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Wellcome Trust School of Human Genomics Renamed for Founder Leena Peltonen

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) —Leena Peltonen, the Finnish geneticist and head of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's human genetics program who died in March, was recently honored by the trust when it named for her its recent four-day human genomics conference.

The 2010 Leena Peltonen School of Human Genomics brought together human geneticists and PhD students to attend presentations, discuss current topics in human genetics, and meet one-to-one. Among speakers at the event: Richard Gibbs, director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine; James Lupski, vice chair professor of molecular and human genetics and pediatrics at BCM; Mark McCarthy, Robert Turner professor of diabetes at the University of Oxford; and Aravinda Chakravati, director of the Center for Complex Disease Genomics at the McCusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"The reputation and expertise of those contributing to this year's School of Human Genomics is a testament to the vision that so excited Leena three years ago," Manolis Dermitzakis, Louis-Jeantet Professor of Genetics in the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development at the University of Geneva, a co-founder of the School of Human Genomics, said in a statement.

Dermitzakis co-organized the event with Jeffrey Barrett of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. In 2007, Dermitzakis joined Peltonen in founding the course, which has seen more than 80 senior PhD students from top-tier research institutions.

The event was held Aug. 22-26 at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, Cambridge, UK, which is home to Wellcome Trust Sanger.

Peltonen was 57 when she died of cancer on March 11 at her home in Finland. In addition to her position at Wellcome Trust Sanger, Peltonen held appointments at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass.

In addition to renaming the course, Wellcome Trust unveiled a new logo for the School of Human Genomics featuring a stiletto shoe with a double helix heel. The logo "celebrates the marriage of style and science that was so unique to Leena and so admired by all her friends and colleagues," Wellcome Trust Sanger said in the statement.

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