Speakers

Portrait of Ami Bhatt

Leslie Biesecker

National Human Genome Research Institute

Dr. Biesecker is a clinical and molecular geneticist and Chief of the Medical Genomics and Metabolic Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health, which he joined in 1993. He uses genetic and genomic technologies to study heritable disorders and has published over 300 primary research articles, reviews, and chapters. His laboratory has elucidated the etiology and natural history of numerous diseases. In addition, he developed the ClinSeq® program, which began clinical genomics research in 2006, before the widespread availability of next generation sequencing. He co-directs a CLIA-certified molecular diagnostic laboratory within NHGRI.

Dr. Biesecker is an editor or board member for several biomedical journals, was a member of the board of directors for the American Society of Human Genetics, and served on the advisory panels for the World Trade Center victim identification effort. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Science and has been elected to be the President of the American Society of Human Genetics for 2019.

Kym Boycott

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Kym Boycott is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa in Canada, where she is a Clinical Geneticist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and a Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute. Dr. Boycott’s research program in rare diseases bridges clinical medicine to basic research and is focused on understanding the molecular pathogenesis of these disorders to improve patient care and family well-being. She leads the national Care4Rare Canada Consortium integrating genomic and other –omic technologies to improve our understanding of rare disease, with a particular focus on solving the unsolved and most difficult rare diseases. To leverage these discoveries, she co-leads the Canadian Rare Diseases: Models & Mechanisms Network, established to catalyze connections between newly discovered rare disease genes and basic scientists who can rapidly study them in model systems. Globally, she moves the rare disease agenda forward through her roles in the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, and the Global Commission to End the Diagnostic Odyssey for Children.

Daniel Geschwind

University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Geschwind is the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, Neurology and Psychiatry at UCLA. In his capacity as Senior Associate Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Precision Health, he leads the Institute for Precision Health at UCLA. His laboratory has pioneered the application of systems biology methods in neurologic and psychiatric disease, with a focus on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and neurodegenerative conditions. A goal of this work is to understand how genetic variation increases risk for disease, fueling therapeutic development via improved understanding of causal factors and disease mechanisms.  Dr. Geschwind has also put considerable effort into fostering large-scale collaborative patient resources for genetic research and data sharing in autism research. He has served on several scientific advisory boards, including the Faculty of 1000 Medicine, the Scientific Advisory Board for the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the NIMH Advisory Council and the NIH Council of Councils. He has published over 400 papers and currently serves on the editorial boards of CellNeuron and Science.  He has received several awards for his laboratory’s work and leadership including the Ruane Prize from the Brain and Behavior Foundation in 2013 and the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association (ANA) in 2004.  He is an elected Member of the American Association of Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine.

Katherine High

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Dr. Kathy High, an accomplished hematologist with a longstanding interest in gene therapy for genetic disease, began her career studying the molecular basis of blood coagulation and the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of bleeding disorders.

Her pioneering bench-to-bedside studies of gene therapy for hemophilia led to a series of studies that characterized the human immune response to AAV vectors in a variety of target tissues. Kathy’s work has evolved to encompass clinical translation of potential gene therapies for multiple inherited disorders. As the director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Kathy assembled a multidisciplinary team of scientists and researchers working to discover new gene and cell therapies for genetic diseases and to facilitate rapid translation of preclinical discoveries into clinical application.

Professor Dame Sue Hill

Chief Scientific Officer for England

Professor Dame Sue Hill Professor Sue Hill DBE PhD DSc CBiol FRSB Hon FRCP Hon FRCPath is the Chief Scientific Officer for England and the head of profession for the healthcare science workforce in the NHS and associated bodies, providing professional leadership and expert clinical advice across the health and care system.  She is a respiratory scientist by background with an international academic and clinical research reputation.

Professor Hill has a broad portfolio of policy responsibilities and for the past decade she has led a variety of major system and workforce transformation initiatives for the Government to improve patient outcomes and service effectiveness in the NHS and beyond.

Sue is the Senior Responsible Officer for Genomics in NHS England, driving the programme to introduce a nationwide Genomic Medicine Service transforming care pathways across a wide range of clinical conditions. This builds on her work in leading the NHS contribution to the 100,000 Genomes Project.  Additionally, Sue provides strategic leadership for the Health Education England Genomics Education Programme.

