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Next-Gen Tomorrow's PIs: 2008


Name: Michelle Chan
Affiliation: The Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University
Recommended by: Aviv Regev
Research: Michelle Chan is currently working on her PhD in Aviv Regev's lab, where she is focused on reconstructing the evolution of gene regulation from comparative expression data. Chan has already won some acclaim for an algorithm she developed which identifies all the regulatory modules from multiple species in a phylogeny and reconstructs their evolutionary history.

Name: Don Conrad
Affiliation: The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Recommended by: Matthew Hurles
Research: Don Conrad is currently a postdoc in Matthew Hurles' lab, where he has already been first author on two papers in Nature Genetics from his graduate studies. According to Hurles, Conrad is showing tremendous promise with solid research projects on SNP and CNV variation in the human genome. Conrad is also very interested in developing and applying statistical methods for the measurement and analysis of structural variation in human populations.

Name: Brian Gregory
Affiliation: Salk Institute
Recommended by: Todd Michael
Research: As a postdoc in Joseph Ecker's lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Brian Gregory is interested in taking what can be learned from RNA silencing pathways in plants and applying it to cancer chemotherapy.  He hopes one day to use small RNAs to antagonize the effect of genes that protect cancer cells from being killed by chemotherapy. After his postdoc is completed, Gregory is slated to take an assistant professorship position at the University of Pennsylvania.

Name: Elinor Karlsson
Affiliation: Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology
Recommended by: Pardis Sabeti
Research: In addition to being the first postdoc of the Sabeti lab, Elinor Karlsson is also gaining attention for her efforts to find genes related to disease susceptibility in African populations by applying new mapping methods she developed by working with genomics in dogs. Karlsson's doctoral research focused on the genetic causes of diseases in purebred dogs in a collaborative project between the bioinformatics program at Boston University and the Broad Institute.

Name: Vincent Plagnol
Affiliation: The Cambridge
Institute for Medical Research
Recommended by: Matthew Hurles
Research: Vincent Plagnol is a postdoc in David Clayton's group at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, where he is focusing on a broad range of statistical problems in population genetics and association studies. One area of focus for Plagnol involves his work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation/Wellcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory, through which he aims to understand the genetics of type 1 diabetes.

Name: Ilan Wapinski
Affiliation: Harvard University
Recommended by: Aviv Regev
Research: Wapinski is primarily focused on the evolutionary histories of genes and their transcriptional regulatory programs in yeasts.  Wapinski has already accomplished much in his young career, including winning two "Best Poster" awards at ISMB in 2004 and 2005 which presented SYNERGY, a novel algorithm he designed to reconstruct evolutionary histories of all genes in a large species group.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.