Professor Matthew Brown, an internationally renowned clinician-scientist, joined Genomics England in 2021.
Prior to joining Genomics England he was Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre and Professor of Medicine within the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London.
Professor Brown trained as a clinician-scientist and a rheumatologist, including a period of post-graduate study at the University of Oxford. He has made contributions to the development of gene-mapping approaches in human diseases and genome-wide association study methodology, leading to the discovery of thousands of genetic variants, with a particular interest in ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. In the genetics of rare human diseases, he has identified genes responsible for monogenic forms of arthritis, ectopic bone development, and skeletal dysplasias. He has also led efforts in Australia to translate research sequencing capability into precision medicine programs for cancer patients. His still practices medicine, in the specialty of rheumatology, with a particular focus on axial spondyloarthropathies.
Professor Alison Van Eenennaam is a Professor of Cooperative Extension in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis. She received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and both an MS in Animal Science, and a PhD in Genetics from UC Davis.
Her publicly funded research and outreach program focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her current research projects include the development of genome editing approaches for cattle. She has given over 700 invited presentations to audiences globally and uses a variety of media to inform general public audiences about science and technology.
A passionate advocate of science, Dr. Van Eenennaam was the recipient of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology 2014 Borlaug Communication Award and the American Society of Animal Science 2019 Rockefeller Prentice Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics.
Georgina Hold is the Professor of Gut Health and Microbiology at the St George and Sutherland Clinical School, UNSW Australia. She has 25 years’ experience working in microbiome research in Australia, USA and UK, including a Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University (2014/2015). Her research focusses on understanding the impact of gastrointestinal microbes on human health and disease, with a particular focus on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Developing greater understanding of the microbiota allows us to further appreciate the contribution that microbes play in diseases and potentially develop therapeutic strategies to maintain and restore health. Her lab has an internationally renowned reputation for multi-omic microbiota analysis. This has been achieved by a) developing robust protocols for collecting and processing the most clinically relevant samples, and b) ensuring the science is clinically driven. The main challenges in gut microbiome research relate to: 1) defining the point at which microbiota changes occur, which is in advance of clinical symptoms/disease presentation, 2) understanding the metabolic capabilities of the gut microbiota, 3) the effect of therapeutic regimens on the gut microbiota and ultimately identifying how to manipulate these factors to promote/maintain health. This requires multi-disciplinary research strategies harnessing clinicians, microbiologists, nutritionists, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians and also public health analysts. To achieve this, she collaborates with groups all over the world to ensure the skills sets required to address these multi-faceted research questions are brought together. Her research is supported through grants awarded from ARC, Pfizer, St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation (SSMRF), GESA and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.
Georgina heads up the Sydney+ IBD Research Consortium; a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians, scientists, data analysts and also public health analysts. In 2019 The Australian IBD Microbiome (AIM) Study was launched as the inaugural research focus of the consortium. AIM Study is the largest IBD longitudinal cohort study every run in Australia. Despite only having launched in 2019 and despite the impact of COVID, AIM already has over 500 recruits. AIM Study will allow us to more fully understand the IBD patient journey which will ultimately help us improve patient health.
As a world authority on the gut microbiome, Georgina is invited to speak all over the world and is a passionate advocate for public engagement and empowering individuals to get involved in their health. Today, she is not only Professor of Gut Health and Microbiology, UNSW but also the Chair of South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee.
Professor Eddie Holmes is known for his work on the evolution and emergence of infectious diseases, particularly the mechanisms by which RNA viruses jump species boundaries to emerge in humans and other animals. He currently holds an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship. He has studied the emergence and spread of such pathogens as avian influenza virus, dengue virus, HIV, hepatitis C virus, myxoma virus, RHDV and Yersinia pestis. His previous appointments include Verne M. Willaman Chair in the Life Sciences and Eberly College of Science Distinguished Senior Scholar (2007-2012) at the Pennsylvania State University, USA, and Affiliate Member of the Fogarty International Centre (2005-2012), National Institutes of Health, USA. From 1999-2004 he was Fellow of New College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of Science and the UK Royal Society.
His interest in the emergence and spread of novel viral infections began in the late 1980s/early 1990s, as this was a time of the highest rates of HIV-associated deaths and when hepatitis C virus was first identified. He has spent 30 years using molecular genetic techniques to understand the determinants of cross-species pathogen transmission and emergence. His work has helped define the barriers faced by viruses as they emerge in new hosts, determine the range of transmission patterns exhibited by emerging viruses, and establish genetic models for host switching. Currently, he is using metagenomic techniques to reveal the diversity of the virosphere and determine the possible microbial cause of disease syndromes (e.g. emerging tick-borne disease in Australia). The data generated will be used to reveal some of the fundamental rules of virus ecology and evolution, and understand the measurable impact of the novel infections on public and animal health. He is also using ‘ancient DNA’ to investigate the causes and patterns of spread of past pandemics such as plague and smallpox.
A/Prof Martelotto (B. Biotech, Ph.D.) has been recently appointed Head of the Single cell and Spatial-omics Development lab at the Adelaide Centre for Epigenetics (ACE), South Australia ImmunoGENomics Cancer Institute (SAIGENCI). Prior to joining ACE/SAIGENCI, he was the Scientific Director of the Single Cell Laboratory at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Department of Systems Biology, Harvard University (USA). He is also the Chief Technology Officer and Director of R&D of OmniScope, a health tech company specialized in high throughput immune profiling at single cell level.
Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Worthey is currently an Endowed Associate Professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and the Director of the UAB School of Medicine Center for Computational Genomics and Data Science. She is also an Associate Director for the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute, Director of Bioinformatics for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, Director of Bioinformatics for the UAB Pathology Molecular Diagnostics lab, and Director of the UAB GBS Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics PhD theme.
Dr. Worthey received her Ph.D. at the Imperial College London in London, England and completed her postdoctoral training at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
Her research interests include the development and application of omic, computational biology, bioinformatic, and data science-based methods to identify and understand the impact of causal molecular variation in patients with a variety of undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or non-definitively molecularly diagnosed diseases. These studies span rare diseases and common diseases including cancer. Her lab also focuses on the identification and study of modifier and pharmacogenomics associated variation that alters an individual’s response to therapeutics or modifies clinical presentation, progression, and/or outcome.