14th Transgenic Technology Meeting

October 1-4, 2017 Salt Lake City,
Utah, USA Snowbird Resort

Keynote Speakers

Mario Capecchi, PhD

Mario R. Capecchi, Ph.D., was born in Verona, Italy, in 1937. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and physics from Antioch College in 1961 and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University in 1967. After six years on the Harvard School of Medicine faculty he joined the University of Utah as a professor of biology in 1973.

Dr. Capecchi is best known for his pioneering work on the development of gene targeting in mouse embryo-derived stem cells. This technology allows scientists to create mutations in any desired gene, giving them virtually complete freedom to manipulate the DNA sequence in the genome of living mice. His work in this area revolutionized the study of mammalian biology and is used to understand countless diseases by scientists worldwide. In 2007, he was recognized for this achievement with the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, which he shared with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans.

His current research interests include the molecular genetic analysis of early mouse development, neural development in mammals, production of mouse models of human genetic diseases, gene therapy, homologous recombination and programmed genomic rearrangements in the mouse.

Distinguished Professor of human genetics and biology, Dr. Capecchi belongs to the National Academy of Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences and most recently, the National Academy of Medicine. The Nobel Prize tops a long list of worldwide awards and recognition he has received for his scientific achievements.

Marty Cohn, PhD

Marty Cohn received his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.A. from Kent State University, where he studied evolution of primate limbs in the laboratory of C. Owen Lovejoy. He received his Ph.D. from University College London in 1997 for his work with Cheryll Tickle on the molecular mechanisms that initiate limb development in chick embryos and for his investigation into the developmental basis of limb loss during snake evolution. After a brief postdoc with Peter Holland at the University of Reading, Dr. Cohn received a BBSRC Fellowship to investigate the origin and diversification of vertebrate paired appendages (fins and limbs). In 2003, he returned to the US to join the faculty of University of Florida, and in 2009 he became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist. Dr. Cohn is currently Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, joint Professor in the Department of Biology, and a member of the UF Genetics Institute.

Dr. Cohn’s research focuses on development and evolution of animal appendages. His studies have provided insights into the mechanisms responsible for a number of major transitions in vertebrate evolution, including the origin of cartilage, the emergence of paired fins, the fin-to-limb transition, and loss of limbs in snakes and whales. Dr. Cohn’s interest in appendages led to a new area of investigation into one of the most common sites of congenital malformations in humans – the external genitalia. He identified the progenitor cell population that gives rise to external genitalia and a signaling region that orchestrates outgrowth and patterning of the genital tubercle, the embryonic appendage differentiates into the penis or the clitoris. By applying molecular genetic and multi-omic approaches to external genital development, Dr. Cohn’s team showed that development of external genitalia is regulated by some of the same genetic circuits that control limb development. His discovery that these circuits can be perturbed by exposure to environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals, and that such events can cause congenital anomalies of the penis, demonstrated how mutant phenotypes can arise in the absence of mutations. Dr. Cohn’s research also involves comparative studies of external genital development across vertebrate phylogeny, which has led to new insights into the evolutionary origin of the penis, loss of the phallus in birds, and the rapid diversification of genital morphology.

Alexandra L. Joyner, PhD

Alexandra L. Joyner, PhD, is a native Canadian from Toronto. Since 2006, she has been a Member in the Developmental Biology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is also a Professor in the Gerstner Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Graduate Schools. Before moving to MSKCC, she was the founding Coordinator of the Developmental Genetics Program at the Skirball Institute of New York University School of Medicine (starting in 1994), and began her independent career as a senior scientist at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and Professor at the University of Toronto. She obtained her PhD in from the Department of Medical Biophysics at the U of T.

Dr. Joyner’s group has developed several widely used mouse genetics techniques, including the gene trap, knock-in gene targeting, genetic inducible gate mapping and a related mosaic mutant analysis technique (MASTR). She has applied these approaches to understanding organ development, with an emphasis on the cerebellum, using the engrailed homeobox transcription factors and sonic hedgehog signaling pathway as genetic entry points. Dr. Joyner’s work has uncovered fundamental principals of cerebellar morphogenesis, cell lineage allocation and circuit formation. Her current research is focused on understanding how the different cell types are scaled in numbers during development to form functional circuits, and the degree to which compensation can be attained after injury to normalize cell numbers. She also studies cellular and genetic changes that underlie progression of the cerebellar tumor, medulloblastoma.

