Grace Anderson, Ph.D., was originally from San Diego, California, but moved to North Carolina for college and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2013 with a B.S. in biology (biotechnology concentration) with chemistry and anthropology minors. In 2018, they completed their Ph.D. in Kris Wood’s lab at Duke University in the Molecular Cancer Biology program. Their work focused on using functional genomics approaches to uncover novel vulnerabilities in cancers with intrinsic or acquired resistance to anti-cancer therapies. This work resulted in several peer-reviewed publications in top journals (Science Translational Medicine, Nature Communications, and Cell Reports). They were fortunate enough in graduate school to be recognized as an accomplished young scientist and secured many fellowships and awards, most notably, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the National Cancer Institute Pre- to Postdoctoral Transition Award (F99/K00), the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Graduate Diversity Enrichment Program, the Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence, and others. Following graduate school, they were a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in the Genetics Department where they worked closely with another postdoc to understand the genetic liabilities associated with three-dimensional growth in cancer spheroid models. This resulted in middle authorship on a manuscript currently in press at Nature. Currently, they are a scientist at a start-up that is mapping the universe of functional interactions between chemicals and human targets by linking biological pathways to digital outputs. The company uses DNA sequencing, gene synthesis, gene editing, and data science to engineer cells, the most sophisticated information processors on Earth, to be a data
network. Dr. Anderson attributes much of their success to the mentorship they received in high school, undergraduate, and graduate training. As such, they have a strong passion for mentoring undergraduates, early graduate students, and research technicians.
Alexis Battle, Ph.D., is an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a 2016 Searle Scholar. She is also a 2020 Microsoft Investigator Fellow. Her research group focuses on understanding the impact of genetic variation on the human body, using machine learning and probabilistic methods to analyze large-scale genomic data. She is interested in applications to personal genomics, genetics of gene expression, and gene networks in disease, leveraging diverse data to infer more comprehensive models of genetic effects on the cell. She earned her Ph.D. in computer science in 2013 from Stanford University, where she also received her bachelor’s degree in symbolic systems in 2003. Dr. Battle spent several years in industry as a manager and member of the technical staff at Google, Inc. She joined Johns Hopkins University in July 2014.
Dominique Bergmann (NAS), Ph.D., is a professor of biology at Stanford University, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and an adjunct staff member at the Carnegie Institution Department of Plant Biology. Dr. Bergmann’s research group uses the development of plant stomata (the epidermal structures that regulate carbon dioxide and water vapor exchange between the plant and atmosphere) as a model to understand how tissues integrate signals from a variety of sources into decisions about cell fate, cell signaling, and cell polarity. With anchors derived from detailed studies in the genetic reference plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, Dr. Bergmann’s group identified conserved genetic modules that underlie stomatal cell identities and behaviors in a variety of plant species. Current work focuses on how these modules can be “re-wired” to produce the wide array of patterns seen in nature or engineered to improve plants’ capacity to grow in limiting climates.
Gary Churchill, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in biostatistics in 1988 from the University of Washington in Seattle under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Thompson. He then worked as a postdoctoral associate with Dr. Michael Waterman in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In 1990, Dr. Churchill joined the faculty at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, as an assistant and later an associate professor of statistics. In 1997, Dr. Churchill joined The Jackson Laboratory as a visiting investigator; in 1998 he was recruited to the faculty and was promoted to senior staff scientist in 2003. In 2016, he was awarded the Karl Gunnar Johannsen Chair in Computational Biology. Dr. Churchill
has played a central role in the establishment of genetics resources including the Collaborative Cross and Diversity Outbred mouse populations. He has served on numerous editorial boards, including co-founding editor of Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology and senior editor at Genetics. Dr. Churchill is the co-director of the JAX Center for Aging Research, and most recently was chosen as a 2019 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his contributions to the field of science. His current research employs systems genetics approach to study aging and metabolic disease.
Zoe Donaldson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience at University of Colorado Boulder. Since arriving at Boulder in September 2016, Dr. Donaldson has focused her research on prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), small, furry rodents that—unlike mice, rats, and about 97 percent of all mammals—share a unique quality with humans: They tend to be monogamous. She joined the faculty after completing her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Emory University and persuing postdoctoral training at Columbia University. Dr. Donaldson’s research is funded by the Whitehall Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Her work has been highlighted in The Economist, and she routinely works with the National Academy of Sciences’ Science & Entertainment Exchange to encourage the accurate representation of science in art and film. Her work with them includes an award for “Most Diabolical” movie murder plot from the Austin Film Festival.
