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2018 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Alexis Komor, PhD
University of California San Diego

Alexis Komor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego. The Komor lab at UCSD applies chemical biology approaches and genome editing techniques to reveal molecular relationships between DNA damage and aging. The Komor's lab focuses on three strategic areas:

  • it systematically biochemically characterizes mutant repair proteins in order to elucidate, at the molecular level, the contributions of different types of DNA lesions to the progression of different disease phenotypes such as cancer and aging

  • it uses genome editing tools such as CRISPR-Cas9 to characterize, in a high-throughput manner, the effects of lesion identity, as well as chromosomal location and surrounding sequence on repair outcomes of DNA damage

  • it uses high-throughput screening methods to identify key residues within DNA repair proteins that are responsible for lesion detection and repair. In particular, these screens illuminate, at the amino acid residue level, how certain proteins are able to recognize and repair such structurally diverse substrates.

Kurt Kamrud, PhD
Synthetic Genomics, Inc. La Jolla, CA

Kurt Kamrud leads the self-amplifying RNA platform development program in the RNA Medicines group at Synthetic Genomics, Inc (SGI). He has been at SGI since June 2013. Before joining SGI, Dr. Kamrud was Director of the Discovery Group at AlphaVax Inc. in the Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC. After 10 years at AlphaVax, Dr. Kamrud became Vice President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer at Harrisvaccines in Ames, IA. Harrisvaccines is a veterinary vaccine company focused on alphavirus replicon particle-based vaccines. While at Harrisvaccines, Dr. Kamrud successfully lead the effort to fully license alphavirus replicon particle-based vaccines for veterinary use with the USDA. Harrisvaccines was acquired by Merck Animal Health in 2016. He received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Colorado State University.

John Greally, PhD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

John Greally is Professor in the Department of Medicine, Department of Genetics and Department of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  The Greally lab focuses on the study of the epigenome, as a regulator of transcriptional activity that can mediate memory of prior events, whether developmental cues or environmental perturbations.  Their basic research involves the targeting mechanisms of DNA methylation, the role of non-canonical nucleic acid structures and the heritability of chromatin states.  The human disease research involves autism spectrum disorder, oncogenic viruses, and intrauterine effects on adult disease susceptibility.  The Greally lab have been guided by epigenomics studies to consider the broader possibility that mosaicism for cellular events is a much more common cause of human disease phenotypes than currently appreciated. They are therefore expanding the research interests to encompass genetic mosaicism, with an interest in isolated congenital malformations and covert chromosomal aneuploidy.