As the Courtney Steel Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research at MSKCC, Dr. Joyner is a Member of the National Academy of Medicine and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science. She was the President of the Society for Developmental Biology, and a managing editor for the journal Development, and is currently co-editor-in-chief for WIREs Developmental Biology.

Jin-Soo Kim, PhD

Jin-Soo Kim is an entrepreneur and chemist-turned-biologist. He graduated from Seoul National University in 1987 with a major in chemistry. He then earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Seoul National University in 1989 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. After postdoctoral training at Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he came back to Seoul in 1997 to serve as Principal Investigator at Samsung Biomedical Research Institute. He co-founded a biotechnology company, ToolGen, Inc., focused on zinc finger technology in 1999, and served as CEO and CSO for the subsequent 6 years. He joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at Seoul National University in 2005. He now serves as Director of Center for Genome Engineering at Institute for Basic Science. He has published over 80 articles and filed 30 patent applications, mostly in the field of gene regulation and genome editing.

Throughout his independent scientific career since 1997, Jin-Soo Kim has been developing tools for genome editing, a method now used widely in biomedical research, biotechnology, and medicine. The broad interest in this rapidly evolving and expanding technology among researchers is highlighted by the choice of genome editing as Method of the Year 2011 by Nature Methods and Breakthrough of the Year 2015 by Science. Genome editing in cultured cells, animals, and plants is catalyzed by programmable nucleases that cleave chromosomal DNA in a targeted manner. The Kim group has developed and improved three different types of programmable nucleases, namely, zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), TAL effector nucleases (TALENs), and RNA-guided endonucleases (RGENs) derived from CRISPR-Cas9/Cpf1 adaptive immune systems in prokaryotes. These tools are now used for genome editing in human stem cells, model organisms, livestock, and plants in thousands of labs all around the world.

Confirmed Speakers

Hiroshi Arakawa, PhD

Hiroshi Arakawa studied at Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan), where he obtained his diploma and Ph.D in Molecular Biology in Hideo Yamagishi’s laboratory. Following postdoctoral studies in Jean-Marie Buerstedde’s laboratory in Heinrich-Pette-Institut (Hamburg, Germany), he worked as a Senior Research Fellow in Jean-Marie Buerstedde’s laboratory in Helmholtz Center Munich (Munich, Germany). He moved to IFOM (Milan, Italy) as a staff scientist in 2011. He has so far studied the molecular mechanism of immunoglobulin gene conversion and somatic hypermutation, and their application to artificial evolution system. He has recently invented a method to convert mRNA into a gRNA library, which can be applied to forward genetic screening in any species.

Wojtek Auerbach, PhD

Wojtek Auerbach holds a PhD from Polish Academy of Science. He started his career in transgenic technology 25 years ago at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, making mice models of Cystic Fibrosis and Fanconi Anemia. In 1994 he moved to Skirball Institute at the NYU School of Medicine where he oversaw ES cell laboratory for the Department of Developmental Biology. Since 2001 he is a head of ES cell laboratory at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and later also of the Microinjection Facility. He is currently a Senior Director of ES Cell Technology. During the last 15 years his group made over 5000 gene knockouts, knock-ins or other modifications.

Gaetan Burgio, MD, PhD

Dr Gaetan Burgio is a mouse geneticist and a group leader and the head of the transgenesis core facility at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, the Australian National University at Canberra, Australia. His laboratory focuses on the elucidation of the host response to infectious diseases (malaria, bacterial infection) to discover novel therapies. His research is also focus on the development of genome editing technologies in mouse. He is an advocate for open access and open science.