Rachel Dutton, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego. Her lab focuses on the use of microbial communities from cheese as models based on their simplicity, culturability, and experimental tractability. These communities show reproducible and dynamic patterns of community formation that depend on widespread interactions between species. The lab is now developing genetic, cell biological, and chemical approaches to studying species interactions in this model microbial community. As with any model system, their goal is to gain insight into the workings of more complex systems. Dr. Dutton received her Ph.D. from the Harvard Medical School in 2010. She is the recipient of many awards, including the National Institutes of Health’s Director’s New Innovator Award in 2018 and being named a Pew Scholar in 2017.
Scott V. Edwards (NAS), Ph.D., is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. He joined Harvard in December 2003 after serving as faculty for 9 years in the Zoology Department and the Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle. His research focuses on diverse
aspects of avian biology, including evolutionary history and biogeography, disease ecology, population genetics, and comparative genomics. He has conducted fieldwork in phylogeography in Australia since 1987 and conducted some of the first phylogeographic analyses based on DNA sequencing. He did a postdoctoral fellowship in immunogenetics at the University of Florida and gained experience with studying the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) of birds, an important gene complex for interactions of birds and infectious diseases, pathogens, and mate choice. His work on the MHC led him to study the large-scale structure of the avian genome and informed his current interest in using comparative genomics to study the genetic basis of phenotypic innovation in birds. In the past 10 years, Dr. Edwards has helped develop novel methods for estimating phylogenetic trees from multi-locus DNA sequence data. His recent work uses comparative genomics in diverse contexts to study macroevolutionary patterns in birds, including the origin of feathers and the evolution of flightlessness.
Genevieve Haliburton, Ph.D., leads the computational biology team at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where the team works to support grant-making and tech-building efforts across many areas including single-cell biology, infectious diseases, and open science. During her Ph.D. and postdoctoral training, she developed computational approaches to characterize transcriptional regulation using multimodal -omics data.
Sean Hanlon, Ph.D., is the acting deputy director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives (CSSI) where he provides leadership in the planning, developing, and implementing initiatives with a focus on emerging areas of science with potential impact across the cancer research continuum. Dr. Hanlon is also the lead program director for NCI’s Provocative Questions Initiative that aims to foster research in understudied areas. Additionally, he provides scientific leadership to collaborative transdisciplinary programs, including the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Common Fund’s 4D Nucleome program and NCI’s Human Tumor Atlas Network. Dr. Hanlon also serves as a representative on NCI, NIH, and interagency committees, including Cancer Moonshot Implementation teams, the trans-NCI Data Sharing working group, and the trans-NCI Artificial Intelligence working group. Prior to joining CSSI, Dr. Hanlon was a program director in the NCI Division of Cancer Biology where he managed a portfolio of grants focused on transcriptional and epigenetic regulation in cancer biology and served as director of the Physical Sciences–Oncology Network. He came to NCI in 2009 through the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science & Technology Policy Fellowship program.
Steven Henikoff (NAS), Ph.D., is an assistant professor in genome sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, a member of the Division of Basic Sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). His field of study is chromatin-related transcriptional regulation. He earned his B.S. in chemistry at The University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University in the lab of Matt Meselson in 1977. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and HHMI. In 1992, Dr. Henikoff, together with his wife Jorja Henikoff, introduced the BLOSUM substitution matrices. The BLOSUM matrices are widely used for sequence alignment of proteins. In 2005, Dr. Henikoff was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Scott Jackson, Ph.D., is the Genetic Pipeline Design lead at Bayer Crop Science. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison followed by a fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He has held faculty positions at Purdue University (2001–2011) and the University of Georgia where he was the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Plant Functional Genomics (2011–2019). He is currently an adjunct professor at The University of Georgia. At the University of Georgia, he led the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies and was involved in many campus-wide activities. Dr. Jackson’s research has focused on decoding plant genomes to better understand their evolutionary histories and to better engineer crop plants for the future. He led several genome sequencing efforts (e.g., soybean, peanut, and common bean) and has been involved in translating genome sequences into advances in understanding the structure and function of plant genomes with a focus on genome duplications common in plant histories.
Felicity Jones, Ph.D., is a Max Planck Research group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society, Tübingen, Germany. Her research group studies genome function in natural vertebrate populations adapting to different environments. They leverage the comprehensive genetic and genomic toolkit of the threespine stickleback fish to bridge the gap between the lab and the wild. Using chromatin profiling, comparative epigenomics, transcriptomics, and transgenic approaches, one of their major projects focuses on how the regulatory genome contributes to adaptive evolution and speciation. Supported by the German and European Research Councils, her group also studies features of meiotic recombination and standing genetic variation that facilitate and constrain rates of adaptation in natural populations.
