Dr. Detlev Arendt, has been an ERC advanced investigator since 2012. He has served as a group leader and senior scientist at EMBL since 2007. In 2002 Dr. Arendt became a team leader. He received his PhD in 1999 from Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany.
Cori Bargmann, a neurobiologist and geneticist, leads the Science program at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and is also the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at The Rockefeller University. Her research on the relationships between genes, motivational states, and behavior has been recognized by membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, among other honors. Prior to joining CZI, Cori served as co-chair with Bill Newsome of the NIH working group that planned the BRAIN Initiative, and was an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Jeffrey Barrett has rejoined the Wellcome Sanger Institute to help build the Sanger Institute’s comprehensive Covid-19 genomic surveillance program in the UK. Previously Jeff was Director of Open Targets, an open innovation partnership to use cutting-edge genomic results to improve the early stages of drug development. His research team at Sanger analyzed thousands of genomes to better understand the biology of a wide range of complex disorders.
I became interested in human disease genetics during a research project in Mark Daly’s lab at the Whitehead Institute while I was a student at MIT. After graduating I joined Mark’s group full-time where I developed software tools, including the widely used Haploview program. As I became interested in pursuing genetics as a career, I moved to Lon Cardon’s group in Oxford for a D. Phil in Statistics. I helped design the first generation of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and was a lead analyst for the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. Contrary to my assumption that I’d move back to the States, I couldn’t turn down a post-doc opportunity in David Clayton’s group in Cambridge, where I worked on meta-analyses and follow-up of GWAS in both inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes, each of which resulted in the identification of twenty novel associations.
I moved to the Sanger Institute in November 2008 to start a team in medical genomics (and committing myself to the UK for the long haul!). My team has used GWAS as a tool to explore the overlapping genetic architecture of diseases of inflammation, immunity, and infection including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis and malaria. More recently, the team has also analyzed large scale exome-sequencing datasets to probe the contribution of rare genetic variation in developmental disorders, autism and schizophrenia.
My leadership roles have included editorships at Bioinformatics and Human Molecular Genetics, the management committees of the WTCCC3, UK10K and DDD studies, and co-chairmanship of the International IBD Genetics Consortium.
Dr. Trevor Bedford, Fred Hutch, uses powerful computers and complex statistical methods to study the rapid spread and evolution of viruses, including those that cause COVID-19, influenza, Ebola and Zika. Data gathered from these processes help researchers develop successful strategies for monitoring and controlling infectious diseases. His visual representations of viral family trees are used to show how the fate of dangerous outbreaks is often determined by the genetics of the infectious agent, human behavior and geography. Dr. Bedford has applied these techniques to document the worldwide spread of COVID-19 and of seasonal flu viruses. He is developing models to predict which strains of influenza are likely to be most challenging to humans — data that help inform the crucial early decisions about which strains to include in annual flu shots. He specializes in tracking the evolutionary changes of viruses such as HIV and influenza that use RNA, rather than DNA, to carry their genetic information. RNA viruses are much more prone to rapid mutation, which makes many of them particularly nimble at escaping the human immune system and difficult to stop with vaccines. He co-developed an open-source platform called Nextstrain that provides a continually updated view of publicly available viral genomic data alongside powerful analytic and visualization tools. He is a leading advocate for the immediate release of research analyzing viral evolution during epidemics, fresh information that can make a lifesaving difference.
Vence L. Bonham, Jr. J.D. is the senior advisor to the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) on genomics and health disparities. Mr. Bonham is also an associate investigator in the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Division of Intramural Research’s Social and Behavioral Research Branch. He leads the Health Disparities Unit, which investigates the equitable integration of new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings. His research focuses primarily on the social implications of new genomic knowledge, including the role of genomics in exacerbating or ameliorating racial and ethnic health inequities.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his Juris Doctor degree from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. Prior to joining the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, Mr. Bonham was a tenured faculty member at Michigan State University with appointments in the Colleges of Medicine and Law.
Josh Denny is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program. He has been involved in All of Us from its inception, first as a member of the Advisory Committee to the (NIH) Director Precision Medicine Initiative Working Group, which developed the program’s initial scientific blueprint. He led the program’s initial prototyping project and served as the principal investigator for the All of Us Data and Research Center.