Charlotte D'Hulst, PhD

Dr. Charlotte D’Hulst was trained in bioengineering at the University of Leuven, Belgium and completed her doctoral studies at the University of Antwerp, Belgium in the Center of Medical Genetics working on Fragile X Syndrome.  Research for which she received the Brain Research Young Investigators Award and the Fragile X Young Investigators Rising Star Award. As a post-doc in the Feinstein lab at Hunter College in New York City, she started working on the Sense of Smell and has made over 40 gene-targeted and transgenic animals to study the neurobiology of olfaction. Together with prof. Paul Feinstein, she pioneered the MouSensor technology, which allows one to create customizable, transgenic super sniffer mice. She co-founded MouSensor, LLC in 2016 in an effort to commercialize the potential of the MouSensor platform. Much like the CMYK color code for vision, MouSensor, LLC is poised to digitize the sense of smell and to determine the unique odor code for each individual odor on this planet; ranging from the fragrances in a perfumer’s palette to the Chardonnay in your wine cellar.

Nicole Duffee, DVM, PhD

Dr. Nicole Duffee is the Director of Education & Scientific Affairs for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. She leads the development team of the AALAS Learning Library for the online learning platform and courses in laboratory animal science. She oversees and contributes to print and digital publications of AALAS educational resources. She directs the Grants for Laboratory Animal Science program. Dr. Duffee is a former president of the Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Exchange (LAWTE).

Marina Emborg, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Marina Emborg obtained her M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Buenos Aires. She did her postdoctoral training at Somatix Therapy Corporation and The Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California, followed by a fellowship in the department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Since her graduate studies her research focus has been in nonhuman primate models and the development of novel therapies for Parkinson’s disease. In 2004 she became faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where today she is the Director of the Preclinical Parkinson’s Research Program at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, and an Associate Professor in the department of Medical Physics. She is also Editor of Neuroscience and Tissue Engineering Section for Cell Transplantation, the current President of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair and the 2016 recipient of the Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uosf-uow043016.php).

Ernst-Martin Fuechtbauer, PhD

Ernst-Martin Füchtbauer started working with murine preimplantation embryos in the pre-molecular late 1970s generating aggregation chimeras (PhD at the University of Bielefeld, Germany). In the late 1980s he started with gene trap and targeted mutagenesis in ES cells at NIH and later at the Max-Planck-Institute of Immunology in Freiburg, Germany. Since 2000 he has been involved in the Danish Center for Transgenic Mice (now DAGMAR.au.dk) at Aarhus University, Denmark. His own research interest circles around the genetic control of embryonic development.

Channabasavaiah Gurumurthy , BVSC, MVSC, PhD, Exec. MBA

CB Gurumurthy is Assistant Professor of the Department of Developmental Neuroscience, Munroe Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, University of Nebraska Medical Center and he serves as the Director of UNMC Mouse Genome Engineering Core Facility. His research interests are genome engineering technology development. He is actively developing newer genome engineering technologies, as well as simplifying CRISPR strategies, for creating widely-usable animal models. Previously, he received post-doctoral research training in Cancer Biology and Mouse Molecular Genetics at the Northwestern University, Chicago and he served as a Scientist in Molecular Biology, Drug Discovery Research at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Hyderabad, India. He received his BVSC (DVM) from Bangalore Veterinary College, India and MVSC & PHD in Veterinary Virology from Indian Veterinary Research Institute with a Gold Medal distinction in MVSC. He also received his Executive MBA from University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Lissa Herron, PhD

Lissa Herron is a Royal Society of Edinburgh/BBSRC Enterprise Fellow working on the commercial translation of transgenic chicken bioreactors at Edinburgh Research & Innovation and The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. After receiving her B.S. in biochemistry at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio, USA) in 2003, Dr Herron moved to Scotland to complete a PhD in neurobiology at the University of St Andrews. After a first post-doc at St Andrews studying synaptic changes in a mouse model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, she moved to the laboratory of Professor Helen Sang at The Roslin Institute in 2012 to drive development of the transgenic chicken bioreactor technology. As an Enterprise Fellow, Dr Herron is primarily focused on translation and commercialisation of the transgenic chicken platform.

Maria Jasin, PhD

Maria Jasin obtained her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA, and did her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and Stanford University, California, USA. Her laboratory at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center investigates DNA repair and recombination and its relation to tumorigenesis, targeted genome modification and meiosis. She is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Boris Jerchow, PhD

Dr. Boris Jerchow is Head of Experimental Animal Services at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Germany. At the same time, he also works as one out of UKE’s five Animal Welfare Officers. During his career he has been leading Transgenic Services in a small CRO before joining the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz-Association in Berlin. There he worked in multiple roles as Head of Transgenic Core Services, Assistant Director of Lab Animal Services, as well as Animal Welfare Officer. Boris has a strong background in mouse genetics and works actively towards reduction and refinement strategies in animal breeding and experimentation.

