This list will be updated as speaker biographies become available.
Kristian G. Andersen, PhD
Director, Infectious Disease Genomics, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Assistant Professor, The Scripps Research Institute
Dr. Kristian G. Andersen is an Assistant Professor in both the Department of Immunology and Microbial Science and the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at The Scripps Research Institute. He is also Director of Infectious Disease Genomics at the Scripps Translational Science Institute.
Dr. Andersen’s research has spanned many research areas and disciplines. His recent research has focused on the complex relationship between host and pathogen. Using a combination of next-generation sequencing, experimentation and computational biology he has spearheaded large international collaborations investigating the spread and evolution of highly deadly pathogens, including Zika, Ebola and Lassa viruses. This work provided insights into the emergence and transmission of Zika virus in the Americas and Ebola virus during the 2014-2015 epidemic in West Africa, and formed the foundation for the usage of genomic tools during rapidly evolving outbreaks.
Using experimental animal models and molecular biological techniques, Dr. Andersen also elucidated the evolutionary history of regulatory T cell-mediated tolerance mechanisms. He then exploited that knowledge to develop novel immune-based therapies and showed that they could be used for the treatment of arthritis, diabetes, and transplantation rejection in a number of different animal models.
Dr. Andersen conducted his post-doctoral research at Harvard University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he is an Affiliated Member. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in 2009.
Jehannine Austin, PhD, CGC
Associate Professor and Genetic Counselor, Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics, The University of British Columbia
Dr. Jehannine Austin is Immediate Past President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), and is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry & Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genomics. Her research work is centered around using a clinical genetics perspective to inform the development of novel biological and non-biological interventions to improve outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disorders and to support their families. She investigates the effects of genetic counseling for people with psychiatric disorders, and in addition to writing a book on this subject, founded the worlds first specialist psychiatric genetic counseling service, which has now helped about 600 families in British Columbia. She received the 2013 International Leadership award from NSGC, and in 2015 received the inaugural professional practice, innovation and advocacy leadership award from the Canadian Association of Genetic Counselors. In 2016, she was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada.
Ed Boyden, PhD
Associate Professor, Media Lab & McGovern Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ed Boyden is a professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute. He leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analyzing and repairing complex biological systems such as the brain, and applies them systematically to reveal ground truth principles of biological function as well as to repair these systems. These technologies, created often in interdisciplinary collaborations, include expansion microscopy, which enables complex biological systems to be imaged with nanoscale precision, optogenetic tools, which enable the activation and silencing of neural activity with light, and optical, nanofabricated, and robotic interfaces that enable recording and control of neural dynamics. He has launched an award-winning series of classes at MIT that teach principles of neuroengineering, starting with basic principles of how to control and observe neural functions, and culminating with strategies for launching companies in the nascent neurotechnology space. He also co-directs the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, which aims to develop new tools to accelerate neuroscience progress.
Amongst other recognitions, he has received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2016), the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2015), the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award (2015), the Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences (2015), the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award (2013), the Grete Lundbeck Brain Prize (2013), the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2013), the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award (twice, 2012 and 2013), and the Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize (2011). He was also named to the World Economic Forum Young Scientist list (2013), the Technology Review World’s “Top 35 Innovators under Age 35” list (2006), and his work was included in Nature Methods “Method of the Year” in 2010.
His group has hosted hundreds of visitors to learn how to use new biotechnologies, and he also regularly teaches at summer courses and workshops in neuroscience, and delivers lectures to the broader public (e.g., TED (2011); World Economic Forum (2012, 2013, 2016)). Ed received his Ph.D. in neurosciences from Stanford University as a Hertz Fellow, where he discovered that the molecular mechanisms used to store a memory are determined by the content to be learned. Before that, he received three degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics from MIT. He has contributed to over 300 peer-reviewed papers, current or pending patents, and articles, and has given over 300 invited talks on his group’s work.