Paul Katz, Ph.D., is a professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is also the director of the Initiative on Neurosciences. He was previously a Regents Professor at Georgia State University. He has been studying the brains of nudibranch molluscs for more than 25 years, initially as a research assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. He is currently funded by a National Institutes of Health BRAIN award to determine the full brain connectome of the nudibranch Berghia stephanieae, which has only 4,000 neurons. His lab is characterizing behaviors and, in collaboration with four other institutions, they are performing large-scale optical recordings from identifiable neurons.
Joanna Kelley, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman. She runs an evolutionary genomics laboratory that focuses on high-throughput genome sequencing and computational approaches to analyzing big data in genomics. Her research focuses on understanding the genomic basis for adaptation to extreme environments. Dr. Kelley received her B.A. in biology and mathematics, with honors in biology, from Brown University. She earned her Ph.D. in genome sciences from the University of Washington in Seattle. As a graduate student, Dr. Kelley spent a month at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica as part of a National Science Foundation International Graduate Training Course on Polar Biology. She received a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award as a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Chicago in human genetics. Dr. Kelley also conducted research as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University, where she received the 2012 L’Oreal Fellowship for Women in Science. She is a faculty adviser from the College of Arts and Sciences to the WSU Spokane Genomics Core. She was named one of the GenomeWeb Young Investigators in 2013. In 2016, she was the inaugural recipient of the international Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Junior Award for Independent Research Excellence. She received an Exceptional Professor Award from the Associated Students of Washington State University in 2018.
Sarah Kocher, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Princeton University, jointly appointed in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. She received her Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University, where she studied behavioral ecology and quantitative genetics under the mentorship of Drs. Christina Grozinger and Trudy Mackay. As a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Naomi Pierce and Hopi Hoekstra in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, she developed halictid bees as a model
system to examine how genetic and environmental factors shape variation in social behavior. Her lab’s research bridges the gap between population and evolutionary genetics, neurobiology, and behavior.
Arnaud Martin, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at The George Washington University in the department of biological sciences. Prior to his role as assistant professor he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California (UC), Berkeley; Cornell University; and UC Irvine. He got his Ph.D. in 2012 in biological sciences from UC Irvine in the Evolutionary Genetics group with his thesis on “The Developmental Genetics of Color Pattern Evolution in Butterflies.” His current research interest lies in the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying pattern formation and structural coloration in butterfly wings.
David C. Page (NAS, NAM), M.D., is the director and the president of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Dr. Page earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. He joined the Whitehead Institute, as the first Whitehead Fellow, in 1984. Dr. Page’s laboratory explores fundamental differences between males and females in health and disease, both within and beyond the reproductive tract. The Page lab recently discovered that XY and XX sex chromosomes account for subtle differences in the molecular biology of male and female cells throughout the body.
Aviv Regev (NAS), Ph.D., a computational and systems biologist, is a core member and the chair of the faculty at the Broad Institute, a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Dr. Regev’s research centers on combining experimental and computational approaches to decipher how complex molecular circuits function in cells and between cells in tissues. She is the founding director of the Klarman Cell Observatory and Cell Circuits Program at the Broad Institute, and the founding co-chair of the international initiative to build a Human Cell Atlas, whose mission is to create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells—the fundamental units of life—as a basis for both understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease. Her lab has been a pioneer of single-cell genomics—inventing key experimental methods and computational algorithms in the field and demonstrating how to apply it to understand cell taxonomies, histological organization, differentiation, and physiological processes, and how to infer the molecular and cellular circuits that control the function of cells and tissues in health and disease. Among her honors are
the National Institutes of Health’s Director’s Pioneer Award, the Overton Prize, and the Innovator Award from the International Society for Computational Biology, the Earl and Thressa Stadtman Scholar Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Paul Marks Prize. She is a fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ronald Sandler, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy, the chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and the director of the Ethics Institute at Northeastern University. His primary areas of research are environmental ethics, ethics and emerging technologies, and ethical theory. Dr. Sandler is the author of Environmental Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2017), Food Ethics (Routledge, 2014), The Ethics of Species (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and Character and Environment (Columbia University Press, 2007), as well as the editor or co-editor of Ethics and Emerging Technologies (Palgrave, 2014), Environmental Justice and Environmentalism (MIT Press, 2007), and Environmental Virtue Ethics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2013).
