NHGRI National DNA Day 20th Anniversary Symposium
On National DNA Day this year, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) will host a symposium to commemorate two special milestones: the 20th anniversary of the Human Genome Project’s completion and the 70th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix.
Join us to explore the evolution and future of genomics research, learn about the greater impacts of genomics on society and discover the wide array of careers in genetics and genomics — from scientists to social media specialists!
The program will conclude with the annual Louise M. Slaughter National DNA Day Lecture.
This event is free and open to the public. Join us in person or virtually.
Follow #NHGRIevents and #DNADay23 on social media for more information.
All times are in EDT.
Virtual webinar (registration required) and In-Person (Lipsett Amphitheater)
Doors open at 9 a.m.
Join us in the lobby of the NIH Lipsett Auditorium to learn about how NHGRI collaborates with scientific and medical communities to catalyze genomic breakthroughs and supports the robust study and treatment of specific diseases with our colleagues at NIH. Read our strategic vision, learn about our action agenda for building a diverse genomics workforce, check out the widely popular Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code exhibition that was featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and more!
Virtual guests are invited to join online at 9:45 a.m. The symposium will begin at 10 a.m.
10:00 a.m. - 12:55 p.m.
Welcome and introduction of distinguished guests
Director of the Division of Genomics and Society Larry Brody, NHGRI
Director Eric Green, NHGRI
From the HGP to 2023: Genomics research across NIH
NHGRI Director Eric Green will moderate a discussion about how the Human Genome Project (HGP) and NHGRI have directly influenced research at other NIH institutes and centers.
Director Diana Bianchi, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
CEO Josh Denny, All of Us Research Program.
Director Gary Gibbons, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Director Joni L. Rutter, National Center for Advancing Translational Services.
Population descriptors in genomics research
NHGRI Acting Deputy Director Vence Bonham, Jr. will lead a discussion about the benefits and challenges of using population descriptors in genomics and biomedical research.
Professor of Medical Humanities and Ethics Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Columbia University
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Genevieve Wojcik, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Greatest of all time NHGRI director
What does it take to lead an organization at the forefront of genomics? Enjoy a special presentation by former NHGRI Director Francis Collins and current NHGRI Director Eric Green!
12:55 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Who is the Greatest Of All Times (GOAT) Director? See the final in-person showdown and cast your vote.
Taking DNA Day to Ghana
NHGRI-ASHG Genetics and Education Fellow Nancy Sey will discuss how DNA Day is celebrated in Ghana.
Careers in genetics and genomics
Chris Gunter, senior advisor to the director for genomics engagement at NHGRI, will facilitate a discussion that showcases the diverse career paths in the field of genomics research.
Biologist Kevin Bishop, NHGRI.
Social Media Specialist Jenny Montooth, NHGRI.
Program Director Stephanie Morris, Division of Genome Sciences, NHGRI.
Clinical Director Ben Solomon, NHGRI.
Genetic Counselor Amy Turriff, NHGRI.
It’s time for genomics trivia! Virtual and in-person attendees are invited to test your knowledge of genetics and genomics.
3:00 p.m. - 4:05 p.m.
Louise M. Slaughter National DNA Day Lecture
Francis Collins will deliver the 2023 Louise M. Slaughter National DNA Day Lecture. Collins is Special Advisor to President Biden for Special Projects, former NIH Director and former director of NHGRI who is noted for his leadership of the international Human Genome Project.
Director of the Division of Genomics and Society Larry Brody, NHGRI
Follow on Twitter: @NHGRI_Director
Dr. Eric Green is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is the third NHGRI director, having been appointed by Dr. Francis Collins in 2009. Dr. Green has been at the institute for more than 25 years, during which he has had multiple key leadership roles. He served as the institute’s scientific director for seven years, chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch for 13 years and founding director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center for 12 years. For over two decades, Dr. Green directed an independent research program that included integral start-to-finish roles in the Human Genome Project and groundbreaking work on mapping, sequencing and characterizing mammalian genomes. Dr. Green earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis in 1987, which is coincidentally the year that the word “genomics” was coined. During his career, Dr. Green has authored and co-authored over 375 scientific publications.
Dr. Lawrence Brody is a division director and senior investigator in the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH. He studied biology with an emphasis on genetics as an undergraduate at Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. in human genetics from Johns Hopkins University in 1991. He then held postdoctoral appointments at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty of NHGRI in 1993. From 2010 to 2014, he served as the chief of NHGRI’s Genome Technology Branch. In 2013, he was named director of the Division of Genomics and Society. In 2020, this division was expanded to include three branches: the Education and Community Involvement Branch, the Program and Policy Analysis Branch and a branch that is focused on funding research into the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of genomic and genetic science. Dr. Brody also serves as the chief scientific officer for NIH’s Center for Inherited Disease Research, a high throughput genotyping and sequencing center that serves 10 of NIH’s 27 institutes.