Atul Butte, MD, PhD
Director and Distinguished Professor, Institute for Computational Health Sciences
Executive Director for Clinical Informatics, University of California, San Francisco
Atul Butte, MD, PhD is the inaugural Director of the Institute of Computational Health Sciences (ichs.ucsf.edu) at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Butte is also the Executive Director for Clinical Informatics across the six University of California Medical Schools and Medical Centers. Dr. Butte trained in Computer Science at Brown University, worked as a software engineer at Apple and Microsoft, received his MD at Brown University, trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Boston, then received his PhD from Harvard Medical School and MIT. Dr. Butte has authored over 200 publications, with research repeatedly featured in Wired Magazine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Butte was elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2015, and in 2013, he was recognized by the White House as an Open Science Champion of Change for promoting science through publicly available data. Dr. Butte is also a founder of three investor-backed data-driven companies: Personalis, providing medical genome sequencing services, Carmenta (acquired by Progenity), discovering diagnostics for pregnancy complications, and NuMedii, finding new uses for drugs through open molecular data. Dr. Butte is a principal investigator of three major programs: the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine; ImmPort, the clinical and molecular data repository for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and the California Precision Medicine Consortium, helping recruit tens of thousands of participants into President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.
Director, All of Us Research Program, Precision Medicine Initiative, National Institutes of Health
Brian J. Druker, MD
Director, Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University
JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Dr. Druker is Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Upon graduating from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in 1981, Dr. Druker completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He trained in oncology at Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and then returned to the lab to begin his research career studying the regulation of the growth of cancer cells and its practical application to cancer therapies.
Dr. Druker’s work in the lab, which he continued after joining OHSU in 1993, helped pioneer the practice of precision, or personalized, cancer medicine which targets the molecular underpinnings of an individual’s cancer while leaving healthy cells unharmed. In collaboration with Novartis, his laboratory performed pre-clinical studies that were instrumental to the development of imatinib (Gleevec), a drug that targets the molecular defect in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). After completing a series of preclinical studies, Dr. Druker planned and led the highly successful clinical trials of imatinib for CML, which led to FDA approval of the drug in record time.
Dr. Druker’s work not only served as a proof of principle for targeted therapies, but it demonstrated the possibility of transforming cancer into a manageable disease, a concept previously unimagined. Imatinib established a new treatment paradigm for cancer as hundreds of targeted therapies have been developed in its wake. Over time, imatinib has also proven effective in treating multiple forms of cancer. It is currently FDA approved for CML, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and eight other cancers.
Dr. Druker’s role in the development of imatinib and its application in the clinic has resulted in numerous awards for Dr. Druker, including the Warren Alpert Prize from Harvard Medical School, the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research, the Japan Prize in Healthcare and Medical Technology and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2003, the American Association of Physicians in 2006, the National Academy of Sciences in 2007, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.
Michael B. Eisen, PhD
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development, University of California, Berkeley
Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA
Professor, Department of Surgery and Radiology
Director, Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center
Co-Leader, Breast Oncology Program, University of California, San Francisco
Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, is a Professor of Surgery and Radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center. She is a leader of the innovative I-SPY TRIAL model, designed to accelerate the identification and approval of effective new agents for women with high risk breast cancers. The goal of the I-SPY TRIAL model is to shave several years and tens of millions of dollars off the drug development process. The trial paradigm is now being developed for use in other disease domains.
In 2009, Dr. Esserman led the creation of the University of California-wide Athena Breast Health Network, a learning system designed to integrate clinical care and research as it follows 150,000 women from screening through treatment and outcomes. As part of the network, she has spearheaded the development of the WISDOM study to learn how to improve breast cancer screening by testing and comparing the safety and efficacy of a personalized screening strategy informed by each woman’s breast cancer risk and preferences against the standard of annual screening.
Dr. Esserman is a passionate and persistent advocate for her patients. She is keenly aware that many of her patients don’t have 10 years to wait for the right treatment options. Her work is dedicated to accelerating the development of targeted, effective prevention and treatment options that can make a difference at the time when they are needed the most.
James D. Goldberg, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Counsyl
Dr. Goldberg is currently the Chief Medical Officer at Counsyl. He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, and medical genetics. He has served as president of the Perinatal Quality Foundation and on the board of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine.
Chief Executive Officer, GRAIL
Jeff Huber is the CEO of GRAIL. GRAIL’s mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. By building on high-intensity genome sequencing technology, large-scale clinical evidence development, and leading-edge computer science, bioinformatics, and machine learning, GRAIL is creating a new scientific understanding of cancer biology to develop a blood test that can detect cancer at an early stage and hopefully save millions of lives. Prior to GRAIL, Jeff worked at the intersection of life sciences and computer science at Google[x] (2013-2016) . Previously at Google, Jeff led development for Google Ads (2003-2011), Google Apps (2005-2010), and Google Maps (2011-2013). Jeff holds bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree from Harvard University. He is a board member of Electronic Arts (EA) and The Exploratorium, and former board member of Illumina (ILMN; 2014-2016).