Rahul Satija, Ph.D., is a core member and an assistant investigator at the New York Genome Center (NYGC), with a joint appointment as an assistant professor at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University. Dr. Satija’s group focuses on developing computational and experimental methods to sequence and interpret the molecular contents of a single cell. His group applies single-cell genomics to understand the causes and consequences of cell-to-cell variation, with a particular focus on immune regulation and early development. His group has developed and maintained the R package Seurat for the analysis, exploration, and integration of single-cell data. Dr. Satija holds a B.S. in biology and music from Duke University and obtained his Ph.D. in statistics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to joining NYGC, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he developed new methods for single-cell analysis.
Saurabh Sinha, Ph.D., is a professor of computer science and the Carl R. Woese Institute of Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Dr. Sinha’s research is in the broad area of bioinformatics. He develops computational methods that decipher how properties of organisms are encoded in the DNA. His research has specifically focused on the parts of DNA that control the activities of genes—the so-called regulatory DNA. He uses techniques from a variety of disciplines including physics, statistics, and machine learning to model regulatory DNA and predict its biological function. Dr. Sinha has collaborated extensively with biologists to understand the role of regulatory DNA in several important
biological processes, including embryonic development, social behavior, and cancer. He has also made important contributions to explaining how regulatory DNA evolves across species. More recently, Dr. Sinha served as the co-director of the National Institutes of Health’s BD2K Center of Excellence at UIUC (2014–2018), and led a team of more than 30 researchers and programmers to build an entire suite of computational tools for genomics data analysis. Dr. Sinha has been recognized as a university scholar and is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is an active member of his research community, is in the core organizing team for numerous conferences, and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Computational Biology.
Francois Spitz, Ph.D., is a professor at The University of Chicago and studies the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that control gene expression during vertebrate development, with a specific emphasis on the interplay between the structural organization of the genome and gene regulation. Genes controlling embryonic development and organ formation are often regulated by genomic elements located far away from them. Dr. Spitz and others have shown that the influence of these distant elements is highly dependent on the folding of the chromosome in specific domains and loops. Dr. Spitz and others have developed a series of in vivo genomic engineering tools to unravel the genetic and molecular underpinnings of the associated processes. These experiments reveal key organizing principles of the architecture of the genome, how they may influence genome function and contribute to human phenotypic diversity and genetic susceptibility to diseases. Dr. Spitz aims to understand how changes in genome organisation (e.g., resulting from chromosomal rearrangements) or mutations of architectural elements may lead to developmental malformations or oncogenic transformations by perturbing normal enhancer-gene communications and identify new ways to correct such molecular dysfunctions.
Nathan Springer, Ph.D., is a McKnight Presidential Endowed Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2000 and his thesis research in Dr. Ron Phillips lab involved cloning of DNA methyltransferases from maize and analysis of anueploid-induced syndromes. Dr. Springer was a postdoctoral research in Shawn Kaeppler’s group at the University of Wisconsin–Madison working on functional genomics of maize chromatin. He joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2003. Members of the Springer lab use classical genetic, molecular genetic, and genomic approaches to study natural variation for gene expression and chromatin in maize. The Springer research group has also been involved in research on imprinting, heterosis, and structural genomic variation in maize.
Norbert Tavares, Ph.D., is a microbiologist and a biochemist by training and is a science program manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where he manages Single-Cell Biology programs that support the international Human Cell Atlas Consortium. Previously, Dr. Tavares served at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Science & Technology Policy Fellow. In his role, he helped to identify and support emerging and innovative solutions to cancer research problems and managed interdisciplinary trans-institute/agency grant programs. He completed his Ph.D. and postdoctoral work at the University of Georgia, investigating bacterial biosynthesis of coenzyme B12 and Sirtuin-dependent posttranslational modification.
Rebecca L. Walker, Ph.D., is a professor of social medicine, a professor of philosophy, and core faculty in the Center for Bioethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has published widely on topics in animal and human research ethics, medical ethics, and methods of bioethics including virtue ethics. Her co-edited volumes include Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (Oxford University Press, 2007); Health Inequalities and Justice: New Conversations Across the Disciplines (UNC Press, 2016) and the two volume series, The Social Medicine Reader, 3rd edition (Duke University Press, 2019). She is the co-principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health–funded project, Comparative Model Organism Research Ethics for Healthy Volunteers.
Patricia Wittkopp, Ph.D., is a biologist working at the interface of developmental, evolutionary, and computational biology. She earned her B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1997, studying interactions among genes; her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 2002, studying the evolution of development; and was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University studying how gene expression evolves. In 2005, she returned to her alma matter, the University of Michigan, as an assistant professor. Dr. Wittkopp is now the Sally L. Allen and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan. She is also affiliated with the Center for Computational Medicine and Bio-informatics, Center for Statistical Genetics, and Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Wittkopp studies the genetic basis of trait differences within and between species, with an emphasis on the regulation of gene expression.