David Hyman

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

David Hyman is Chief of Early Drug Development at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He leads a large multidisciplinary group of researchers and physicians to conduct a variety of early phase clinical studies including first-in-human studies, novel combinations of investigational therapy, and histology-independent, molecularly selected “basket” studies. Under his direction, this service enrolls approximately 300 patients each year to a clinical trial portfolio of 40 early phase studies. In addition to conducting first-in-human studies, Dr. Hyman’s personal research has focused on the development of genomically selected targeted therapies. In particular, Dr. Hyman has helped to pioneer the use of multi-histology, genomically selected, “basket” studies which select patients based on the mutations harbored in their cancer rather than where the cancer came from. Dr. Hyman led the first-in-kind basket study that evaluated vemurafenib in BRAFV600 mutant cancers and published his initial findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Hyman also led global development of larotrectinib in TRK-fusion positive cancers, establishing this as the first ever targeted therapy to be highly efficacious in tumor agnostic manner, also publishing these results in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Hyman also published the results of another basket study of in ERBB2 mutant cancers in Nature, one of the first clinical trials ever published in this journal. Dr. Hyman has published extensively on the design and conduct of precision medicine and basket studies as well as their utility and limitations in multiple journals including Cell, Cancer Discover, JCO and PLOS Medicine. Dr. Hyman’s translational research is focused on understanding how the consequences of pathway inhibition vary as a function of tumor cell lineage and the complement of co-mutations within tumor cells. Dr. Hyman also has clinical expertise in gynecological cancers with a special interest in treating women with uterine sarcomas.

Bruce Korf

University of Alabama, Birmingham

Dr. Korf is the Chief Genomics Officer, UAB Medicine, Wayne H. and Sara Crews Finley Endowed Chair in Medical Genetics, Professor of Genetics, Co-Director of the UAB-HudsonAlpha Center for Genomic Medicine, Associate Director for Rare Diseases, Hugh Kaul Personalized Medicine Institute and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

He is a medical geneticist, pediatrician, and child neurologist, certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (clinical genetics, clinical cytogenetics, and clinical molecular genetics), American Board of Pediatrics, and American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (child neurology). Dr. Korf is past president of the Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics, past president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, and current president of the ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine.  He has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH. His major research interests are molecular diagnosis of genetic disorders and the natural history, genetics, and treatment of neurofibromatosis.  He serves as principal investigator of the Department of Defense funded Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium, the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative, and the Southern All of Us Network. He is co-author of Human Genetics and Genomics (medical student textbook, now in fourth edition), Medical Genetics at a Glance (medical student textbook (now in third edition), Emery and Rimoin’s Principles and Practice of Medical Genetics (now in 6th edition), and Current Protocols in Human Genetics.

Dennis Lo

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dennis Lo is the Li Ka Shing Professor of Medicine and Professor of Chemical Pathology of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He obtained his undergraduate medical training from the University of Cambridge and his Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Oxford. He discovered the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma in 1997 and has translated this discovery into a new platform for non-invasive prenatal testing which is now used globally. He has received numerous awards and honors for his research, including elections to the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, and awards of the Future Science Prize in 2016.

John Mattick

Genomics England 

John Mattick was until recently the Chief Executive of Genomics England. He was previously Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, where he established a major genome sequencing facility and one of the first clinically accredited genome analysis enterprises

He was a member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC) of the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council, where he was involved in the development of the National Statement on the Ethical Conduct of Research involving Humans, and the joint Australian Law Reform Commission / AHEC Enquiry into the Protection of Human Genetic Information. Inter alia, he has also been a member of the Council of Scientists of the Human Frontier Science Program, and Chair of several Genome Canada competitions and reviews.  

Professor Mattick is known for his work showing that the majority of the human genome is not junk but rather specifies an RNA-based regulatory system that organises our development. His honours and awards include the inaugural Gutenberg Professorship of the University of Strasbourg, the Order of Australia, Fellowship of the Australian Academies of Science, Technology & Engineering, and Health & Medical Sciences, Foreign Membership of the European Molecular Biology Organization, Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Medal, the Human Genome Organisation Chen Award for Distinguished Achievement in Human Genetic & Genomic Research, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Bertner Award for Distinguished Contributions to Cancer Research.

Jill Mesirov

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Jill Mesirov is associate vice chancellor for computational health sciences and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.  As associate vice chancellor, Mesirov is responsible for the overarching strategy for computational health sciences and research computing at UC San Diego School of Medicine.  She is a member of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, where she serves as co-lead for the structural and functional cancer genomics research program.