Kathy Hudson, PhD
Former Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy, National Institutes of Health
Kathy L. Hudson, Ph.D. is currently biking, hiking, and exploring opportunities for her next career. She is the former Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Hudson led the science policy, legislation, communications, and outreach efforts of the NIH and served as senior advisor to the NIH director. She directed the agency’s efforts to advance biomedical science through policy development and innovative projects and partnerships. Dr. Hudson created major new strategic and scientific initiatives including the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the BRAIN Initiative, the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative, and the Cancer Moonshot. She led the development of major policies that enable science to advance more rapidly including enhancing clinical trials, data sharing, and participation of patients as partners in research. She was the key NIH architect responsible for modernizing the regulations governing research with human subjects.
Dr. Hudson’s professional experience includes serving as the Acting Deputy Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH; the NIH Chief of Staff; the Assistant Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH; and the founder and Director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at John Hopkins University. Also at Hopkins, Dr. Hudson was an Associate Professor in the Berman Institute of Bioethics, Institute of Genetic Medicine, and Department of Pediatrics.
Dr. Hudson holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College.
Sekar Kathiresan, MD
Cardiologist, Human Geneticist
Director, Preventive Cardiology, Massachusetts General hospital
Associate Member, Program of Medical & Population Genetics
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Sekar Kathiresan, a physician scientist and a human geneticist, is the Director of the Center for Genomic Medicine (CGM) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Ofer and Shelley Nemirovsky MGH Research Scholar, Director of the Cardiovascular Disease Initiative at the Broad institute, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Kathiresan leverages human genetics to understand the root causes of heart attack and to improve preventive cardiac care. Among his scientific contributions, Dr. Kathiresan has helped highlight new biological mechanisms underlying heart attack, discovered mutations that protect against heart attack risk, and developed a genetic test for personalized heart attack prevention.
Dr. Kathiresan received his B.A. in history and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1997. He then completed his clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at MGH, where he served as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine from 2002-2003. Dr. Kathiresan pursued research training in cardiovascular genetics through a combined experience at the Framingham Heart Study and the Broad Institute. In 2008, he joined the faculties of the MGH Cardiology Division, Cardiovascular Research Center, and Center for Genomic Medicine.
Paul Knoepfler, PhD
Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, University of California, Davis
Dr. Paul Knoepfler (@pknoepfler) is a biomedical scientist, science writer, advocate, and cancer survivor.
Knoepfler is a Professor at UC Davis School of Medicine in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy. At UC Davis he is also a faculty member of the Genome Center, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Institute for Regenerative Cures (aka UC Davis Stem Cell Center), and the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine. He received his BA in English Literature from Reed College and PhD from UCSD School of Medicine in Molecular Pathology.
His research interests are primarily focused on the epigenomics of cancer and stem cells with a particular interest in pediatric brain tumors and normal brain growth, which are being explored using a number of technologies including CRISPR. Dr. Knoepfler is a vocal advocate for evidence-based medicine in the areas of stem cell treatments and human germline genetic modification including via CRISPR.
He is the author of two books. His first book, Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide, is the top book on stem cells on Amazon. He just published his second book, focused on human genetic modification, GMO Sapiens: The Life Changing Science of Designer Babies.
He blogs regularly at the Niche (www.ipscell.com) and was named the top American stem cell advocate in 2013 as well as one of the 50 most influential people in the international stem cell field.
Razelle Kurzrock, MD
Chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology, UCSD School of Medicine,
Senior Deputy Director, Clinical Science,
Director, Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy,
Director, Clinical Trials Office, UCSD Moores Cancer Center
Dr. Razelle Kurzrock is known for developing the largest Phase 1 clinical trials department in the nation/world while at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. A central theme of that program was the personalized medicine strategy, embodied in a protocol called PREDICT for Profile-related Evidence Determining Individualized Cancer Therapy. This approach utilized advanced molecular technologies to match patients with targeted cancer treatment that is more likely to work for their individual tumors.
At Moores Cancer Center, Dr. Kurzrock’s charge is broad, including not just growing and innovating the center’s clinical trials program, but also heading its newly established Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. This center focuses on precision medicine trials, using the most innovative genomically-targeted drugs and/or agents that arm the immune system. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Kurzrock brings extraordinary expertise and experience in clinical research, business operations, regulatory operations, financial and budget planning, and administrative oversight, in addition to her world-recognized work in translational science. Dr. Kurzrock is also Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Kurzrock received her MD degree from the University of Toronto and has over 600 peer-reviewed publications and a uniquely strong record of competitive grant funding within the setting of Phase I program building.
