dr. James Swenberg, and received post-doctoral training in the lab of Dr. Steven Tannenbaum at the MIT. Her multidisciplinary research program employs the tools of organic synthesis, drug design, omics methodologies, mass spectrometry, molecular/cell biology, animal and population studies with the goal of understanding of the role of noncanonical DNA bases (DNA modifications) in cancer. Her studies of chemical carcinogen induced DNA modifications (DNA adducts) strive to structurally characterize and map DNA modifications in the genome, to elucidate their biological impacts, and to develop ultra-sensitive methodologies for their detection in humans. The studies of naturally occurring epigenetic marks of DNA help reveal previously unknown epigenetic mechanisms of disease and facilitate the development of novel chemical probes inhibiting DNA-modifying enzymes.
Athina Vidaki, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and internationally recognized expert in applied and translational epigenomics. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, a Master’s in forensic science from King’s College London, and a PhD in forensic genetics by conducting studies at both the Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London. Between 2016-2021, she conducted her postdoctoral studies at the Department of Genetic Identification at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where she still works. Her group consisted of both experimental and computational scientists is currently focusing on DNA methylation profiling, more specifically on how it can be used to serve justice in society as well as to improve current clinical testing. With a technology-driven focus and implementation-oriented mind, Dr Vidaki aims to (a) discover human epigenetic variation of medical and forensic relevance using existing, state-of-the-art, large-scale data, (b) create and benchmark new and innovative targeted epigenetic/epigenomic technologies, with the support of a prestigious Erasmus MC fellowship (2021-2025) and a Demonstrator grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO, 2021-2022), as well as (c) develop and standardize robust next-generation sequencing (NGS) assays to translate her group’s findings into practice, in the clinic or in court. Beyond epigenomics and via collaborations, she has also led or contributed to genomic, RNA, microbiome and immunogenomic studies.
Liewei Wang, M.D., PhD, trained in a national center for pharmacogenomic (PGx) research that has been engaged in the application of PGx in clinical translational studies for nearly a quarter of a century. Since assuming an independent faculty position in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Mayo Clinic, she has developed a research program with a focus on the use of high throughput genomic technology, joined with a cell-based model system that she developed that consists of 300 lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) with extensive high throughput genomic data to study mechanisms of cancer biology and therapy, including both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Her research has also focused on understanding regulation of the PI3K-AKT pathway and its impact on response to drug therapy. As a Co-PI, she led the functional genomics activities within the Mayo-NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN) grant that included the projects understanding PGx of endocrine treatment in breast cancer. At the same time, her program is also studying prostate cancer therapy response including AR blocker and CYP 17 inhibitor. She is also leading a program that is developing patient derived xenografts (PDX) using breast cancer and prostate biopsy samples collected from two genome-guided prospective trials, BEAUTY for breast cancer and PROMOTE for prostate cancer. She is a member of several key programs at Mayo including the Mayo-NIH Comprehensive Cancer Center (MCCC), and the Director for the Pharmacogenomics Program of the Mayo Center for Individualized Medicine (CIM).
Zong Wei, PhD, is an assistant professor of physiology in the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. Wei joined Mayo Clinic in 2019 following postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies with Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D. Research in the Epigenomics of Metabolic Diseases Laboratory led by Zong Wei, Ph.D., is focused on investigating the fundamental mechanisms of diabetes, obesity and inflammation, and identifying therapeutic targets in metabolic diseases. Using both human stem cell-differentiated organoids and mouse models, the laboratory studies the epigenomic regulation of cellular dysfunction in diabetes and metabolic diseases, identifies novel therapeutic targets in obesity and inflammation, and explores the fundamental mechanisms of transcription and chromatin biology. To address these issues, the team employs a variety of tools, which include mouse models, epigenomic and computational tools, human organoid models, functional genomics, single cell multi-omics and proteomics.
Hugo Zeberg, PhD, is a Swedish evolutionary geneticist at the Karolinska Institutet and at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He did his PhD thesis in electrophysiology and computational neuroscience but has since shifted to genetics. His main research focus is the functional consequences of the admixture with Neandertals that took place ~60,000 years ago.