Mesirov is a computational scientist who has spent many years working in the area of high-performance computing on problems that arise in science, engineering, and business applications. Her research focuses on cancer genomics applying machine-learning methods to functional data derived from patient tumors. The lab analyzes this molecular data to determine the underlying biological mechanisms of specific tumor subtypes, to stratify patients according to their relative risks of relapse, and to identify candidate compounds for new treatments. In addition, Mesirov is committed to the development of practical, accessible software tools to bring these methods to the general biomedical research community.  Her tools support almost 500,000 users worldwide.

Eric Minikel and Sonia Vallabh

Broad Institute

In 2010, Sonia Vallabh watched her 52 year old mother die of a rapid, mysterious, undiagnosed neurodegenerative disease. One year later, Sonia learned that her mother’s disease had been genetic, and that she herself had inherited the causal mutation, making it very likely she would suffer the same fate in 20 years’ time. There was no prevention, treatment, or cure available. Despite having no prior training in biology, Sonia and her husband Eric Minikel set out to re-train themselves as scientists and devote their lives to searching for a treatment or cure for her disease. They quit their jobs in consulting, started a scientific blog, began taking night classes and attending conferences, found new jobs in research labs, and eventually enrolled as PhD students in biology at Harvard Medical School. They are now based at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard where they have launched a new therapeutic initiative to discover drugs for her disease.

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Stephen Montgomery

Stanford University

Stephen B. Montgomery is an Associate Professor of Pathology, Genetics and, by courtesy, Computer Science at Stanford University. His laboratory focuses on both functional genomics and bioinformatics approaches to understanding the molecular origins of genetic diseases. Dr. Montgomery has been an active member of multiple large-scale consortia including GTEx and MoTrPAC. His laboratory has developed novel transcriptome-based approaches to identifying impactful rare variants in individuals, families and populations and for measuring gene-by-environment effects.

Eric Topol, MD

Scripps Research Translational Institute

Eric Topol is the Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute (SRTI), Professor, Molecular Medicine, and Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research, As a researcher, he has published over 1200 peer-reviewed articles, with more than 200,000 citations, elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine (Thomson Reuters ISI, “Doctor of the Decade”). His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine—and the power that brings to individuals to drive the future of medicine.

In 2016, Topol was awarded a $207M grant from the NIH to lead a significant part of the Precision Medicine (All of Us) Initiative, a prospective research program that aims to enroll 1 million participants in the US. Prior to coming to lead Scripps SRTI in 2007, for which he is the principal investigator of a flagship $35M NIH CTSA grant, he led the Cleveland Clinic to become the #1 center for heart care and was the founder of a new medical school there. He has been voted as the #1 most Influential physician leader in the United States in a national poll conducted by Modern Healthcare. Besides editing several textbooks, he has published 2 bestseller books on the future of medicine: The Creative Destruction of Medicine and The Patient Will See You Now. His new book Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Health Care Human Again, will be published in early 2019.

Anne Wojcicki

23andMe

Anne co-founded 23andMe in 2006 after a decade spent in healthcare investing, focused primarily on biotechnology companies. Her hope was to empower consumers with access to their own genetic information and to create a way to generate more personalized information so that commercial and academic researchers could better understand and develop new drugs and diagnostics. Presently, 23andMe has built one of the world’s largest databases of individual genetic information. Its novel, web-based research approach allows for the rapid recruitment of participants to many genome-wide association studies at once, reducing the time and money needed to make new discoveries, and the company has created a proven and standardized resource for finding new genetic association and confirming genetic loci discovered by others. Under Anne’s leadership 23andMe has made significant advances in bringing personalized medicine directly to the public. Anne graduated from Yale University with a BS in Biology. Getting access to and understanding her own genetic information had always been one of her ambitions.

Alicia Zhou

Color Genomics

Dr. Zhou leads Color’s research and scientific affairs team. She is responsible for leading research collaborations with academic institutions, biopharmaceutical companies, and large population initiatives. She is also responsible for managing a team that initiates, executes, and publishes peer-reviewed manuscripts and posters by Color’s scientists and engineers. In addition, Dr. Zhou is an active part of Color’s market development team for population genomics and population research. Dr. Zhou received her Ph.D. at Harvard and performed her postdoctoral work at UCSF with an emphasis on cancer genetics.

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