Dr. Kurzrock also has a strong history of building outstanding education/training programs. At University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, she founded and directed the MS/PhD program (degree granting) in Human Biology and Patient-Based Research, as well as the Fellowship in Investigational Cancer Therapeutics. At UCSD Moores Cancer, she founded and directs the Fellowship in Personalized Cancer Therapy.
Dr. Kurzrock has four children and lives with her husband, Dr. Philip Cohen, a dermatologist, in San Diego, CA.
Erez S. Lieberman Aiden, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular and Human Genetics
Assistant Professor, Computer Science
Assistant Professor, Computational and Applied Mathematics, Baylor College of Medicine
Bill Lundberg, MD
Chief Scientific Officer, CRISPR Therapeutics
Daniel MacArthur, MD
Assistant Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital
Co-Director of Medical and Population Genetics, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University
Physician, Columbia University Medical Center
Author, The Gene: An Intimate History
Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and The Laws of Medicine. He is the editor of Best Science Writing 2013. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and Cell. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters. Visit his website at: SiddharthaMukherjee.com
Eric M. Reiman, MD
Executive Director, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute & CEO, Banner Research
Professor of Psychiatry, University of Arizona
University Professor of Neuroscience, Arizona State University
Clinical Director of Neurogenomics, Translational Genomics Research Institute
Director, Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium
Dr. Reiman is Executive Director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, Chief Executive Officer of Banner Research, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona, University Professor of Neuroscience at Arizona State University, Clinical Director of Neurogenomics at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and Director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. Dr. Reiman’s research interests include brain imaging, genomics, the unusually early detection and tracking of Alzheimer’s disease, and the accelerated evaluation of Alzheimer’s prevention therapies. He is also interested in new models of research collaboration and dementia care. He and his Banner Alzheimer’s Institute colleagues lead the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), including prevention trials in cognitively unimpaired persons who, based on their genetic background and age, are at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease, biomarker development and data and sample sharing agreements, unusually large registries to support enrollment in prevention trials, and other efforts to help accelerate the evaluation of prevention therapies. Dr. Reiman is an author of more than 300 publications, a principal investigator of several NIH grants, and a recipient of the Potamkin Prize.
Pardis C. Sabeti, MD, DPhil
Professor, Harvard University & Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Institute Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Dr. Pardis Sabeti is a Professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard School of Public Health, and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and a Howard Hughes Investigator.
Dr. Sabeti is a computational geneticist with expertise developing algorithms to detect genetic signatures of adaption in humans and the microbial organisms that infect humans. Her lab’s key research areas include: (1) Developing analytical methods to detect and investigate evolution in the genomes of humans and other species (2) Examining host and viral genetic factors driving disease susceptibility to the devastating and deadly diseases in West Africa, Ebola Virus Disease and Lassa hemorrhagic fever. (3) Investigating the genomes of microbes, including Lassa virus, Ebola virus, Zika virus, Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Vibrio cholera, and Mycobacterioum tuberculosis to help in the development of intervention strategies. (4) Determining the microbial cause of undiagnosed acute febrile illness.
Dr. Sabeti completed her undergraduate degree at MIT, her graduate work at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and her medical degree summa cum laude from Harvard Medical School as a Soros Fellow. Dr. Sabeti is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and was named a TIME magazine ‘Person of the Year’ as one of the Ebola fighters. Her awards included the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Natural Science, the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, the NIH Innovator Award, the Packard Fellowship, and an Ellis Island Medal of Honor. She has served on the MIT Board of Trustees and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Women in Science, Medicine, and Engineering.
Dr. Sabeti is also the lead singer and co-song writer of the rock band Thousand Days.
Jay Shendure, MD, PhD
Professor of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, School of Medicine
Jay Shendure is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington. His 2005 PhD included one of the first successful demonstrations of massively parallel or next generation DNA sequencing. Dr. Shendure’s research group in Seattle has made significant contributions to technologies including exome sequencing and its application to gene discovery for Mendelian disorders and autism; cell-free DNA diagnostics for cancer and reproductive medicine; molecular profiling of single cells; massively parallel reporter assays and saturation genome editing; and whole organism lineage tracing. He is the recipient of the 2012 Curt Stern Award from the American Society of Human Genetics, the 2013 FEDERAprijs, a 2013 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, and the 2014 HudsonAlpha Life Sciences Prize. He serves or has served on the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, its Working Group on the US Precision Medicine Initiative, and the National Human Genome Research Advisory Council.