Monica J Justice, PhD

Dr. Justice is a Senior Scientist and Head of the Program in Genetics and Genome Biology at The Hospital for Sick Children, and Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. A pioneer in mouse mutagenesis, Dr Justice’s research aims to improve human health through mouse genetics. She is Editor-in-Chief of Disease Models and Mechanisms, a Senior Editor of Current Protocols in Mouse Biology, a Fellow of the AAAS, and recipient of an American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Innovation Award in Functional Genomics, and the Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award.

Alexis Komor, PhD

Alexis Komor received her Ph.D from the California Institute of Technology in 2014 under the guidance of Jacqueline K. Barton. While at Caltech, she worked on the design, synthesis, and study of DNA mismatch-binding metal complexes. She then pursued postdoctoral work in the laboratory of David R. Liu, where she developed base editing, a new approach to genome editing that enables the direct, irreversible conversion of one target DNA base into another in a programmable manner, without requiring double-stranded DNA backbone cleavage or a donor template. Alexis will begin her independent career in 2017 at the University of California, San Diego, where her lab will study the chemical biology of DNA damage and repair.

Kathy Krentz, M.Sc.

Kathy Krentz has been at the Transgenic Animal Facility at the University of Wisconsin for over 20 years and currently manages the Core.  She holds a Masters Degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in reproduction from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  Kathy was trained on rat embryo and sperm cryopreservation and manipulation at the University of Kyoto, Japan under Dr. Tadeo Serikawa . She implemented some of these services within her Core shortly thereafter.  Kathy’s expertise in rat embryo manipulation has allowed their Core to use CRISPR/Cas9 technology to create many gene-edit models on various background strains of rats.  In addition to the large production of edited mice, her Core recently generated their first knockout swine model.

Nils Lindstrom, PhD

Nils Lindstrom is a senior research associate in the laboratory of Prof. Andrew McMahon at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of Southern California.

Lindstrom’s research is focused on understanding the signaling factors that control the assembly of the nephron during embryonic development. The knowledge gained from this basic science is implemented in translational research seeking tools to generate physiologically normal nephrons from pluripotent stem-cell derived renal organoids. Lindstrom’s research relies heavily on the use of 3D and 4D imaging to analyze mouse and cell reporter-lines and phenotypes resulting from gene manipulation.

Prior to joining the McMahon group, Lindstrom was a Career Development Fellow with Dr. Peter Hohenstein at the MRC Human Genetics Unit and at the Roslin Institute. Lindstrom received his bachelor’s and his PhD degrees from the University of Edinburgh.

Willie Mark, PhD

Willie Mark received his Ph.D. in Oncology from the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  After doing postdoctoral studies on hematopoietic differentiation, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Lacy at the Sloan Kettering Institute in 1985 where he learned mouse transgenesis.  After serving as faculty at Cornell University in Ithaca, he returned to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to head the Mouse Genetics Core Facility in 1997.  He holds an adjunct faculty position in the Program of Developmental Biology at the Sloan Kettering Institute. He retired recently from this position but stayed on as a consultant at MSKCC.

Tomoji Mashimo, PhD

Tomoji Mashimo graduated from Kyoto University in 1994, and earned a Ph.D. in human and environmental studies from the Kyoto University in 2000. After postdoctoral training at Pasteur Institute, Paris, France, he came back to Kyoto in 2003 as an associate professor in Kyoto University. In 2015, he moved to Institute of Experimental Animal Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, (http://www.iexas-osaka-u.jp/lab/en/index_e.html), and now he is a Director of Genome Editing Research and Development Center in Osaka University. He is also now a Vice-president of the Japanese Society for Genome Editing. He is focusing on the development of genome editing technologies in mice, rats and rabbits, and using these technologies, he has developed a variety of animal models of human diseases, such as SCID rats or humanized animals.

Ana Paula Mulet, Msc.

