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2017 Speakers

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We would like to thank all the speakers for taking part in 36th Summer Symposium in Molecular Biology at Penn State.

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Charles N. Serhan, Ph.D., DSc.Prof. Charles N. Serhan, Ph.D., DSc. - "Resolvins in Inflammation-Resolution: Metabololipidomics in Human Diseases and Model Organisms"

Professor & Director, Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury; Brigham and Women's Hospital & The Simon Gelman Professor of Anaesthesia (Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology) Harvard Medical School & Professor Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Dr. Serhan received his BS in biochemistry from Stony Brook University; doctorate in medical sciences from New York University School of Medicine; Post-doctoral fellow at the Karolinska Institutet with Professor Samuelsson 1982 Nobel Laureate. In 1987,  joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School and received an honorary degree from Harvard University (1996). He has received several awards including the 2016 the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine.     

Gary D. WuGary D. Wu, MD

Professor of Medicine, Ferdinand G. Weisbrod Chair in Gastroenterology, Co-Director, PennCHOP Microbiome Program at Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Wu is the Ferdinand G. Weisbrod Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where he is the Associate Chief for Research in the Division of Gastroenterology, the Associate Director of the Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Disease, and the Co-Director of the PennCHOP Microbiome Program. He was the inaugural Director and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education and is an elected member of both the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians. Research programs in the Wu laboratory focus on the mutualistic interactions between the gut microbiota and its host with a particular emphasis on metabolism including nitrogen balance, intestinal oxygen regulation, and epithelial intermediary metabolism. Of particular interest is the effect of diet on the gut microbiome and its relationship to therapeutic responses associated with the use of defined formula diets in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Insights gained from these projects will hopefully lead to the development of better diets for patients with IBD.



Dr. Angela E. DouglasAngela E. Douglas "How the microbiome shapes animal metabolism"

Daljit S. and Elaine Professor of Insect Physiology and Toxicology at Cornell University

Following a BA degree in zoology at Oxford University, Angela conducted her PhD in microbiology at the University of Aberdeen, and postdoctoral studies at Oxford and East Anglia.  She was awarded a ten-year Royal Society University Research Fellowship before taking up a faculty position at the University of York, UK, where she rose through the ranks to a Personal Chair and was awarded a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Fellowship.  In 2008, Angela transferred to the US, where she is currently the Daljit S. and Elaine Professor of Insect Physiology and Toxicology at Cornell University.

Dr. Art EdisonArt Edison  "Data Integration Strategies in C. elegans"

Professor and GRA Eminent Scholar at University of Georgia

Art Edison completed his Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he developed and applied NMR methods for protein structural studies under the supervision of John Markley and Frank Weinhold. He joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1996, where he became a full professor and Co-PI of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. In 2013, he was the founding PI and Director of the NIH-funded (U24) Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics (SECIM), one of 6 NIH metabolomics centers. He moved to the University of Georgia as a Professor and GRA Eminent Scholar in NMR Spectroscopy in 2015. 

Dr. Oliver FiehnOliver Fiehn, PhD "Epimetabolites in cancer and lung diseases"

Director, NIH West Coast Metabolomics Center; Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Davis

Prof. Oliver Fiehn has pioneered developments and applications in metabolomics with over 220 publications to date, starting in 1998 as postdoctoral scholar and from 2000 onwards as group leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany. Since 2004 he is Professor at the UC Davis Genome Center, overseeing his research laboratory and the satellite core service laboratory in metabolomics research. Since 2012, he is Director of the NIH West Coast Metabolomics Center, supervising 35 staff operating 15 mass spectrometers and coordinating activities with four UC Davis satellite labs, including efforts for combined interpretation of genomics and metabolomics data.


Dr. Frank GonzalezFrank J. Gonzalez "Targeting the intestine for the control of metabolic diseases"

Chief, Laboratory of Metabolism at National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Frank Gonzalez’s group studies drug and carcinogen metabolism, and mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis, primarily using mouse models. His laboratory uses LCMS-based metabolomics for the discovery of cancer biomarkers in mouse models and, in collaboration with clinical labs, human case control studies. The Gonzalez group also studies the role of nuclear receptors in metabolic diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance and fatty liver disease, all of which are risk factors for cancer and increase mortality in cancer patients. Recent studies have uncovered novel nuclear receptor-driven pathways in the intestine by which the gut microbiota influences these metabolic diseases, that has led to novel insights into the potential clinical intervention of these disorders.

Dr. Caroline H. JohnsonCaroline H. Johnson "Identifying the roles of microbial metabolites in colon cancer"

Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Johnson obtained her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Imperial College London in 2009. Since then she has held postdoctoral and staff appointments at the National Cancer Institute and The Scripps Research Institute, and began a faculty appointment at Yale in July 2016. Dr. Johnson’s primary research focuses on using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to investigate the genetic and environmental influences in colon cancer (diet, microbiome, biological sex differences)


Thomas P. NeufeldThomas P. Neufeld  "Autophagy, mTOR and insulin signaling in Drosophila"

Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Thomas P. Neufeld, Ph.D., is professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and a member of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, Nutrition and Obesity Center and Developmental Biology Center.  Dr. Neufeld obtained his Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994, working with Dr. Gerald M. Rubin, and conducted postdoctoral work with Dr. Bruce A. Edgar at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.  He joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1999.

