2024 Speakers

Angela Brooks

As a splicing specialist, Angela Brooks’s goal is to identify weaknesses in the cancer genome. A Pew Scholar, Brooks is an expert in the analysis of RNA sequencing data and is especially interested in the role of RNA splicing in gene expression. Brooks co-led a research group in the Pan-cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (Pan-cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) project, which contributed to the analysis of more than 2,600 genomes of 38 different tumor types, creating a huge resource of primary cancer genomes. Brooks’s Pan-Cancer research focused on changes in gene expression revealed by sequencing the RNA molecules in […]


Anshul Kundaje

Anshul Kundaje is Associate Professor of Genetics and Computer Science at Stanford University. The Kundaje lab develops statistical and machine learning methods for large-scale integrative analysis of functional genomic data to decode regulatory DNA and networks across diverse cell types and tissues and understand their role in cellular function and disease. Anshul completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2008 from Columbia University. As a postdoc at Stanford University from 2008-2012 and a research scientist at MIT and the Broad Institute from 2012-2014, he led the integrative analysis efforts for two of the largest functional genomics consortia – The Encyclopedia […]


Bridgett vonHoldt

Bridgett vonHoldt is an associate professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Her research focuses on evolutionary genomics of admixed species, hybrid zones, and consequence of natural selection on the regulatory genome. She has carried out extensive studies on wild and domesticated canines. Her research has significant conservation applications for endangered species like the red wolf and gray wolf of North America. She also has discovered genetic factors that shape the evolution of social behavior of dogs as a result of their domestication from wolves. One of her research goals is to unravel genotype-phenotype evolution in in wild […]


Dr. Kristin Laidre

Dr. Kristin Laidre is a Principal Scientist at the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington working on problems of applied animal ecology in the Arctic. She is a Professor at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and is partially supported by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk, Greenland. She was named a Pew Marine Conservation fellow in 2017. Kristin’s research is focused on broad questions about Arctic marine mammals. Her research is field-based, largely empirical, and focuses on using quantitative data on individual movements, foraging behavior, and life history to unite behavioral, population, and […]


Dr. Stephanie Hicks

Dr. Stephanie Hicks is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins BSPH where she is also a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Data Science Lab, and has affiliations with the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, Center for Computational Biology, the Department of Genetic Medicine, and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is an expert in developing scalable computational methods and open-source software for biomedical data analysis, in particular single-cell and spatial transcriptomics genomics data, leading to an improved understanding of human health and disease. She serves on a variety of boards including the Bioconductor […]


Federica Di Palma

Federica Di Palma, is a Professor at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and the Founder and Director of Science is Global strategy and consulting. She is passionate about exploring and preserving Biodiversity around the world. She leads a number of multidisciplinary research programmes which use genomics approaches to understand how evolutionary and environmental pressures have shaped the diversity of vertebrate species with implications for food, environment and livelihoods. She is a visiting scientist at the Earlham Institute, where she was the former Director of Science, and at Broad Institute in Cambridge Ma (US), where she was […]


Kathleen Rubins

Kathleen Rubins was selected by NASA in 2009.  Rubins completed her first spaceflight on Expedition 48/49, where she became the first person to sequence DNA in space. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of California and a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Stanford University Medical School Biochemistry Department and Microbiology and Immunology Department.  Dr. Rubins conducted her undergraduate research on HIV-1 integration in the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.  She worked as a Fellow/Principal Investigator at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and headed 14 researchers studying viral diseases […]


Kirsten Bos

Kirsten Bos is a specialist in ancient DNA research, with a focus on bacterial pathogens. Most of her work has centered on evolutionary questions related to medieval plague, tuberculosis, salmonella and treponema, with revelations coming from a variety of archaeological contexts and time periods. She is currently research group leader for Molecular Paleopathology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Her research is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant (until 2024), as well as the Max Planck Society. In addition to her scientific work, Kirsten has accumulated almost 20 years of orchestral experience with […]


Mark Blaxter

Mark Blaxter leads the Sanger’s Tree of Life programme, which is generating and analyzing reference genome sequences from many thousands of species across the tree of life. The initial focus has been on the eukaryotic biota of Britain and Ireland (Darwin Tree of Life Project), the genomes of symbiotic organisms (Aquatic Symbiosis Genomics project) and international initiatives under the umbrella of the Earth BioGenome Project. His research portfolio focuses on the genomics of neglected, non-model organisms and the interpretation of those genomes in ecological and evolutionary contexts (including, inter alia, parasitic and free living nematodes, tardigrades, gastropod and bivalve molluscs, […]


Melina Claussnitzer

Melina Claussnitzer is an institute member at the Broad Institute, and an assistant professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (HMS). She also co-directs the Type 2 Diabetes Systems Genomics Initiative at the Broad, and serves as the associate director of scientific strategy for the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Genomic Mechanisms of Disease at the Broad. Her lab focuses on the conversion of disease-associated genetic variants to function (V2F) and, more specifically, on the dissection of the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes and its comorbidities into actionable therapeutics. This focus requires a concerted, systematic effort to […]


Michael Schatz

Johns Hopkins University Michael Schatz, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Biology at Johns Hopkins University, is among the world’s foremost experts in solving computational problems in genomics research. His innovative biotechnologies and computational tools to study the sequence and function of genomes are advancing the understanding of the structure, evolution, and function of genomes for medicine – particularly autism spectrum disorders, cancer, and other human diseases – and agriculture. Schatz, who founded and directs the Schatz Lab, has created many of the most widely used methods and software to assemble the full genetic material for a single person or […]


Sean Eddy

Sean Eddy is a computational biologist at Harvard University. Before moving to Harvard in 2015, he was a group leader at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus, and before that, a faculty member in the Genetics department at Washington University in St. Louis. He received a bachelor’s degree from Caltech, a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and did postdoctoral work at NeXagen in Boulder and at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK.


Elinor Karlsson, PhD

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Elinor Karlsson, PhD, is associate professor in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology at the UMass Chan Medical School, and director of Vertebrate Genomics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Her research combines new technology, community science and genomics to investigate diseases and discover the origins of exceptional mammalian traits.  Dr. Karlsson’s research includes the Zoonomia project, an international effort to compare the genomes of over 240 mammals (from the African Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax to the Woodland Dormouse), to identify segments of DNA that are important for survival and health.  Dr. Karlsson has a special interest in dog genetics, and […]