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2023 Speakers

Alex Cagan

Researcher at Wellcome Sanger Institute

Alex Cagan investigates evolutionary processes in somatic tissue. His research focuses on characterising mutation and selection in healthy tissues and how this relates to cancer and ageing. Evolution is often considered to be an almost imperceptibly slow process. However, the cells that compose our own bodies are constantly acquiring mutations. Some of these mutations may influence cellular phenotypes, such as growth, resulting in clonal expansions. Over time the body may become a patchwork of clones.

Solenne Correard

Research associate at the Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer, Vancouver, Canada.

Solenne is a molecular biologist and bioinformatician passionate about the complexity of human and non-human genomes, interested in using genomic to help navigate some of today’s worldwide challenges, such as ensuring equal access to personalized medicine to everyone around the globe, regardless of their origin or economic background, and studying climate change repercussions on earth biodiversity and fresh water / food supply to help prevent future dramatic events.

Love Dalen

Professor at Centre for Palaeogenetics, Stockholm, University

Love Dalen’s general research interests are focused on the use of DNA technology to investigate the ecology and evolution of different species, and how past environmental changes have determined the distribution and abundance of organisms.

Dame Sue Hill 

Chief Scientific Officer at NHS England

Professor Dame Sue Hill OBE PhD DSC CBiol FRSB Hon FRCP Hon FRCPath is the Chief Scientific Officer for England – providing expert clinical scientific advice across the health system and head of profession for the healthcare science workforce in the NHS and associated bodies – embracing more than 50 separate scientific specialisms.

Carolyn Hogg

Population Biologist at The University of Sydney

Carolyn has been working on the conservation of threatened species for over twenty-five years both in Australia and overseas. She is currently the Senior Research Manager for the Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group in the Faculty of Science. She has been working with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program for the past ten years; in addition to other species such as orange-bellied parrots, koalas, bilbies, and woylies.

Working closely with both her academic and conservation management partners her vision is to create a conservation legacy for Australia by changing the way we integrate science, management, and policy; to proactively promote species’ resilience in the face of a changing world. We are achieving this by developing better tools and technologies to integrate molecular genetics into real-time conservation management decisions.

Duncan MacCannell

Chief Science Officer at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Office of Advanced Molecular Detection

Duncan MacCannell is the chief science officer for the CDC’s Office of Advanced Molecular Detection (OAMD), where he helps coordinate the implementation and support of pathogen genomics, bioinformatics, high-performance computing and other innovative laboratory technologies across the CDC’s four infectious disease centers.

Judith Mank

Professor and Lab Director at The University of British Columbia

Judith Mark uses evolutionary, genomic, and population genetic tools to ask fundamental questions related to how selection acts on males and females within a species, and how the genome responds to contradictory selection to encode sexually dimorphic traits.

Alicia Martin

Assistant Investigator at Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit at Mass General Research Institute and Harvard Medical School

Alicia R. Martin, Ph.D., is an Instructor in Investigation at the Analytic & Translational Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an Associated Scientist at the Broad Institute affiliated with the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research and the Medical and Population Genetics Program. As a population and statistical geneticist, her research examines the role of human history in shaping global genetic and phenotypic diversity.

Karen Miga

Assistant Professor at UC Santa Cruz

Karen Miga, assistant professor of biomolecular engineering at UC Santa Cruz, was named one of the 100 most influential people of 2022 by TIME. The honor was announced on May 23.

Miga and her colleagues, Adam Phillippy, Evan Eichler, and Michael Schatz, led an international team of scientists — the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) Consortium — to complete the first, gapless sequence of the human genome. Parts of the human genome are now available to study for the first time, allowing researchers to better understand genetic diseases, human diversity, and evolution.

Freda Miller

Deputy Director and Professor at The University of British Columbia

Dr. Miller joins UBC from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where she was a Senior Scientist and Professor at the University of Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and at the Hospital for Sick Children she was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Research Scholar and the Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neurobiology. Most recently, Dr. Miller’s accomplishments were recognized by the naming of the “Dr. Freda Miller” public school by the Calgary Board of Education.

Benedict Paten

Associate Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Benedict Paten is an associate professor in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and an associate director of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute. He oversees the Computational Genomics Lab and Computational Genomics Platform groups at UCSC, which together are broadly focused on computational genomics, creating algorithms, software, and services addressing biomolecular challenges.

Pardis Sabeti

Professor at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Dr. Sabeti’s lab focuses on developing new analytical and genomic methods to study evolutionary adaptation and genetic diversity in humans and pathogens, with three current research foci: (1) Identifying and characterizing the underlying adaptive changes that have shaped the human species over time; and (2) Investigating genetic diversity in pathogens such as Lassa virus, Ebola virus, Zika virus, and Babesia microti, towards improved diagnostics, surveillance, and interventions, and (3) Developing novels tools to detect and diagnose microbes causing human morbidity and mortality.

Beth Shapiro

Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz

Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. As Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz and HHMI Investigator, Beth uses DNA recovered from bones and other remains to study how species evolved through time and how human activities affected this dynamic process. Her PhD research developed tools to infer changes in species’ abundance and distribution from chronological samples of genetic data.

Winston Timp

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hoplins University

Winston Timp, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, focuses on the development and application of sequencing technologies to gain a deeper understanding of biology and a more accurate set of clinical tools for human disease. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.