Ana Paula works as a researcher in both the Transgenic and Experimental Animal Unit at the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, and in the Instituto de Reproducción Animal Uruguay. She received her Master degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of the Republic, Uruguay, with emphasis on the generation of transgenic plant models. She is currently concluding her PhD in Medical Sciences. Ana Paula´s expertise is the use of different techniques of molecular biology for the production and analysis of transgenic models including plants, mice and sheep. She has collaborated in numerous projects focused in obtaining mouse and sheep transgenic models using state of the art technologies.

Indira U. Mysorekar, PhD

Dr. Indira Mysorekar is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine. She’s also Associate Director of the Centre for Reproductive Health Sciences at Washington University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Lund University in Sweden, and completed her PhD and postdoctoral studies at WUSM. Dr. Mysorekar’s research focuses on women’s health issues during pregnancy as well as in postmenopausal years. She is a cell and developmental and mucosal biologist with broad interests in infections and immune responses at two distinct tissues: the urinary bladder and placenta. Dr. Mysorekar’s research has established how and why recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be seeded from bacterial reservoirs of uropathogenic E. coli harbored within the bladder wall and why these infections are particularly common in postmenopausal women. Her work has also demonstrated that the placenta is not sterile as previously thought and harbors a distinct microbiome which may be important for developing the fetal immune system; and finally, how Zika virus, that causes several fetal brain damage, can be transmitted vertically from mother to fetus during pregnancy.

Tony Nolan, PhD

Tony Nolan was part of the team that developed the first ever genetic transformation technology for a malaria mosquito. His interests lie in the biology of reproduction and sexual development in the mosquito and in using this understanding to develop novel genetic tools for vector control that can augment existing technologies. He recently led research that culminated in the first ever demonstration of a gene drive with the potential to cause suppression of mosquito populations through the use of site-specific nucleases that can spread in a population and target essential genes in the mosquito.

Kate O'Connor-Giles, PhD

Kate O’Connor-Giles is an Associate Professor of Genetics and Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research employs a genetic approach in Drosophila to understand how neurons build synaptic connections and modulate their strength. In support of this goal, the O’Connor-Giles Lab also focuses on developing genome engineering techniques. She is a recipient of a McKnight Foundation Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award.

Nikki Osborne, PhD

Following her PhD at Kings College London Nikki specialized in the genetic alteration and cloning of animals within the animal research and animal welfare community based in the UK, Europe and beyond. She has worked with academic, commercial, regulatory and non-governmental organizations to promote animal welfare and support implementation of the 3Rs principles of humane science through a range of initiatives involving: education, training, ethical review and policy work. Nikki is currently director of Responsible Research in Practice, a member of the ISTT 3Rs committee, Chair of the 3Rs Group at UCL, UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) advisor and an ambassador for the SYstematic Review Centre for Laboratory animal Experimentation (SYRCLE) in The Netherlands.

Randall Peterson, PhD

Randall Peterson is a chemical biologist whose research utilizes high-throughput screening technologies to discover new drug candidates for cardiovascular and nervous system disorders.  Unlike conventional drug discovery programs that utilize simplified, in vitro assays, the Peterson lab screens using living zebrafish, ensuring that the drug candidates discovered are active in vivo.  After two decades as a student and faculty member at Harvard University, Randy has recently moved to the University of Utah, where he serves as dean of the College of Pharmacy.

Irina Polejaeva, PhD

Irina Polejaeva, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Developmental Biology at the Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences department of Utah State University, and is a member of the Utah Multidisciplinary Arrhythmia Consortium and the Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Disease USTAR Team.  Dr. Polejaeva received her M.S. in Animal Science from Kubanski Agricultural University, Russia and Ph.D. in Developmental/ Stem Cell Biology from the National Institute of Animal Science, Moscow, Russia. Before joining USU in 2011, Dr. Polejaeva served for 8 years as Chief Scientific Officer at ViaGen Inc. and prior that she was Head of the Cell Biology Group and Project Manager for the Porcine Nuclear Transfer Program at PPL Therapeutics Inc. Her research led to the generation of the world’s first cloned pigs by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and the birth of the world’s first 1,3-galactosyltransferase deficient pigs, which was followed by publications in the Nature, Nature Biotechnology and Science. More recently, her research group was the first to report on efficient gene knockout in goats using the CRISPR/Cas9. Dr. Polejaeva is an active member of the International Embryo Transfer Society (IETS), the American Heart Association and Society for the Study of Reproduction. She has also served on the Health and Safety advisory committee at the IETS an advisory body to OIE (World organization for animal health).

