Unraveling DNA: The World of Genomics

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Our future is incredibly bright because of the advances made in the world of genomics. Join us as we are guided through the history and evolution of sequencing technology. Then stay to learn from our esteemed panel how this technology is being used to unravel the mysteries of life. All DNA based life forms are welcome! 


Five lucky individuals will win a free piece of genomics art from David Goodsell. 


Register HERE


Panelist Biographies:

Alex Aravanis, MD, PhD, currently serves as Illumina’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, and is responsible for leading Illumina’s research and technology development functions. He is an experienced entrepreneur and was involved in founding several start-ups in the life sciences and health care. Dr. Aravanis holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics Minor from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Master of Science and PhD in Electrical Engineering, and an MD from Stanford University. He holds more than 30 (pending and issued) patents and numerous peer-reviewed publications.

Susan Tousi is Senior Vice President, Chief Product Officer at Illumina and is responsible for global engineering, consumables, applications, user design, software and informatics development efforts. Under her technology leadership, Illumina has launched nine years of industry leading sequencing platforms and achieved the most innovative and expansive product portfolio in the company’s history. Susan has more than 25 years of R&D and business leadership. She holds an M.B.A. degree from UCLA and Honors B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Pennsylvania State University.


Mimi Shirasu-Hiza, PhD, is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.  She is the Co-Director of the Genetics and Development graduate training program and Chair of the Internal Advisory Committee for the Neurobiology and Behavior Graduate program.  She is also a member of the Faculty Council, the Executive Faculty Council, the Dean’s Committee on Women Faculty, and the Dean's Anti-Racism Task Force.  Her lab investigates fundamental circadian-regulated physiologies using the genetically tractable model organism Drosophila melanogaster, including questions such as:  "Why do we sleep?  How do we age?  How does our rhythm of eating affect our metabolism?"  Her NIH-funded research includes studies of bacterial infection, aging, Fragile X syndrome, and neurodegenerative diseases.  She is very proud to be an RSI alumna and fondly remembers that pizza- and adventure-filled summer as the moment when she decided not to be a Lit major and to pursue science instead.  
Jonathan Gootenberg, Ph.D. draws from fundamental microbiology to engineer new molecular tools. These tools, including the popular genome editing system CRISPR, allow for unprecedented manipulation and profiling of cellular states in the body, and have multiple applications in basic science, diagnostics, and therapeutics.  
Dr. Gootenberg earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and biological engineering at MIT and received his PhD in Systems Biology from Harvard University, during which he conducted research with Aviv Regev and Feng Zhang at the McGovern Institute and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.  He and his co-authors developed Cas13 into a toolbox with uses in fundamental research, therapeutics, and diagnostics. These applications include RNA knockdown, imaging, the base editing platform REPAIR, and the sensitive, specific, and portable diagnostic platform SHERLOCK. He is one of the first members of the McGovern Institute Fellows program, which supports the transition to independent research for exceptional recent PhD graduates. 
Omar Abudayyeh, PhD is a McGovern Institute Fellow at MIT where he directs a lab exploring microbial diversity for developing next-generation cell profiling, molecular diagnostics, gene editing, and gene delivery technologies. These tools, including the popular gene editing system CRISPR, allow for unprecedented manipulation and profiling of cellular states with multiple applications in basic science and for programmable therapeutics and diagnostics. Dr. Abudayyeh also applies many of these tools towards answering fundamental questions about the effect of aging on the brain and other organs with the goal of developing regenerative therapeutics for degenerative disease. 
He previously was at Harvard Medical School and MIT as a graduate student in Feng Zhang’s lab at the Broad Institute, where he earned a Ph.D. researching novel CRISPR enzymes for genome editing, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Omar’s research has been published in more than 30 peer-reviewed publications with over 13,000 citations and he is an inventor on numerous patents relating to gene editing and diagnostic innovations. He is also co-founder of Sherlock Biosciences, which is commercializing CRISPR-based diagnostics for healthcare, as well as numerous other stealth starts ups in the gene editing and diagnostics fields. Dr. Abudayyeh has been recognized as Technology Review Innovators Under 35, 2018 Forbes 30 under 30, Business Insider 30 under 30, a 2018 TEDMED Hive honoree, and a 2013 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. Dr. Abudayyeh graduated from MIT in 2012 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and biological engineering, where he was a Henry Ford II Scholar and a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. 



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