Institutes & Centers

Institute for Biomedicine - Scientific Advisory Council

Scientific Advisory Council

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Professor Michael Boehnke (USA – Michigan)

Michael Boehnke is the Richard G. Cornell Distinguished University Professor of Biostatistics. He is Director of the University of Michigan Center for Statistical Genetics and Genome Science Training Program, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Professor Boehnke did his undergraduate degree in Mathematics at the University of Oregon and his PhD in Biomathematics at UCLA. He has been on the faculty at Michigan since 1984. His research focuses on problems of study design and statistical analysis of human genetic data with a particular emphasis on development and application of statistical methods for human gene mapping, with a current focus on disease and trait association studies based on genome sequence and genotype-array data. He is principal investigator of the Finland-United States Investigation of NIDDM (FUSION) study of the genetics of type 2 diabetes, the GoT2D and T2D-GENES type 2 diabetes sequencing studies, and the BRIDGES and InPSYght sequencing studies of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He is a founder and steering committee member of the DIAGRAM (type 2 diabetes), DIAMANTE (type 2 diabetes), MAGIC (glucose and insulin traits), GIANT (anthropometric traits), and Global Lipids genome-wide association meta-analysis consortia. Professor Boehnke has >340 refereed publications and has chaired or co-chaired 20 doctoral committees and supervised 10 post-doctoral fellows; 26 of his 30 completed trainees went directly to faculty positions at major research universities. He has provided advice for the setting up of the studies at the Institute for Biomedicine since the early 2000’s and has been a constant source of guidance and advice through his participation in various SAB’s throughout this time. He provides continuity and advice that keeps us in line with cutting edge biostatistical studies worldwide.

Professor Richard M Myers (USA – Alabama)

Richard M. Myers (born March 24, 1954) is an American geneticist and biochemist. He is President and Science Director of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. He obtained his PhD in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley, in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Tjian. After that, Myers spent almost four years as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Tom Maniatis, where he studied human gene regulation. Some new technologies he developed in Maniatis's lab exposed him to the field of human genetics, and much of his work since then has involved developing and using genomics and genetic tools to understand basic human biology and disease. Myers served on the faculty at the University of California in San Francisco from 1985 - 1993, and then in the Department of Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine from 1993 - 2008. He moved to Huntsville Alabama in 2008 to help build the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and continues to serve as president and science director. He was previously the chair of the department of genetics at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Human Genome Center. Myers' genome center contributed approximately 10 percent of the data in the Human Genome Project's efforts to sequence the human genome. His research focuses on human genetics and genomics and their interaction with inherited diseases.

Professor Maria Grazia Spillantini (UK)

Maria Grazia Spillantini is a Professor of Molecular Neurology at the John Van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge (UK). She worked with Rita Levi-Montalcini on Nerve Growth Factor (which led to the Nobel Prize for Prof. Montalcini), but she is most known in the scientific world for her discovery of alpha-synuclein as the major protein component in pathological intracellular inclusions in Parkinons´s disease and related disorders (Nature 1997). Her landmark discovery led to the definition of a subgroup of neurodegenerative diseases named synucleinopathies. Her current research work is focused on the biology and pathophysiology of alpha-synuclein and tau in neurodegenerative diseases of the aging, attempting at clarifying their role in pathogenesis and test experimental therapies. Prof. Spillantini is a Fellow of The Royal Society and of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was awarded the Potamkin Prize of the American Academy of Neurology, the Cotzias Prize of the Spanish Neurological Society, the Van Andel Prize for outstanding achievements in Parkinson’s disease research, and the Camillo Golgi Medal. She serves on several evaluation and review committees, including the European Research Council, and journal editorial boards (e.g. Brain). She is very well suited as an advisor for research strategy and project evaluation in the fields of neurology, neurobiology, genetics and experimental therapeutics.

Professor Elisabetta Cerbai (Italy)

Prof. Elisabetta Cerbai (Università degli Studi di Firenze) is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of cardiology, cellular physiology, pharmacology and sudden cardiac death. She has authored more than 160 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Prof. Cerbai has also been Vice-Rector for Scientific Research at the Università degli Studi di Firenze (2009 - 2015), coordinator of the Nucleo di Valutazione at the Sapienza University of Rome (2013-2016) and Member of the Health Ministry Advisory Board 'Consiglio Superiore di Sanita' (2015-2018). Therefore, Prof. Cerbai will be an invaluable addition to the advisory council both for her outstanding scientific records in the cellular cardiology field and for her proven experience as evaluator of scientific strategy and outputs.

