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2016 Annual Symposium

NIH Biotechnology Symposium: Protein Evolution

Friday, April 22nd

2016 symposium flyer


8:45-9:00 AM – Opening Remarks

9:00-10:00 AM – Sandy Merino, PhD, Novozymes Inc. “Engineering of microorganisms for the production of enzymes and chemicals”

10:00-11:00 AM – Philippa Marrack, PhDUniversity of Colorado Denver “T and B cell roles in autoimmunity”

11:00 AM-2:00 PM – Melvin Duvall, PhDNorthern Illinois University “Inferring the plant evolution in the high-throughput sequencing era”

12:00-1:00 PM – Lunch

1:00-2:00 PM – Chris Amemiya, PhDUniversity of Washington “Evolution of novel proteins and their applications in biology and biotechnology”

2:00-3:00 PM – Gerry Smith, PhDFred Hutch “E. coli RecBCD and its control by Chi sites”

3:00-4:30 PM – Poster Symposium

Biographies of Speakers

Sandy Merino

Dr. Sandy Merino

Senior Scientist at Novozymes, Inc.

Dr. Merino earned her Ph.D. in the Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of New Mexico studying sexual development in Neurospora crassa and Neurospora testrasperma. Afterwards, she completed a post doc position at Indiana University studying DNA repair and meiosis in the basidiomycete Coprinus cinerius. She then joined Novozymes as a senior scientist.
Philippa Marrack

Dr. Philippa Marrack

Distinguished Professor, Department of Biomedical Research at National Jewish Health, UCDenver

Dr. Marrack was trained as a biochemist at Cambridge University.  She came to the University of California, San Diego in 1971 to do postdoctoral work and along the way married an American, John Kappler, which is why she is still in the USA.  Together the couple worked at the University of Rochester and moved to National Jewish in Denver in 1979. She is now Chair of a newly created Department of Biomedical Science at that institution, a Distinguished Professor of the University of Colorado and an HHMI investigator.
In collaboration with John Kappler, Dr. Marrack studies the development, specificity and function of T cells, with side tracks to experiments on some kinds of B cells.  Like many other immunologists, Drs. Marrack and Kappler have over the years shifted from a focus on basic biology to more applied studies on subjects such as the functions of vaccine adjuvants, the role of gender in autoimmunity and immune responses to self-antigens and metal ions in mice and humans.
melvin Duvall

Dr. Melvin Duvall

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University

Dr. Duvall first obtained a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Iowa before moving on to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities for a Ph.D in botanical systematics. He was an assistant and associate professor at South Dakota State University before moving to Northern Illinois University where he is a full professor. His research group studies focus on understanding both ancient and recent molecular evolution. Using genome sequencing and analysis, his group can compare mutation patterns and fill in biological history.
Chris Amemiya

Dr. Chris Amemiya

Affiliate Full Professor, Molecular Genetics, Director of Genome Resource Center, Benaroya Research Institute, University of Washington

Dr. Amemiya was born and raised in Hawaii. He completed his undergraduate studies at Purdue University and received his PhD in genetics from Texas A&M University. completed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Gary Litman in comparative immunology (Tampa Bay Research Institute, Florida). He took a second postdoctoral fellowship where he worked on the Human Genome Project with Dr. Pieter de Jong (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California). After his postdoctoral training, Dr. Amemiya became a faculty member (Assistant-Associate Professor) in the Center for Human Genetics at the Boston University School of Medicine for seven years, where he taught medical genetics and studied the genetics of an X-linked immunodeficiency diseases. Dr. Amemiya moved to Benaroya Research Institute in 2001. In 2007-2008, he served as a Program Director for the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C. He is a full professor in the Biology Department at the University of Washington.

Dr. Amemiya is interested in the origins of novelty and innovation in vertebrates, with special emphasis on the adaptive immune system and vertebrate bauplan. His lab uses whatever tools are necessary to address fundamental biological questions, particularly large-insert cloning, comparative genomics, computational biology and developmental biology. His laboratory wishes to understand the mode by which diversity is generated at the genomic and developmental levels and how the mechanism emerged in the first place.

Gerry Smith

Dr. Gerry Smith

Lead Scientist, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Basic Sciences Division, University of Washington

Dr. Gerry Smith earned his Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Cornell University emphasizing in microbiology. He then went on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to earn a Ph.D. in biology. He currently runs a lab at Fred Hutch in the Basic Sciences Division. His research interests include recombination and DNA repair regulation using yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and the bacterium Escherichia coli as model systems.