HGSA2017 - Speakers

HGSA2017 - Speakers



Dr Jehannine Austin (Canada)
Co-Sponsored by ASGC

Dr Jehannine Austin was President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) in 2016, and is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry & Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genomics. Her research work is centered around using a clinical genetics perspective to inform the development of novel biological and non-biological interventions to improve outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disorders and to support their families. She investigates the effects of genetic counseling for people with psychiatric disorders, and in addition to writing a book on this subject, founded the worlds first specialist psychiatric genetic counseling service, which has now helped about 600 families in British Columbia. She received the 2013 International Leadership award from NSGC, and in 2015 received the inaugural professional practice, innovation and advocacy leadership award from the Canadian Association of Genetic Counselors. In 2016, she was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr David Glahn (USA)

Dr David Glahn joined the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, and the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine in October of 2008. He received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). From 2002 until 2008, Glahn was part of the Department of Psychiatry and the Research Imaging Center, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. Glahn’s research focuses on elucidating the neurobiological roots of major mental illnesses through the integration of cognitive neuropsychological, functional and structural neuroimaging, and behavioral and molecular genetic approaches. The ultimate goals of this research is the identification of genes involved in affective and psychotic illnesses as well as genes that influence non-pathological brain structure and function. Localization of genes involved in mental illness should significantly contribute to an understanding of the underlying biology of these complex diseases, which in turn should improve future treatments and create the potential for prevention strategies.

Prof Raoul Hennekam (Netherlands)
Co-Sponsored by AACG

Raoul Hennekam is Professor of Pediatrics and of Translational Genetics in Amsterdam and Honorary Professor at the Faculty of Brain Sciences of the Institute of Neurology, University College of London. His main interest is obtaining information on the natural history of syndromes by characterizing groups of patients with syndromes, and evaluating these patients clinically, molecularly, cognitively and from the behavioral angle. Knowledge of the natural history of syndromes and access to large groups of patients are essential in studying the effects of various management regimens. A further major interest is molecular dysmorphology, combining detailed phenotyping including imaging techniques, such as 3D facial scanning and neuroimaging, with results of Next Generation Sequencing techniques. Other specific disorders studies with his group are autism and related disorders, connective tissue disorders and disorders associated with aging. Prof. Hennekam is the senior editor of the Oxford Monograph “Gorlin’s Syndromes of the Head and Neck”, the major text in this specific field.

Dr Jan H.J. Hoeijmakers (Netherlands)

Dr Jan Hoeijmakers started the molecular analysis of DNA repair in mammals at the Dept. of Genetics (Erasmus Univ. Rotterdam). He cloned the first of many human DNA repair genes, allowing elucidation of the underlying mechanisms and the basis of human repair syndromes, such as the cancer-prone xeroderma pigmentosum disorder and the neurodevelopmental Cockayne syndrome. His team generated numerous mouse repair mutants and discovered a strong connection with accelerated aging and a trade-off between cancer and aging. These mutants appeared superior models for Alzheimer’s disease addressing a tremendous unmet medical need. Rapid accumulation of unrepaired DNA damage causing premature cell death and senescence also triggered an anti-aging ‘survival response’ which enhances maintenance resembling the longevity response by dietary restriction. Remarkably, subjecting these mice to actual dietary restriction tripled(!) their lifespan, drastically retarding DNA damage accumulation and accelerated aging most impressively neurodegeneration. These findings open perspectives for preventive interventions for healthy aging, reducing cancer and many aging-related diseases including neurodegeneration, and for therapy of human genome instability syndromes.

National Speakers

Dr William Brooks (NSW)

Dr Bill Brooks has worked as a clinician-researcher with families with the hereditary forms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias since 1988, initially at Concord Hospital and The University of Sydney, and more recently at Neuroscience Research Australia in Randwick. In collaboration with other researchers, including Peter Schofield, John Kwok, Glenda Halliday and Jillian Kril in Sydney, Colin Masters in Melbourne and Ralph Martins’ group in Perth, he has helped characterize Australian families clinically, genetically and neuropathologically. The first gene for familial Alzheimer’s disease was described in 1991, followed soon after by other genes for Alzheimer’s disease and familial frontotemporal dementia. Since 2009 Australian families have been participating in an international biomarker study, the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN), with funding from the US National Institutes of Health. This work has led to prevention trials, which are now underway with sites in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Prof Matthew Brown (QLD)

