The Allied Genetics Conference 2016 Keynote Speakers

Each of the concurrent individual meetings will have its own programming developed by organizers from the respective communities. In addition there will be three, joint plenary sessions featuring these keynote speakers.


Cori Bargmann Photo

Cori Bargmann, PhD, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor in the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at The Rockefeller University. She is known for her work on the relationships between genes, circuits, and behaviors in the genetically tractable nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the only animal whose complete synaptic connectivity has been reconstructed from electron micrographs. By mapping specific behaviors onto individual neurons, manipulating genes that are important for nervous system function, and monitoring the activity of neurons during behavior, she studies how environmental variation and genetic variation converge to generate flexible behaviors.


Jef Boeke Photo

Jef Boeke, PhD, Director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at the New York University Langone Medical Center. He is known for elucidating one of the major forms of DNA movement (transposition) in yeast cells, coining the term retrotransposition to describe the process. His genetic and biochemical studies helped elucidate intricate molecular mechanisms involved in retrotransposition in eukaryotic cells. He is now leading an international team to synthesize a designer yeast genome called Sc2.0, the first synthetic eukaryotic genome.


Francis S. Collins Photo

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is known for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007) and the National Medal of Science (2009). Dr. Collins was a co-recipient of the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research in 2010.


Harry C. Dietz Photo

Harry Dietz, MD, Victor A. McKusick Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Molecular Biology & Genetics in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is known for his work on the genetics of Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disease, and heads a multidisciplinary clinic for the diagnosis and management of individuals with heritable forms of cardiovascular disease. He is also Director of the William S. Smilow Center for Marfan Research, a group of dedicated molecular biologists focused on improvement of the lives of individuals with Marfan syndrome and related disorders through the development of novel diagnostic and treatment strategies. 


Jennifer A. Doudna Photo

Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. She is known for her structural and mechanistic work on ribozymes, and studies how RNA molecules control the expression of genetic information. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine and has received numerous awards, including the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation, the Lurie Prize from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Paul Janssen Award in Biomedical Science.


Denis Duboule Photo

Denis Duboule, PhD, Professor of Developmental Genetics and Genomics at the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and Chair, Department of Genetics and Evolution of the University of Geneva. He is known for his work on the function and regulation of Hox genes, a family of genes responsible for the organization and evolution of animal body plans, and researches gene regulation during embryonic development. He has received several national and international awards, is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Society and of the National Academy of Sciences.


Jeffrey I. Gordon Photo

Jeffrey Gordon, MD, Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is known for his work on the gut microbiome, its ecology, and interactions with the host, using novel gnotobiotic animal models as well as children and adults representing diverse geographic, cultural, and socio-economic conditions. He currently studies how our gut microbiomes contribute to obesity and to childhood undernutrition.


David Kingsley Photo

David Kingsley, PhD, Professor of Developmental Biology at Stanford University. He is known for establishing the three-spine stickleback as a model organism for researching the molecular basis of evolution. He also studies molecular evolution using genetic and genomic approaches in mice and humans, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.


Svante Pääbo Photo

Svante Pääbo, PhD, Director of the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and Guest Professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He is known for technical innovations that have allowed the DNA sequencing of extinct organisms, including mammoths, ground sloths, and Neandertals. He directed the efforts to sequence the Neandertal genome and currently studies the genetic history of humans, apes, and other organisms. He is the author of the book Neanderthal Man – In Search of Lost Genomes.


Molly Przeworski Photo

Molly Przeworski, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences and Systems Biology at Columbia University. She is known for her empirical and theoretical contributions to our understanding of natural selection and its role in human evolution, and studies the evolutionary processes that lead to genetic differences among individuals and species. She is the recipient of a Sloan Fellowship, the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award, and a Howard Hughes Early Career Scientist Award.


Pamela C. Ronald Photo

Pamela C. Ronald, PhD, Director of the Laboratory for Crop Genetics Innovation at the University of California, Davis. She is known for her work engineering rice to resist disease and tolerate flooding, and studies how genetics affects plant responses to environmental stress and disease. She has received the USDA National Research Initiative Discovery Award, the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food, and The Tech Award for innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. Ronald is coauthor of Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.


Amita Sehgal Photo

Amita Sehgal, PhD, John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience, Director of the Chronobiology Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is known for characterizing signaling pathways involved in sleep, work that established the fruit fly as a model system for sleep research. Her current research focuses on the genetic basis of circadian rhythms and sleep. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Shirley M. Tilghman Photo

Shirley M. Tilghman, PhD, President Emerita and Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. She is known for her research on how genes are organized in the genome and regulated during early development, particularly the evolution and mechanism of genomic imprinting and the development of the neural crest. She served for 11 years as President of Princeton University and was the founding director of Princeton’s multidisciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.


Leonard Zon Photo

Leonard Zon, MD, Grousbeck Professor of Pediatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Stem Cell Program at Children’s Hospital Boston.  He is known for his work in stem cell biology and cancer genetics, and has pioneered the use of zebrafish as a genetic model for the study of the blood and hematopoietic development.  He is founder and former president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.