Beth Stevens, PhD
Institute Member, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Research Associate, Neurobiology, Boston Children’s Hospital
Beth Stevens is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School in the FM Kirby Neurobiology Research Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an institute member of the Broad Institute.
Her research seeks to understand the mechanisms that regulate the development and elimination of synapses by focusing on how microglia and immune-related molecules mediate this process.
Beth received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2003 at the University of Maryland, College Park. She performed her dissertation research at the National Institutes of Health (NICHD) in the area of neuron-glia interactions. In her postdoctoral work with Ben Barres at Stanford University, she discovered that the classical complement cascade, part of the innate immune system, helps to mediate developmental CNS synapse elimination. Their findings have raised many questions about how the complement cascade normally works to eliminate synapses and especially whether it becomes abnormally reactivated in brain diseases such as AD that impair synaptic connectivity.
In 2008, Dr. Stevens established her independent laboratory in the FM Kirby Neurobiology Center at Children’s Hospital where she is currently using a combination of molecular, physiological and high resolution imaging techniques to dissect the mechanisms by which microglial cells and immune –related molecules (ie.complement, cytokines) regulate synapse function during health and disease. She is investigating the mechanisms that drive synapse loss and dysfunction in AD, Huntington’s disease, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. Beth is a recipient of several young investigator awards, including: Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging, John Merck Scholar (2011), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and a 2015 MacArthur Fellow Award.
Ali Torkamani, PhD
Director, Genome Informatics & Drug Discovery, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Assistant Professor, Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute
The human genome is the biological code that specifies human-beings. Dr. Torkamani’s overall vision is to decipher that code in order to understand and predict interventions that restore diseased individuals to a healthy ground state. He is the Director of Genome Informatics at STSI and an Assistant Professor at The Scripps Research Institute – professor, scientist, inventor and entrepreneur.
Dr. Torkamani obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Stanford University, where he received a Bing Foundation Chemistry Research Fellowship, and his doctorate in biomedical sciences at the University of California, San Diego, (in record time) under the mentorship of Dr. Nicholas Schork as an NIH Genetics Predoctoral Training awardee. In 2008, he joined the Scripps Translational Science Institute as a Research Scientist and Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Fellow, and shortly thereafter as an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Experimental Medicine and Mario R. Alvarez Fellow. In 2012, Dr. Torkamani advanced to Director of Genome Informatics at STSI where he leads various human genome sequencing and other genomics initiatives. Dr. Torkamani was also co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cypher Genomics, Inc.
Dr. Torkamani’s research covers a broad range of areas centered on the use of genomic technologies to identify the genetic etiology and underlying mechanisms of human disease in order to define precision therapies for diseased individuals. Major focus areas include human genome interpretation and genetic dissection of novel rare diseases, predictive genomic signatures of response to therapy, and novel sequencing-based assays as biomarkers of disease. He has authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications, several highlighted in the popular press, and has written numerous book chapters and Medscape references.
Feng Zhang, PhD
Core Institute Member, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Investigator, The McGovern Institute, MIT
Associate Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT
Robertson Investigator, New York Stem Cell Foundation
Feng Zhang obtained his A.B. degree in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard University and his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University, where he worked in the lab of Karl Deisseroth on the development of optogenetics. In 2011, Zhang began his own lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), pioneering the use of CRISPR-Cas systems as genome editing tools. He and his team successfully harnessed the RNA-guided nuclease Cas9 for mammalian genome editing. Following this, the Zhang lab has continued to expand and refine Cas-based approaches, helping to create a robust genome engineering toolbox that is accelerating research around the world. He is currently a Core Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an Investigator of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, a James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience, an Associate Professor in the Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering at MIT, and a New York Stem Cell Foundation-Robertson Investigator.
Columnist, New York Times/Contributing National Correspondent
Carl Zimmer is a columnist for the New York Times and national correspondent for Stat. He has written thirteen books about biology and is now working on a book about heredity. In 2016, he was awarded the Stephen Jay Gould Prize by the Society for the Study of Evolution.