As a physician scientist, Josh is deeply committed to improving patient care through the advancement of precision medicine. Before joining the NIH, Josh was a Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine, Director of the Center for Precision Medicine, and Vice President for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In his roles at VUMC, he was both a practicing internist and a researcher. His research interests include use of electronic health records (EHRs) and genomics to better understand disease and drug response. He also led efforts implementing precision medicine to improve patient outcomes. Josh was a leader in the development of phenome‐wide association studies (PheWAS) and phenotype risk scores. He served as PI for Vanderbilt sites in the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network, Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN), and the Implementing Genomics into Practice (IGNITE) Network.
He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American College of Medical Informatics.
Rory Collins is an epidemiologist who studies how to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease in large population-based studies. He trained in Medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, London University, and Statistics at George Washington and Oxford Universities.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Rory coordinated the ISIS “mega-trials” of the emergency treatment of heart attacks involving more than 130,00 patients. These trials showed that clot-dissolving and clot-preventing treatment could more than halve mortality, and these treatments rapidly became part of routine care (and paved the way for non-pharmaceutical approaches to opening coronary arteries).
Since the early 1990s, he has been involved in conducting large-scale randomized trials of the effects of modifying blood levels of cholesterol. For example, the 20,000 patient Heart Protection Study that he led showed that lowering LDL-cholesterol with statin therapy safely reduces the risk of death and disability from heart attacks and strokes among a much wider range of people than previously thought to benefit from such treatment. As a consequence, statin therapy is now used extensively worldwide.
He became Principal Investigator of the UK Biobank study in September 2005. Involving 500,000 participants, it is the largest deeply characterised prospective epidemiological study of disease in the world, and is being made available for any type of health-related research by researchers worldwide.
Rory is the Head of the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford. He was knighted for services to Science in 2011 and was elected to the UK Royal Society in 2015. He was awarded the UK Medical Research Council’s 2020 Millennium Medal for his national and international contributions to both cardiovascular disease and UK Biobank.
Mary De Silva leads the Population Health team which directs Wellcome’s funding of population health research in the UK and in low- and middle-income countries.
Our portfolio spans aetiological research to understand the individual and wider determinants of health, and translational science to develop and test effective and scalable interventions to prevent and treat ill health, ensure health systems are robust, and that evidence is translated into policy and practice.
Current strategic areas of interest include Wellcome’s Longitudinal Population Studies Strategy, catalysing advances in nutrition, health of the public and multi-morbidity research, and strengthening the pathways through which research evidence improves health. I also co-developed and sit on the Programme Board for the Mental Health Priority Area at Wellcome, a new research investment of £200 million.
Before joining Wellcome I was Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. My research included the design and evaluation of complex interventions to improve mental health in low- and middle-income countries, implementation research to ensure that these interventions are scalable and sustainable, and policy influence work to encourage the translation of evidence into policy and practice. I also co-founded and led the Mental Health Innovation Network (http://www.mhinnovation.net/).
David Glazer is an engineering director and CTO of the Terra project at Verily Life Sciences, where he helps life science organizations use cloud computing to accelerate and scale their work with big data. He is a PI for the Data and Research Center, and a member of the Steering Committee, of the NIH All of Us Research Program, and he serves on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director. He is co-chair of the Cloud Workstream, and a member of the Steering Committee, of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). He is a Founding Member of, and on the Organizing Committee for, the International Common Disease Alliance. He previously worked at Google, where he founded the Google Genomics team, and led a variety of platform, product, and infrastructure teams. Prior to joining Google in 2006, he successfully started two companies: Eloquent in 1995 (IPO 2000), which used rich media to power business communications, and Verity in 1988 (IPO 1995), which did full-text search. David grew up in Massachusetts, where he earned a BS in physics from MIT.
Sekar Kathiresan is co-founder and chief executive officer of Verve Therapeutics and serves on the company’s board of directors. He is a preventive cardiologist who has made groundbreaking discoveries of cardioprotective genetic mutations, which confer resistance to cardiovascular disease. Prior to joining Verve, he served as director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Genomic Medicine and was the Ofer and Shelly Nemirovsky MGH Research Scholar. He also served as director of the Cardiovascular Disease Initiative at the Broad Institute and was professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research laboratory focused on understanding the inherited basis for blood lipids and myocardial infarction and using these insights to improve preventive cardiac care. Among his scientific contributions, he 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. He was honored with a Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association in 2017 and the 2018 Curt Stern Award from the American Society of Human Genetics. In tandem with his research, his clinical focus was the primary prevention of myocardial infarction in individuals with a family history of heart attack. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at MGH and his postdoctoral research training in human genetics at the Framingham Heart Study and the Broad Institute.