Matthew Schwartz

Matt Schwartz is a postdoctoral fellow in Erik Jorgensen’s lab at the University of Utah. He earned his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington. As a postdoc, Matt has developed a toolkit to streamline the production of DNA reagents for inserting genetic tags in the genome of C. elegans using CRISPR/Cas9. His current research is focused on increasing the efficiency of genome editing with these reagents.

Tad Sonstegard, PhD

Dr. Tad Sonstegard is currently Chief Scientific Officer of Acceligen, a food animal genetics subsidiary of Recombinetics, where he leads both business development and research efforts dedicated to livestock improvement around the world. Previously, he led a livestock genomics research program at the USDA, ARS Beltsville that delivered many applications in germplasm conservation and genetic improvement for livestock including the first commercially successful, ag-based SNP tool. He also identified causative variation affecting fertility and thermo-tolerance in cattle and has led consortia to generate genome assemblies of the water buffalo, goat, Zebu cattle, and an expression atlas of cattle.  Dr. Sonstegard received his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.  His has published 183 peer-reviewed articles and has received award recognition for his work in genomic research for livestock genetic improvement.

Simon Titen, PhD

Simon Titen obtained his Ph.D. in Kent Golic’s lab at the University of Utah where he aided in the development of gene targeting by homologous recombination in Drosophila melanogaster with Dr. Yikang Rong. Simon is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Mario Capecchi’s lab where he is using several transgenic techniques to generate transgenic mice, primary human cell lines, and cancer cell lines.

Dario Valenzano, PhD

Dario Riccardo Valenzano is a Max Planck Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany. His research is focused on understanding how evolution shapes life history traits (development, sexual maturation, aging) in vertebrates and how aging and longevity affect fitness in wild populations. He recently started to investigate what is the impact of the commensal gut microbial community structure on the host’s metabolism and he is developing strategies to modulate the host’s aging process targeting the gut microbiota. His main model system is the naturally short-lived turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri), which he contributed to develop as a novel model organism. He pioneered transgenesis, genome editing and mutagenesis methods in this species. He devotes his time doing computational work and supervising scientific projects in his lab in Cologne, and once a year he conducts fieldwork in the African savannah, where he studies his favorite fish in their natural habitat.

Zhongde Wang, PhD

Dr. Zhongde Wang is an associate professor in the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences at Utah State University. In addition to his academic appointment, Dr. Wang is also the President and Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Auratus Bio, a biotech company specialized in animal genetic engineering. Dr. Wang’s research team employs modern genome engineering tools and assisted reproduction technologies (such as somatic cell nuclear transfer) to create genetically engineered animal models of human diseases. The Wang laboratory was the first succeeded in developing gene targeting tools in the golden Syrian hamster. Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular biology from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2000 and did his postdoctoral trainings at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sen Wu, PhD

Sen Wu, Professor, China Agricultural University. 2006, Ph.D. in Neuroscience, University of Utah, Mentor: Dr. Mario Capecchi. 1993, B.S. College of Veterinary Medicine, Beijing Agricultural University. 2010-present, Professor, China Agricultural University.  2006-2010, Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Mario Capecchi at HHMI/University of Utah. 1993-1998, Clinical Veterinarian for Laboratory Animals, National Vaccine and Serum Institute, Beijing, China.  Research interests include stem cells and gene targeting.

Branko Zevnik, PhD

Branko Zevnik, Ph.D. is Professor, in vivo Research Facilities, CECAD, University of Cologne, Germany. He has 20 years of experience in the management of rodent animal and transgenic facilities in academic and industrial settings. He currently heads one of the largest mouse facilities in Europe and runs a transgenic core facility offering assisted reproductive and transgenic services. His research focuses on the enhancement of CRISPR/Cas mediated gene targeting. Branko Zevnik serves as an ad hoc Specialist for AAALAC International and is Board Member of the ISTT.