Dr. Jessica E. PrenniJessica E. Prenni "Metabolomics as a Molecular Tool to Understand the Mechanism of Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Interactions with the Soil Microbiome in Energy Sorghum"

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Director, Proteomics and Metabolomics Facility at Colorado State University

Dr. Prenni is trained as an Analytical Chemist and has been working in the field of biological mass spectrometry for over 15 years.  The research in her group focuses on analytical and informatics method development for proteomics and metabolomics studies.  Additionally, her group operates as a collaborative service center working with almost 200 researchers every year supporting a wide variety of applications ranging from basic biochemistry to human and veterinary clinical studies to agriculture and food improvement.

Dr. Daniel PromislowDaniel Promislow "Metabolomics and the Systems Biology of Aging"

Associate Professor of Pathology and Biology at University of Washington

Dr. Promislow is a Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Biology at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is a co-Director of the Dog Aging Project, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Promislow's research has included work on numerous phyla, from yeast to flies to companion dogs. His current work uses systems biology approaches to understand to mechanisms that underlie natural variation in mating, aging, and age-related disease.

Dr. John RawlsJohn F. Rawls, Ph.D. "Microbial regulation of host physiology – insights from the zebrafish"

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology; Director, Center for Genomics of Microbial Systems at Duke University School of Medicine

Dr. Rawls’ research program utilizes zebrafish and mice to investigate how microbial communities (microbiota) assemble in the intestine and influence host digestive physiology and immunity.  He also uses the zebrafish system to identify genetic and environmental mechanisms underlying adipose tissue distribution and function.  His work has provided insights into how host-microbiota relationships have evolved across vertebrate lineages, and uncovered conserved molecular mechanisms contributing to inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and metabolic disease.

Dr. Laura K. ReedLaura K. Reed
"Do these genes make me look fat? : Genotype-by-diet interactions underlying metabolomic syndrome in Drosophila."

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences at University of Alabama

Dr. Laura Reed is a faculty member in Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama with expertise in Evolutionary Genomics.  Dr. Reed uses fruit flies to research the evolution of complex traits such as Metabolic Syndrome that has both genetic and environmental underpinnings.  Dr. Reed is especially interested in applying systems biology data such as whole genome expression profiles and metabolomics to understand how genotype maps to phenotype.

Dr. Frank C. SchroederFrank C. Schroeder "Uncovering the “Dark Matter” of the Chemistry of Life"

Associate Professor, Boyce Thompson Institute and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University

Frank C. Schroeder studied chemistry and physics at the University of Hamburg, where received his Ph.D. for research on the structures and functions of insect-derived natural product with Prof. Wittko Francke. After postdoctoral research with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University and Jon Clardy at Harvard Medical School he started his independent career as an Assistant Professor at Cornell's Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) in August 2007. Since 2013, he is Associate Professor at BTI and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell. Schroeder's research is directed at characterizing structures and functions of biogenic small molecules, combining expertise in molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and organic synthesis.

Dr. Supriya SrinivasanSupriya Srinivasan "The Neurobiology of Body Fat Metabolism: Lessons from C. elegans"

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Physiology and The Dorris Neuroscience Center at The Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Supriya Srinivasan is on the faculty at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms by which the central nervous system and the metabolic organs of the body communicate with one another to regulate neuronal functions, metabolism and lifespan. Work from her group has shown that the nervous system regulates whole body metabolism independently of actual food intake. In turn, the fat status in the metabolic tissues regulates neuronal activity. Using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, her lab employs a combination of molecular genetics, in vivo imaging technologies and phenotypic readouts to decipher the mechanisms of neuroendocrine communication that underlie behavior and physiology.

Dr. Casey M. TheriotCasey M. Theriot, PhD  "Rational design of gut microbiota-mediated bile acids to restore colonization resistance against C. difficile"

Assistant Professor in Infectious Disease in Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and received her PhD from NC State University in the Department of Microbiology. She then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship and independent research position with Dr. Vincent Young at the University of Michigan Medical School, where she focused on defining the gastrointestinal tract microbiome and metabolome during resistance and susceptibility to Clostridium difficile colonization and infection in a mouse model. Dr. Theriot’s current research focuses on how gut microbial derived secondary bile acids inhibit the C. difficile life cycle using in vitro and in vivo models. She is also working on manipulating the gut microbiota to rationally alter the composition of the bile acid pool in the gut, which has the potential to improve preventative and therapeutic approaches against many human diseases.