The Speakers

Please click on name for short biosketch below.


Copenhagen University
University of British Columbia
University of Colorado
CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health
International Agency for Research on Cancer
University of Oxford
The Australian National University
University of Washington
University of California, Davis
University of California, San Francisco
University of Oxford
McGill University
University Ghana
23andMe
Institut Pasteur
Vanderbilt University
National Institutes of Health
Institut Pasteur
National Institutes of Health
University of California, San Francisco

More speakers to be confirmed. 


Speaker's short biosketches


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Anders Albrechtsen

Copenhagen University

Associate professor Anders Albrechtsen is a researcher at the Department of Biology, Copenhagen University. His work focuses on exploring high throughput genetic data for both demographic inference, finding signs of local adaptation in the genome and for identifying genetic loci that affects phenotypic traits and diseases. He is extensively involved in studies of the genetic basis of many complex diseases in Greenlandic Inuit. 

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Laura Arbour

University of British Columbia

Dr. Arbour is Professor in the UBC Department of Medical Genetics situated at the UBC Island Medical Program, and an Affiliate Professor in the Division of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Victoria. Her clinical practice and research focuses on northern and Indigenous health issues as they pertain to genetics. Trained as both pediatrician and clinical geneticist (McGill University), her research integrates maternal-child health issues and the understanding of the genetic component of Indigenous health throughout the life course. She leads a new Genome Canada project: “Silent Genomes: Reducing health-care disparities and improving diagnostic success for Indigenous children with genetic disease” which aims to address equity in genetic diagnosis  for Indigenous children with genetic disease. 

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Kathleen Barnes

University of Colorado

Dr. Barnes is head of the Division of Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine. Her research includes a strong focus on understanding the role of ancestry and genetics in the development of asthma. She is a leader of the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA) project.

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Carrie Bourassa

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Dr. Bourassa is Chair of of Indigenous & Northern Health at Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury and the Scientific Director of the Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Her research interests include the impacts of colonization on the health of Indigenous people; creating culturally safe care in health service delivery; Indigenous community-based health research methodologies; end of life care with Indigenous people; dementia among Indigenous people; HIV and AIDS among Indigenous women, Indigenous ethics and Indigenous women’s health. 

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Paul Brennan

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

Dr. Brennan heads the Genetics Section at IARC, which is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization missioned to promote international and inter-disciplinary collaboration in cancer research. The aims of the Agency include identifying the causes of cancer and also early detection of cancer, so that preventive measures may be adopted and the burden of disease and associated suffering reduced. The Agency has a particular interest in conducting research in low and middle-income countries through partnerships and collaborations with researchers in these regions. The Genetics Section is responsible for many genomic studies of cancer using large patient biobanks collected as part of many such collaborations.

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Zhengming Chen

Oxford University

Professor Chen is the Director of the China Programs at the Oxford University’s Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) and co-executive director of the China Oxford Centre for International Health Research. His main research focus on the environmental and genetic causes of chronic disease, evidence-based medicine and evaluation of widely practicable treatments for chronic diseases (such as IHD, stroke and cancer) as well as efficient strategies for chronic disease control in developing countries. Since 2003 he has been the lead principal investigator in the UK for the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) prospective study of 500,000 adults. 

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Simon Easteal

Australian National University

Dr. Easteal leads the “Genome Diversity & Health” group at the John Curtin School of Medical Research within the ANU College of Health and Medicine. The group’s research focuses on the evolution of human diversity and the influence of evolutionary forces on our current health and wellbeing with a particular interest in how genes and cultures co-evolve to shape personalities, cognitive styles and social behaviour. 

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Nanibaa' Garrison

University of Washington & Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Dr. Garrison’s research focuses on the ethical, social, and cultural implications of genetic and genomic research in Indigenous communities. She is the recipient of an NIH K01 career development award on “Genomics and Native Communities: Perspectives, Ethics and Engagement” that explores the perspectives of tribal leaders, physicians, scientists, and policy makers on genetic research with tribes. Using community based research approaches, she engages with tribal communities to develop policies and guidance for tribes.   

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Christopher Gignoux

University of Colorado

Dr. Gignoux is a population geneticist interested primarily in the confluence of human evolution and epidemiology. Currently he is working on a range of topics from population structure and demographic inference to understanding the genomic architecture of complex traits. His research is directed at broadening our understanding of human biology through understanding the role of human genetic diversity across the globe. He is particularly interested in applications of population genetic theory, statistical modeling, and algorithmic development to improve large-scale, trans-ethnic, and biobank studies. He performs field work with collaborators in South Africa and across Latin America.

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Brenna Henn

University of California, Davis

Dr. Henn investigates patterns of human genetic diversity and evolution by pairing genomic datasets with information about phenotype, language and prehistory in order to understand genetic diversity in under-represented populations and hypothesize that the determinants of phenotypic traits and disease in these populations may be influenced by alleles that are population-specific or generally rare. Her research efforts are particularly focused on the complex demographic history of African populations.