Professor Matt Brown is a clinician-scientist who initially trained as a rheumatologist before heading off into a career in immunogenetics. His ground breaking work has dissected the genetic causes of the disease ankylosing spondylitis, resulting in widely recognised new treatments. His interests in translating genomics into clinical applications has led to innovations linking genetic research to patient cancer care; specifically through personalised medicine approaches for people with leukemia, lung, gastric, head and neck, and colorectal cancer. He has many international collaborations with universities, hospitals and researchers and is currently establishing a research and clinical provision facility in China with one of the country's largest hospitals. Former Director of the University of Queensland, Diamantina Institute. He is a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of Sciences and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and previously a Professor and Fellow of the University of Oxford.

Prof Jamie Craig (SA)

Prof Jamie Craig is a Consultant Ophthalmologist specializing in the care of glaucoma patients. He is a clinician-scientist with a strong track record in clinical and genetic research. As a NHMRC Practitioner-Fellow, he seeks to translate his laboratory-based research into clinical practice. Specific research interests include the genetic susceptibility to all forms of glaucoma, congenital cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. He has skills in clinical diagnosis and disease management, as well as having made important discoveries on the genetic etiology of glaucoma and other ocular conditions. He is experienced in patient recruitment, and has pioneered strategies to develop a National Registry of cases with extremely severe vision loss from glaucoma: The Australian and New Zealand Register of Advanced Glaucoma (ANZRAG). This work has led to genome-wide association studies for identification of genes associated with glaucoma susceptibility. A similar approach is now underway for blindness due to diabetic retinopathy: Registry of Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy in Australia (RADAR). Having completed a D.Phil. in the analysis of complex traits by genome wide linkage approaches, he maintains a detailed understanding of strategies to enhance power by careful case selection, and the utilization of clinical information to refine analyses. Being responsible for direct patient care, he attaches a high priority to applying research outcomes to better models of patient care.

Ms Kate Dunlop (NSW)

Kate Dunlop is the Director of the Centre for Genetics Education NSW Health. The Centre’s education programs are based around three key areas: Clinical Genetics and Genomics, GP Education and Public Health and its website provides fact sheets, resources and a National Database of genetics services and support groups [www.genetics.edu.au]. Kate is a graduate of the University of Sydney with a BApp Science, Grad Dip in Adult Education and a Masters in Public Health with over 25 years experience in providing education to a wide range of audiences including patients, health professionals, students and the community. Her current focus is on identifying educational needs and the engagement of non-genetics trained health professionals in genetics and genomics. Kate is a member of the Inter-Society Coordinating Committee for Practitioner Education in Genomics (ISCC) National Institutes of Health, Chair of Genetic Alliance Australia, Clinical Lecturer University of Sydney and is involved in a range of collaborative research projects.

Dr Steven Lane (QLD)

Dr Lane is Head of the Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Leukaemia Research Laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. He maintains an active clinical role as a clinical haematologist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) where he regularly treats patients with leukaemia and related blood cancers. Formerly, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Medical School, a postdoctoral fellow of the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia, a NHMRC Career Development Fellow and is now an inaugural CSL Centenary Fellow. He has published more than 50 highly cited articles, including seminal works in cancer research detailing approaches to target cancer stem cells to improve treatment outcomes.

Ms Nicole Martin (QLD)

Nicole Martin has worked in Cytogenetic laboratories in both the public (Queensland Health) and private sectors (Virtus Health) and is currently the Chief Scientist in Genetics for Virtus Diagnostics, the Pathology arm of Virtus Health. With an interest in education, she has been active in teaching medical students in the old undergraduate medical course and now in the postgraduate medical course for the University of Queensland. She also presents at GP master classes run by the Queensland Fertility Group.

Her interests when in the public sector encompassed prenatal diagnosis, neonatology and dysmorphology. Now in the IVF industry, she has helped developed testing for then investigation of genetic causes of infertility, with the introduction of sperm FISH and several NGS gene panels.