Celebrate DNA Day with NHGRI

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Celebrate with NHGRI

Join us for the National DNA Day "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) Series

AMA SeriesEach day during the week leading up to National DNA Day, Monday, April 18th - Friday, April 22nd, and on Monday, April 25th, a different expert will be answering questions on the reddit science community forum: "/r/Science".

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and pgEd are joining forces to bring prominent geneticists from a variety of fields to reddit so you can "Ask Them Anything."

Not sure what an "Ask Me Anything" is? Find previous /r/Science AMAs here.

If you are new to reddit, and want to get involved in the discussion, learn more about how to participate at reddit_101

Monday, April 18th
George Church, Ph.D.

George Church

Dr. George Church is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and a Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MIT.  He is the director of PersonalGenomes.org, which provides the world's only open-access information on human Genomic, Environmental & Trait data (GET). His honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) & National Academy of Engineering (NAE) & The Franklin Institute's Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science. He has coauthored 400 papers, 74 patent publications & one book (Regenesis).

Find out more about Dr. George Church and his lab: George M. Church, Ph.D.

Read the full reddit chat: "Ask Me Anything" with Dr. George Church

Tuesday, April 19th
Ingrid Borecki, Ph.D.

Ingrid Borecki

Dr. Ingrid Borecki was Professor of Genetics and Biostatistics in the Center for Genome Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine for over 30 years, working in the area of statistical and genetic analysis of complex human traits. Her main research interests have been in identifying the genetic architecture of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors. In August 2015, she joined Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as Head of Analytical Genetics for the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) where her group is responsible for the development and application of statistical pipelines and tools appropriate for the genomic analysis of Big Data, meta-analysis, data representation and interpretation across the spectrum of studies.

Find out more about Dr. Ingrid Borecki and her group at RGC: Regeneron Genetics Center

Read the full reddit chat: "Ask Me Anything" with Dr. Ingrid Borecki

Wednesday, April 20th
NSGC Expert Media Panel

National Society of Genetic Counselors

Genetic counselors empower patients and their families with information, guidance and emotional support to help them understand their family history, evaluate genetic testing options, and make informed decisions based on test results. The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) is a professional organization for genetic counselors that raises awareness about the important genetic services they provide. The NSGC Expert Media Panel is made up of genetic counselors with expertise in a variety of areas including hereditary cancer, hereditary heart disease, rare diseases, psychiatry and prenatal screening.

Find out more about the NSGC Expert Media Panel here: NSGC Newsroom

Read the full reddit chat: "Ask Me Anything" with the National Society of Genetic Counselor Experts

Thursday, April 21st
Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D.

Eric Green

Dr. Eric D. Green is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director, chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch, and director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center. While directing an independent research program for almost two decades, Dr. Green was at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence and understand eukaryotic genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project. His laboratory also identified and characterized several human disease genes, including those implicated in forms of hereditary deafness, vascular disease and inherited peripheral neuropathy. As director of NHGRI, Dr. Green is responsible for providing overall leadership of the institute's research portfolio and other initiatives. 

Find out more about Dr. Green and NHGRI: Eric E Green, M.D., Ph.D.

Read the full reddit chat: "Ask Me Anything" with Dr. Eric Green

Friday, April 22nd
Jean Claude Zenklusen, Ph.D.

Jean Claude Zenklusen

Dr. Jean Claude Zenklusen is the Director of The Cancer Genome Atlas Program (TCGA). TCGA has collected samples from more than 11,000 patients across 33 tumor types, and generated comprehensive data sets to describe the molecular changes that occur in cancer. Eighteen integrative analyses of individual cancer types have been published and the analyses for another fifteen papers are underway. Though TCGA will wrap up in 2016, cancer genomics projects built upon the success of TCGA will continue to play a major part in the NCI's mission to better understand and treat cancer in the years to come.

To find out more information about Dr. Zenklusen, and TCGA: Jean Claude Zenklusen, Ph.D.

Read the full reddit chat: "Ask Me Anything" with Dr. Jean Claude Zenklusen

Monday, April 25th
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Francis Collins

Dr. Francis S. Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In that role he oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH from 1993-2008.

Before coming to the NIH, Dr. Collins was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Michigan. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007 and received the National Medal of Science in 2009.

For more information about Dr. Collins and the NIH: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Read the full reddit chat: "Ask Me Anything" with Dr. Francis Collins


National DNA Day Twitter Chat

Twitter ChatNational DNA Day's #DNADay16 Twitter Chat is a moderated discussion led by @DNADay. We will be posing questions to programs involved in genetics/genomics research and education about topics such as career paths, technology development and education. Follow the instructions below to join in the conversation. 

Connect with us

How to join a Twitter Chat

1) Go to Twitter

2) Search the hashtag #DNADay16

3) Follow along with the conversation or join in by tweeting using our #DNADay16 hashtag

To learn more via past DNA Day Chats, visit:

National DNA Day Online Chatroom Archives (2005 - 2013)


National DNA Day Speaker Series

Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding - Eric P. Spana, Ph.D.NHGRI will be hosting its inaugural National DNA Day Speaker Series and the theme for this year's presentation is pop culture and genetics/genomics. NHGRI's special guest speaker will be Eric P. Spana, Ph.D.

Dr. Spana's discussion topic is Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding. The event will take place on Monday, April 25th, 2016 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in Building 35A (Porter Building), Room 640.

YouTube video Watch the Video: Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding
More on Dr. Eric Spana:

Dr. Eric Spana is an award-winning instructor who has spent over 20 years utilizing Drosophila as a model system for neurobiology, cell biology and genetics. As an Assistant Professor of the Practice in Biology his primary focus is on undergraduate teaching and research rather than graduate or post-doctoral training. His current work focuses on helping undergraduate students do biological laboratory research before they even begin college, and on creating courses that allow students to contribute to real scientific problems rather than simply following a lab manual. In class, students learn better by being able to place new information in context with ideas they already find familiar and understand. Dr. Spana frequently helps students place this new information into their encyclopedic knowledge of particular pieces of culture, like Harry Potter, Star Wars and The Avengers.


Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural HOT (History Human Origins Today) Topic

Bill Pavan's event flyer. Free and open to the public.
Join us for a stimulating discussion as NHGRI partners with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) for their HOT (Human Origins Today) Topic public forum series. This National DNA Day event will take place Friday, April 29th 2016 from 4:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m., in the Hall of Human Origins "One Species, Living Worldwide Theater."

This year's speaker is NHGRI's own senior investigator in the Genetic Disease Research Branch, William J. Pavan, Ph.D.

His discussion topic is Genes and Animal Coloration: It's Not All Black and White

For more information about pigmentation, check out the "Evolution of Human Skin Color" unit in NMNH's "Teaching Evolution through Human Examples" lesson plan and the Genome: Unlocking Life's Code Variations in Human Skin Color interactive learning resource.

Learn more about Dr. William Pavan

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Last Updated: April 29, 2016 

Silhouttes of people cheering up for DNA Day