Diana W. Bianchi is the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Bianchi oversees an annual budget of approximately $1.6 billion in support of NICHD’s mission to lead research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, enhance the lives of children and adolescents and optimize abilities for all. Dr. Bianchi is also head of the Prenatal Genomics and Therapy Section for the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Dr. Bianchi received her M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine and her postgraduate training in pediatrics, medical genetics and neonatal-perinatal medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bianchi’s research focuses on prenatal genomics with the goal of advancing noninvasive prenatal DNA screening and diagnosis to develop new therapies for genetic disorders that can be administered prenatally.
Follow Dr. Denny on Twitter: @AllofUsCEO
Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., is the chief executive officer of the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program. All of Us seeks to enroll at least 1 million diverse participants to build an indispensable resource that accelerates precision medicine for all populations.
Dr. Denny has been involved with the All of Us program since its inception. He was a member of the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director, which developed the program’s initial scientific blueprint. He then led the program’s initial prototyping project and the All of Us Data and Research Center. Dr. Denny was named CEO of All of Us in January 2020. Before joining NIH, Dr. Denny was a practicing physician and held several leadership positions at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, including professor of biomedical informatics and medicine, founding director of the Center for Precision Medicine, and vice president for personalized medicine. At Vanderbilt, he led discovery and implementation projects in precision medicine, including clinical pharmacogenomics and Vanderbilt’s DNA biobank. He was a pioneer in the use of electronic health records for genomics studies, including the initial descriptions of phenome‐wide association studies and phenotype risk scores.
Dr. Denny is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American College of Medical Informatics.
Dr. Gibbons is the director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is the third largest institute at NIH. NHLBI provides global leadership for the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, sleep and blood diseases to improve the health of all people. Dr. Gibbons provides leadership for transformative NIH and NHLBI initiatives including the NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities, Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER), Implementing a Maternal health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE), and the NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative. Dr. Gibbons received the 2021 Service to America Medal for his visionary leadership of CEAL.
Dr. Gibbons also pursues leading edge research at NHGRI. His scientific contributions are cross-cutting in the fields of genomic medicine, vascular biology, and vascular pathogenesis as he investigates clinical phenotypes, behavior, molecular interactions and social determinants of health in cardiovascular disease. He is a member of the National Academies of Science and has taught at Stanford University, Harvard Medical School and Morehouse School of Medicine where he was the founding director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Dr. Gibbons received his B.A. from Princeton University, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School and completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Joni L. Rutter, Ph.D., is the director at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). She is responsible for planning and executing the Center’s complex and multifaceted preclinical and clinical programs. Before joining NCATS, she served as the director of scientific programs within the All of Us Research Program of the Precision Medicine Initiative, and prior to that, as director of the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Rutter received her Ph.D. from Dartmouth Medical School and completed a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. She is recognized for her work in basic and clinical research in human genetics and in the study of genetic and environmental risk factors focusing on the fields of cancer and addiction. Her primary scientific objective is to use translational science as a means to provide all people with more treatments more quickly and efficiently.
Vence L. Bonham, Jr. is the acting deputy director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and a member of the senior leadership team for the institute. Mr. Bonham provides leadership for the institute’s health equity and workforce diversity programs and works in partnership across NIH to promote the mission of the institute.
He received his Bachelor of Arts from James Madison College at Michigan State University and his Juris Doctor degree from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. Mr. Bonham was a fellow in the American Association of Medical Colleges Health Services Research Fellowship Program. Mr. Bonham was a tenured faculty member at Michigan State University with appointments in the Colleges of Medicine and Law. He is currently an associate investigator in the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) within the Division of Intramural Research's Social and Behavioral Research Branch. He leads the Health Disparities Unit, which investigates the equitable integration of new genomic knowledge and precision medicine into clinical settings.
Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Ph.D. is a professor of medical humanities and ethics and chief of the Division of Ethics at Columbia University. Trained as a medical anthropologist, Dr. Lee leads multi-disciplinary bioethics research focused on race and justice in genomics, precision medicine and artificial intelligence, and translation and governance of biotechnology. Dr. Lee has written extensively on racial and ethnic classification systems in biomedicine and has served on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry as Population Descriptors in Genomics Research. She is co-director of the NIH funded Center for ELSI Resources and Analysis and the ELSI Congress. Dr. Lee is president of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors and serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Bioethics, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics and the Editorial Advisory Committee for the American College of Medical Genetics Journals Genetics in Medicine and Genetics in Medicine Open.
Dr. Genevieve Wojcik is a genetic epidemiologist and an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She holds a B.A. in biology from Cornell University, an M.H.S. in human genetics/genetic epidemiology and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She conducted her postdoctoral training at Stanford University. Her research program focuses on understanding the role of ancestry and environment in genetic risk and developing solutions to address health inequities for diverse and admixed populations.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., currently serves as the special advisor to President Biden for special projects. In this role, he is leading a bold program to help eliminate Hepatitis C in the United States. Dr. Collins also maintains his longstanding position as a senior investigator in the intramural program at the National Human Genome Research Institute, pursuing genomics research on type 2 diabetes and a rare disorder of premature aging called progeria.
Dr. Collins previously served as the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009. In 2017, President Donald Trump asked Dr. Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director. President Joe Biden did the same in 2021. For those 12 years, serving an unprecedented three administrations, Dr. Collins oversaw the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. Dr. Collins stepped down as director on December 19, 2021.
Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his previous leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993-2008.
Dr. Collins is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007 and received the National Medal of Science in 2009. In 2020, he was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Society (UK) and was also named the 50th winner of the Templeton Prize, which celebrates scientific and spiritual curiosity.
Nancy Sey was born in Ghana and moved to the United States at age 14. She obtained her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she investigated the genetic bases underlying substance use disorders. Dr. Sey developed a passion for science outreach during her doctoral training which led her to participate in and lead several initiatives to bring her research into various communities. Dr. Sey is currently an education fellow at NHGRI and American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). One of her career goals is to establish a science outreach program in Ghana (and beyond) to facilitate science, technology, engineering and Math (STEM) innovation within African countries.
Follow on Twitter: @girlscientist
Dr. Chris Gunter is the senior advisor for genomics engagement and the head of the Engagement Methods Unit in the Social Behavioral Research Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in human genetics at Emory University and then completed postdoctoral work at Case Western Reserve University. Following that, she worked in editorial positions for Human Molecular Genetics, Science, and Nature, and currently has editorial positions at the preprint server bioRxiv and the journal CSHL Molecular Case Studies. She also held leadership positions in nonprofit work and academia, serving as the director of research affairs at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and as an associate professor in pediatrics and human genetics at the Emory University School of Medicine. In other words: she has had a lot of different “careers.” Her lab’s work has two major foci: scientific studies on autism genetics and development and measurement of science communication methods.
As a biologist at the NHGRI Zebrafish Core for 14 years, Kevin provides technical support for a variety of research projects at the NIH. Kevin’s role involves solving technical challenges associated with all related experiments, researching relevant articles, efficiently collecting and organizing data, training researchers, using expert knowledge of molecular biology techniques and managing zebrafish colony.
The Core is at the forefront of technology and uses CRISPR to efficiently generate animal models for scientific studies. Kevin has participated in the development of a high-throughput pipeline for developing zebrafish lines. Other techniques that Kevin use include microinjections of morpholinos for transient gene knockdown, whole mount in situ for spatial and temporal expression of genes, sequencing and fluorescent PCR assays. Kevin also performs techniques such as cryopreservation, microscopy, imaging and histology and provides general training on using the animal model for NHGRI staff. Kevin’s goal is to provide support and services to aid in the scientific discoveries made by NHGRI.
Jenny Montooth joined the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) as the social media specialist for the Office of Communications in 2017. Jenny runs NHGRI’s social media accounts and helps manage the Twitter account for the NHGRI director. They work to make NHGRI-funded genomics research accessible, interesting and fun for wider audiences. Through these efforts, Jenny has earned an NHGRI GREAT award for Diversity and Inclusion in Genomics Education and was nominated for a Golden Post Award for Best Government Twitter Presence.
Jenny has led the social media strategy for major NHGRI efforts, including the launch of the 2020 Strategic Vision and the successful completion of the first human genome sequence.
Dr. Stephanie Morris joined the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Extramural Research Program as a program director in 2019. She manages a portfolio of grants focused on high-throughput genomic technology development and functional genomics. She also oversees NHGRI’s Genome Technology program, Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) program and the Impact of Genomic Variation on Function (IGVF) program.
Prior to joining NHGRI, Dr. Morris was a program director in the NIH Office of the Director on the leadership teams responsible for oversight of the Common Fund Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity program and the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program. She joined NIH extramural in 2012 as a program director in the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives where she was part of the management team for the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer program. While at NCI, she managed a nanomaterials data repository and a portfolio of nanotechnology research awards primarily focused on nucleic acid-based therapeutics. Prior to her graduate studies, Dr. Morris directed an Analytical Ultracentrifugation Facility at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her scientific background is in epigenetics and gene expression and extends to interests in technology development and functional genomics.
Dr. Morris received a B.A. in biology and neuroscience and behavior from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed postdoctoral research at NCI in the Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression.
Ben Solomon, M.D., is the clinical director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). He leads a research group that focuses on using artificial intelligence to analyze datasets related to genetic conditions. He completed medical training in pediatrics and clinical genetics through a joint Children’s National/NHGRI program, has previously served as chief of the Division of Medical Genomics at the Inova Translational Medicine Institute and has led GeneDx, a genetics and genomics diagnostic and research company with a strong emphasis on research and the discovery of novel causes of disease. He is also co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Medical Genetics.
Amy Turriff, M.S., is a board-certified genetic counselor. She completed her genetic counseling training through a joint Johns Hopkins University/National Human Genome Research Institute program. The first ten years of her career were spent at the National Eye Institute working with children and adults with genetic conditions causing vision loss and blindness. In 2019, she joined NHGRI where she works as part of a multi-disciplinary team studying maternal incidental findings from prenatal genomic sequencing. Ms. Turriff’s research has included both qualitative and quantitative investigations of the psychological and social impact of living with genetic conditions, patient decision-making and informed consent. Her current research aims to inform best practices for the return of prenatal screening results that suggest maternal cancer.
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Last updated: March 28, 2023