Professor Pascal Borry (Belgium)

Pascal Borry is associate professor of bioethics at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law (University of Leuven, Belgium). His research is focused on fundamental and applied research in bioethics. His main research activities are concentrated on the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic and genomics. He published among other issues on topics such as direct to consumer genetic testing, public health genomics, biobanking, research on human tissue, genetic testing, preconceptional screening and neonatal screening. He published as well on the relation between empirical and normative approaches in bioethics. He published more than 100 publications in international peer reviewed journals. Pascal Borry is involved in various national and international research projects. This includes projects such as GENEBANC (Genetic bio and dataBanking: Confidentiality and protection of data. Towards a European harmonisation and policy), ENGAGE (European network of genomic and genetic epidemiology), EUROGENTEST, Public Health Genomics II, EUCellex (Cell-based regenerative medicine: new challenges for EU legislation and governance), PACITA (Parliaments and civil society in technology assessment), and the Marie Curie project Ethical, legal and Social aspects of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. He is also Vice-chair of the COST ACTION IS1303 Citizen's Health through public-private Initiatives: Public health, Market and Ethical perspectives (CHIP ME). He is programme director of the Master of Bioethics and teaches medical ethics to medical students. He is member of the Flemish Commission on neonatal screening (2012-2017), member of the Belgian Consultative Committee on Bioethics (2014-2018) and expert of the Superior Health Council (2014-2020). Within the European Society of Human Genetics he is member of the Professional and Public Policy Committee (2009-2016) and elected member of the board (2012-2017). Within the university he is member of the steering group YouReCa (Young Researchers Careers). Recently he became member of the Ethics Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He received various prizes. In 2006 he received the triennal prize for biomedical ethics ‘Professor Roger Borghgraef’. In 2014 he also received the Innovation Prize of the Dutch Association for Community Genetics and Public Health Genomics, and in 2015 the prize of the Dutch Society for Bioethics. In 2015 he also received the Science Communication Award of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. He was a visiting scholar at the Case Western Reserve University, the Université de Montréal, and the VU Medical Center Amsterdam . He is still Invited scholar at the Center for Genomics and Policy of Mc Gill University.

Professor Manuel Mayr

Manuel Mayr qualified in Medicine from the University of Innsbruck (Austria) in 1999. He then moved to London to undertake a PhD. Upon completion of his PhD, he achieved promotion to Professor in 2011. He has been awarded a prestigious British Heart Foundation Personal Chair in 2017. His academic achievements have been recognised by the inaugural Michael Davies Early Career Award of the British Cardiovascular Society (2007), the inaugural Bernard and Joan Marshall Research Excellence Prize of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research (2010), and the Outstanding Achievement Award by the European Society of Cardiology Council for Basic Cardiovascular Science (2013).

Professor Emanuele Di Angelantonio

Emanuele trained in cardiovascular medicine, in Italy and France, and is registered with the UK General Medical Council as a specialist in general internal medicine. After completing his specialist training, he gained an MSc in Medical Statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2005 and a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge in 2009. He was appointed as University Lecturer in Medical Screening in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care in 2010, where he is leading the Clinical Epidemiology Team in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit. In 2012, he has established and lead a new research group in blood donor health, capitalising on his appointment as Principal Investigator in Donor Health Research and Honorary Consultant for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). Since 2015 he is a Programme Leader and Deputy Director of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Blood and Transplant Research Unit in Donor Health and Genomics in Cambridge.

Professor Niko Beerenwinkel

Niko Beerenwinkel has been Associate Professor of Computational Biology at ETH Zurich since April 2013. Niko Beerenwinkel studied mathematics, biology, and computer science in Bayreuth, Valladolid, Bonn, and Saarbrücken. He received his diploma degree in mathematics from the University of Bonn in 1999 and his PhD in computer science from Saarland University in 2004. His thesis was honored by the Max Planck Society with the Otto Hahn Medal. Upon graduation, he was awarded the prestigious Emmy Noether fellowship which he used to pursue postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley between 2004 and 2006. He was affiliated with the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University before joining ETH Zurich in 2007. Niko Beerenwinkel's research is concerned with developing mathematical models of complex biosystems and efficient Algorithms for analyzing high-throuput molecular data. His interests range from mathematical foundations of biostatistical models to clinical applications. Current research topics include graphical models, molecular evolution, HIV drug resistance, somatic evolution of cancer, and ultra-deep sequencing of virus population.