Keynote Speakers - BioTechniques

Dr. Stephanie Devaney- Plenary Speaker

Stephanie Devaney is the Deputy Director of the All of Us Research Program at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to this, she led the coordination of the Precision Medicine Initiative from the Office of the Chief of Staff at the White House. In this role, she coordinated the many components of the initiative and guided the vision of the overall effort, along with the many federal partners. Before joining the White House, Stephane worked in the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health. There she helped advance policies critical to biomedical research and the NIH mission and assisted in the development of programs and research initiatives to advance national scientific priorities, including the Precision Medicine Initiative. Prior to that, Stephanie was a researcher at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University. There she conducted research on pharmacogenetics and drug labeling; performed a meta-analysis of non-invasive fetal gender genetic testing; and was involved in public engagement surrounding the many ethical and social issues that are emerging with novel genomic technologies. Stephanie received her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the George Washington University and her B.S. in Biology from The Ohio State University.


Prof. Elaine Mardis- Hidden in the Genome Session

Dr. Mardis is the co-executive director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine and a professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Her research interests focus on the application of next-generation sequencing to characterize cancer genomes and transcriptomes, and to support therapeutic decision-making. Her translational research efforts devise sequencing-based diagnostics, decision-support tools and databases, and the use of genomics to design personalized cancer vaccines. Dr. Mardis was on the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine from 1993-2016, where she became co-director of the McDonnell Genome Institute in 2002 and was named the Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn distinguished professor of medicine in 2014. Previously, she was a senior research scientist at BioRad Laboratories. Dr. Mardis graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BS in zoology and completed her PhD in chemistry and biochemistry, also at Oklahoma.


Prof. Rob Knight- Host-Pathogen/Environment Session

Rob Knight is the founding Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and Professor of Pediatrics and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego. Before that, he was Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Computer Science in the BioFrontiers Institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an HHMI Early Career Scientist. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology. He received the 2017 Massry Prize for his microbiome research. In 2015 he received the Vilceck Prize in Creative Promise for the Life Sciences. He is the author of “Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes” (Simon & Schuster, 2015), coauthor of “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) and spoke at TED in 2014. His lab has produced many of the software tools and laboratory techniques that enabled high-throughput microbiome science, including the QIIME pipeline (cited over 10,000 times as of this writing) and UniFrac (cited over 5000 times including its web interface). He is co-founder of the Earth Microbiome Project, the American Gut Project, and the company Biota, Inc., which uses DNA from microbes in the subsurface to guide oilfield decisions. His work has linked microbes to a range of health conditions including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, has enhanced our understanding of microbes in environments ranging from the oceans to the tundra, and made high-throughput sequencing techniques accessible to thousands of researchers around the world.


Prof. Heidi Rehm- Translational Research Session

Heidi Rehm is the medical director of the Clinical Research Sequencing Platform, a human geneticist and genomic medicine researcher and an institute member at the Broad Institute. She is chief genomics officer in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She is also a professor of pathology at MGH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School. She is a board-certified geneticist and leader in defining standards for the interpretation of sequence variants and a principal investigator of a major NIH-funded effort called ClinGen (Clinical Genome Resource), providing free and publicly accessible resources to support the interpretation of genes and variants.

Rehm also co-leads the Broad Center for Mendelian Genomics with Daniel MacArthur focused on discovering novel rare disease genes and co-leads the Matchmaker Exchange to aid in gene discovery. She is a strong advocate and pioneer of open science and data sharing, working to extend these approaches through her role on the steering committee of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. Rehm is also a co-investigator of the BabySeq Project exploring the clinical use of genomic sequencing as an adjunct to newborn screening; principal investigator in the eMERGE consortium supporting genomic discovery and genomic medicine implementation; and a principal investigator on a project to develop the Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) center into a health innovation platform for clinical decision support.