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Ryan Hernandez

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Dr. Hernandez’s research focuses on data-driven modeling of the patterns of genetic variation within and between populations and species in three principal areas: population genetic modeling of human populations using large-scale sequencing data from populations throughout the world, looking in particular at the impact of delection in shaping genomic patterns of variation; identifying factors involved in disease susceptibility in complex populations and using evolutionary signals and admixture patterns to uncover the meaningful associations with phenotypic variation; and examining host-pathogen interactions using novel phylogenetic and population genetic techniques.

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Adrian Hill

University of Oxford

Pr. Hill is Director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford which has the overarching goal of developing innovative vaccines against major global diseases. Pr. Hill’s group has a strong focus on the development of malaria vaccines, genetic susceptibility to bacterial diseases, particularly tuberculosis, sepsis, pneumococcal disease, and understanding of the genetic basis of variable responses to childhood vaccines.

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Kwadwo Koram

University of Ghana

Pr. Koram is the immediate past Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) at the University of Ghana. His research focuses on the epidemiology of malaria and advancing the understanding of innate immune responses to malaria infection. He has worked with the National Malaria Control Programme in the area of responses to treatment and surveillance of parasite resistance in the country. His interests include clinical trials and the ethics of health research in developing countries.

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Bartha Knoppers

McGill University

Prof. Knoppers, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine, directs the Centre for Genome and Policy at McGill University, which has a leadership role in many international initiatives related to data generation and sharing in genomics such as the P3G project, the International Cancer Genome Consortium, the International Human Epigenome Consortium, and the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. Her research examines emerging ethical and legal issues in areas such as reproductive genetics, pediatrics, biobanks, privacy and personalized medicine, so as to contribute to defining the national and international policies for industry, research and government.

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Cheikh Loucoubar

Institut Pasteur de Dakar

Dr. Cheikh Loucoubar is a mathematician, PhD in Statistical Genetics. He is working currently in Institut Pasteur de Dakar where he heads the Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Modeling Group. He also teaches Statistical Genetics, Biostatistics and R statistical software in Master programs at the University Gaston Berger de Saint Louis and University Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. Their research items focus on the development of statistical methods and tools for genetic association analysis of infectious diseases traits.

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Joanna Mountain

23andMe

Joanna Mountain is Senior Director of Research at 23andMe where she is responsible for overseeing research projects, ensuring the protection of research participants, and developing approaches to evaluate ancestry. Prior to joining 23andMe, Joanna earned a PhD in Genetics from Stanford University and served on the faculties of the Anthropological Sciences and Genetics Departments at Stanford. She continues to study the genetic diversity of Africa and spends time investigates how people react to knowledge of their genetic results.

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Lluis Quintana-Murci

Institut Pasteur

Dr. Quintana-Murci directs a laboratory within the Department of Genomes and Genetics at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. Their research is focused on understanding how natural selection, human demography and lifestyle have shaped the patterns of diversity of the human genome, to understand how this may impact phenotype variation and disease. His laboratory combines population genetics and cellular genomic approaches, with computational modelling and development of new statistical frameworks, working closely to theoretical population geneticists, immunologists, epidemiological geneticists as well as anthropologists.

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Dan Roden

Vanderbilt University

Dr. Roden is Senior Vice-President for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), and a member of the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute’s Advisory Council. His research interests include studies the mechanisms underlying variability in response to drug therapy, and he is principal investigator for BioVU, Vanderbilt’s biorepository, which is the largest repository that links DNA samples to electronic medical records at a single academic institution in the world. VUMC has been chosen by the US National Institutes of Health to be the Data and Research Support Center for the All of Us Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, a landmark study of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors affecting the health of a million or more people in the US.

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Charles Rotimi

NIH

Dr. Charles Rotimi, a genetic epidemiologist, is a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Metabolic, Cardiovascular and Inflammatory Disease Genomics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH. He is also the director of the Trans-NIH Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health. He is an internationally recognized scholar whose work and achievements have been profiled in leading scientific journals and News Media including Science, Nature, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Medicine, New York Times and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He has published over 270 scientific papers in peer-reviewed international journals.

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Anavaj Sakuntabhai

Institut Pasteur

Dr. Sakuntabhai is Director of the laboratory for Functional Genetics of Infectious Disease at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. His research focuses on the basis of human genetic susceptibility to major human pathogens, and the use of genomic approaches to tackle the disease burden under changing environments. He collaborates closely with groups around the world on studies of malaria and dengue fever along with emerging infections such as Ebola and Zika.

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Swee Lay Thein

NIH

Dr. Thein heads the Sickle Cell Branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and NIH. She and her research team are identifying genetic and biomarkers that will allow early detection and monitoring of severe sickle cell complications, using new genome technologies and deep phenotyping. Through this research, they are contributing to discovery and development of drugs designed for treatment of sickle cell disease, including those that promote HbF synthesis and inhibit HbS polymerisation.

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Noah Zaitlen

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) 

Dr. Zaitlen laboratory develops statistical and computational tools with the aim to contribute to human health by increasing understanding of the genetic and environmental underpinnings of common disease. He is especially interested in human disease, variation in drug/treatment response, and disease outcomes. Current projects primarily focus on incorporating environmental context into medical genetics. These include developing novel techniques to partition the proportion of phenotype driven by genetic and environmental factors in world-wide populations (Nature versus Nurture), and improving our power to identify disease causing mutations by leveraging gene-expression, meta-genomic, and clinical data.

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