2019 Speaker Bios

Keynote Speakers:

Joseph Takahashi, PhD

Circadian Keynote: “Circadian Clock Mechanisms in Mammals and Their Relevance to Aging and Longevity”

Dr. Takahashi is Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The Takahashi Lab is interested in understanding the genetic and molecular basis of circadian rhythms as well as other complex behaviors.

Circadian rhythms are key to maintaining homeostasis and their disruption has been associated with neurological and metabolic changes in humans and other mammals, such as sleeping disruption, bipolar disorder, and aging. Takahashi and his team use the mouse as a model organism to discover genes associated with the regulation of circadian behaviors and the team applies techniques from genomics, biochemistry and structural biology to investigate the genes’ functions in the molecular mechanisms underlying the circadian clock.

In 2004, Dr. Takahashi developed the Per2:luc mouse, “PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE real-time reporting of circadian dynamics reveals persistent circadian oscillations in mouse peripheral tissues” to date, it is the only transgenic mouse of its kind.

Dr. Takahashi is the author of more than 260 scientific publications and the recipient of many awards including the Honma Prize in Biological Rhythms Research, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Searle Scholars Award, Bristol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Grant in Neuroscience, and the C. U. Ariens Kappers Medal. He received the W. Alden Spencer Award in Neuroscience from Columbia University in 2001, was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 and a Member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2014.

Learn More: https://profiles.utsouthwestern.edu/profile/105885/joseph-takahashi.html

Shoukhrat Mitalipov, PhD

Oocyte Keynote: “Contributions of Oocyte Cytoplasm to Reprogramming and Development”

Dr. Mitalipov is the Director of the OHSU Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy. He is also a Professor in the Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences of Oregon National Primate Research Center.

He is a well known pioneer of many nuclear transplantation studies and was named in 2013 by journal Nature as “the cloning chief”. Mitalipov is also a godfather of a gene therapy, known as mitochondrial replacement therapy, that prevents inheritance of mitochondrial diseases.

In May 2013, Mitalipov and his team published a study in Cell that describes a new process for creating human stem cells from skin cells. The stem cell discovery made several journals’ “Top 10” scientific breakthrough lists in 2013, including Nature, Science, Time, Discover, National Geographic and The Week.

In August 2017, Mitalipov’s collaborative work with the Institute for Basic Science, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Seoul National University, BGI-Shenzhen and BGI-Qingdao, was published in Nature as the first known successful attempt at genetically correcting mutant human embryos, using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene modifying tool.

Mitalipov and his team experimented upon a larger number of human embryos carrying a genetic defect causing heart disease. They demonstrated the possibility of safely and efficiently correcting the defective gene that cause inherited heart disease.

Learn More: https://www.ohsu.edu/people/shoukhrat-mitalipov/2D760207FF014335B07EC30F3818652F

Ann A. Kiessling, PhD

“First Evidence for Circadian Rhythms in Early Human Embryos”

Dr. Kiessling is Director of the Bedford Research Foundation and is retired Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Her postdoctoral research explored relationships between viruses and cancer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and University of California, San Diego. The work in San Diego led to the controversial discovery of Reverse Transcriptase in normal human cells in 1979 (Kiessling & Goulian (pdf)). Prior to this discovery, it had been assumed that reverse transcriptase was an enzyme found only in retroviruses. To understand the normal biologic role of reverse transcriptase, Dr. Kiessling began to study eggs and early cleaving embryos.

Dr. Kiessling’s developmental biology interest and expertise in human egg biology led her to develop the country’s first human egg donor program for stem cell research in 2000. Dr. Kiessling’s research at the Foundation is now focused on the development of Parthenote Stem Cells (stem cells derived from unfertilized human eggs)

More information – https://www.bedfordresearch.org/about-us/leadership/director/

David Albertini, PhD

“Oocyte Contributions to Embryogenesis: Mother’s Legacy”

Dr. Albertini is a Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at Kansas University Medical Center and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. His research into developmental biology with animal modeling and human assisted rechnologies has contributed to advancements in cryopreservation, in vitro/culture of tissues and cells, and biomedical imaging. Dr Albertini is a leader in reproductive medicine with 40 years in the field.

Carla Green, PhD

“Post-transcriptional Regulation of Protein Expression by the Circadian Clock”

Dr. Green is a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and a Distinguished Scholar in Neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Her research involves the circadian clock and how it controls rhythmic processes within the cell using molecular mechanisms. The focus of the Green Lab is to understand the molecular mechanism of the mammalian circadian clock and how it mediates rhythmicity within the physiology, biochemistry, and behavior of an organism. Her lab currently has three main projects: identifying targets and mechanisms of expression regulation of the Nocturnin gene; identifying the mechanism of metabolic control of Nocturnin knockout lean mice; and defining structural components of the repressor protein Cryptochrome and how regulation of the nuclear entry of the protein contributes to circadian period length.

Green has formal training in cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology, which has given her a broad skill set to further expand her areas of study such as genomics, proteomics, structural biology, and metabolic studies over the course of her career.

More information: https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/labs/green-carla/

David Whitmore, PhD

“Embryonic Circadian Clocks: Do They Control Anything Important?”

Dr. Whitmore is a Professor of Chronobiology in the Division of Biosciences at University College London. His research is in the area of biological clocks including light sensory, signaling pathways, resetting the circadian pacemaker, core molecular mechanisms, and related processes. His group uses zebrafish as a model for this research. Dr. Whitmore’s research showed that the body’s cells contain independend clocks to control their various functions, such as DNA repair activation

More information: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/biosciences/people/david-whitmore

Jonathan Lipton, MD, PhD

“The Circadian Clock as a Window into Neurodevelopment Disorders: Mechanisms and Opportunities”

Dr. Lipton’s research looks at the relationship between cell circadian clocks and diseases of the developing brain. Earth’s day-night cycle has a significant impact on the functions of the cells in all animals. synchronized with these periods of light and darkness, our cells perform their various biological processes in a predictable way as informed by this pattern. A disruption of the nearly 24 hour cycle can be a factor in neurological and metabolic disease. His research has helped to identify how this mechanism works, to better understand it’s effect on health and aging.

More information: https://www.childrenshospital.org/research/researchers/l/jonathan-lipton

Rudolf Jaenisch, PhD

“Human / Mouse Chimeras for Disease Modeling”

Dr. Jaenisch is Whitehead Institute Founding Member and National Medal of Science recipient. His work focuses on how genes are expressed in mammalian development and how diseases develop. His work has expanded understanding of embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Dr Jaenisch’s lab was able to reprogram mouse cennls into pluripotent stem cells without the use of embryonic egg cells, and manipulated them to a method of treating sickle cell anemia and Parkinson’s diseas in mice and rat models.

More information: https://wi.mit.edu/people/faculty/jaenisch

Arthur Applbaum, PhD

“Gene Editing Human Embryos: Who Should Decide?”

Arthur Isak Applbaum, PhD, is Professor of Ethics and Public Policy and Director of Graduate Fellowships in the Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions. Applbaum’s work on legitimate political authority, civil and official disobedience, and role morality has appeared in journals such as Philosophy & Public Affairs, Harvard Law Review, Ethics, and Legal Theory. He is the author of Ethics for Adversaries, a book about the morality of roles in public and professional life. He holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard University. Applbaum was a Fulbright Scholar in Jerusalem, a Fellow in Ethics at Harvard, and a Rockefeller Fellow in Ethics and Public Affairs at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values.

More information: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/faculty/arthur-applbaum