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Robert Church Lecture

ROBERT B. CHURCH LECTURE IN BIOTECHNOLOGY

2017
DR. JOHN E. DICK
Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology
Sr. Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre & McEwan Centre for Regenerative Medicine
Professor, University of Toronto

“Stem cells in cancer: do they matter?”

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
12:00 –1:00 p.m.Libin Lecture Theatre
Health Sciences Centre

Dr. John Dick and his team were first to show that the genetic characteristics of leukaemia-initiating cells (also called cancer stem-like cells) from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients are better at predicting clinical outcome than the majority of AML cells. This, and their observations of single stem cells being capable of regenerating an entire blood system are helping lay the groundwork for advancing the area of precision medicine.

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2014
DR. RANDY JIRTLE
Professor of Epigenetics
Department of Sport & Exercise Sciences
University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, UK

Professor Randy L. Jirtle headed the epigenetics and imprinting laboratory at Duke University until 2012. He is now a Professor of Epigenetics at the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, UK, and a Senior Scientist at McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

Jirtle’s research interests are in epigenetics, genomic imprinting, and the fetal origins of disease susceptibility. He has published over 190 peer-reviewed articles, and was a featured scientist on the NOVA television program on epigenetics entitled Ghost in Your Genes. He has delivered numerous endowed lectures, and was invited to speak at the 2004 Nobel Symposia on Epigenetics. He was honored in 2006 with the  Distinguished  Achievement  Award  from  the  College  of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2007, Jirtle was nominated for Time Magazine’s “Person of the  Year.” He was the inaugural recipient of the Epigenetic  Medicine Award in 2008, and received the STARS Lecture Award in Nutrition  and  Cancer  from  the National Cancer Institute in 2009. Jirtle was invited in 2010 to participate in the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, and the Nestlé's  7th  International  Nutrition  Symposium  in  Switzerland. Jirtle organized the Keystone Environmental Epigenomics and Disease Susceptibility meeting, received the EHP Classic Paper of the Year Award, and was invited to speak again in the Nobel Forum at an epigenomics symposium sponsored by The Nobel Assembly at the  Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm in 2011. Dr. Jirtle was invited in 2012 to present the NIH Director’s WALS lecture. Jirtle participated in the World Science Festival in New York, gave the Killam Lecture at Dalhousie University, and published two books on Environmental Epigenomics in Health and Disease in 2013. Dr. Jirtle received the Jean Andrews Centennial Faculty Fellowship in Human Nutrition from the University of Texas-Austin, and the Linus Pauling Award from the Institute of Functional Medicine in 2014.

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2012
DR. HANS LEHRACH
Director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
Berlin, Germany

Hans Lehrach is one of Germany’s foremost molecular biologists. Dr. Lehrach obtained his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in 1974.

He next moved on to Harvard University, Boston (1974-1978) for a postdoc and then became group leader at EMBL, Heidelberg (1978-1987). He then moved to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (1987-1994) to become head of the Genome Analysis Department.  He then returned to Germany to become Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (since 1994).

His scientific achievements are many. Highlights include his key involvement in several genome sequencing projects, such as the human, rat, and Schizosaccharomyces. His group also was part of the team which identified the Huntington’s disease gene. Dr. Lehrach also performed key work on technologies such as protein microarrays, protein interactome analysis, yeast artificial chromosomes and RNAseq.

For his work, Dr. Lehrach has received several awards such as the Ján Jessenius SAS Medal of Honour for outstanding achievements in medical sciences of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Karl Heinz Beckurts Award for achievements in genome research.
Dr. Lehrach has co-founded several biotechnology companies such as Sequana Therapeutics, GPC Biotech, Scienion, Prot@gen, PSF Biotech, Atlas Biolabs, Alacris Theranostics

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2010
DR. CYNTHIA KENYON
Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics
University of California, San Francisco, CA

Cynthia Kenyon graduated valedictorian in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Georgia in 1976.  She received her PhD from MIT in 1981, where, in Graham Walker’s laboratory, she was the first to look for genes on the basis of their expression profiles, discovering that DNA damaging agents activate a battery of DNA repair genes in E. coli. She then did postdoctoral studies with Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, studying the development of C. elegans. Since 1986 she has been at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was the Herbert Boyer Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and is now an American Cancer Society Professor.  In 1993, Kenyon and colleagues’ discovery that a single-gene mutation could double the lifespan of C. elegans sparked an intensive study of the molecular biology of aging. These findings have now led to the discovery that an evolutionarily conserved hormone signaling system controls aging in other organisms as well, including mammals. Dr. Kenyon has received many honors and awards for her findings.  She is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine and she is a past president of the Genetics Society of America.  She is now the director of the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging at UCSF.

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2009
DR. LUC MONTAGNIER
Nobel Laureate

2006
DR. STANLEY PRUSINER
Nobel Laureate

2003 DR. PAUL BERG
Nobel Laureate

2001
DR. FRANK MCCORMICK
Renown molecular biologist

2000
DR. MICHAEL WEST
Stem Cell Biologist

1999
DR. PHILIP LEDER
Molecular geneticist - Lasker Award winner

1998
SIR RICHARD ROBERTS
Nobel Laureate

1997
DR. ERIC DAVIDSON
Molecular Developmental Biologist

1996
DR. A. DUSTY MILLER
Viral Oncologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Biotechnology viral vector developer

1995
DR. DAVID BALTIMORE
Nobel Laureate

1994
DR. LEROY HOOD
Kyoto Prize & Lasker Award winner

1993
DR. MICHAEL SMITH
Nobel Laureate

1992
DR. RAY LEMIEUX
Albertan, renown chemist & entrepreneur at the University of Alberta

Contact Information

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