APR 13, 2017 09:00 AM PDT

Keynote Presentation - DNA Standards and Bioinformatics Benchmarks for Metagenomics

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  • Associate Professor, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, WorldQuant (WQ) Scholar, Director, WQ Init. for Quantitative Prediction, Weill Cornell Medicine
      Dr. Christopher Mason completed his dual B.S. in Genetics and Biochemistry (2001) from University of Wisconsin-Madison, his Ph.D. in Genetics (2006) from Yale University, and then completed post-doctoral training in clinical genetics (2009) at Yale Medical School, and a joint post-doctoral Fellow of Genomics, Ethics, and Law at Yale Law School (2009). He is currently an Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, with appointments at the Tri-Institutional Program on Computational Biology and Medicine, the Meyer Cancer Center, and the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute.
      The Mason laboratory develops and deploys new biochemical and computational methods in functional genomics to elucidate the genetic basis of human disease and human physiology. We create and explore novel techniques in next-generation sequencing and algorithms for: tumor evolution, genome evolution, DNA and RNA modifications, and genome/epigenome engineering. We also work closely with NIST/FDA to build international standards for these methods, to ensure clinical-quality genome measurements/editing. We also work with NASA to build integrated molecular portraits of genomes, epigenomes, transcriptomes, and metagenomes for astronauts, which establish the molecular foundations and genetic defenses for enabling long-term human space travel.
      He has won the NIH's Transformative R01 Award, the NASA Group Achievement Award, the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance Young Investigator award, the Hirschl-Weill-Caulier Career Scientist Award, the Vallee Scholar Award, the CDC Honor Award for Standardization of Clinical Testing, and the WorldQuant Foundation Scholar Award. He has >130 peer-reviewed papers that have been featured on the covers of Nature, Science, Cell Host and Microbe, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Microbiology, and many others.He was named as one of the "Brilliant Ten" Scientists by Popular Science, featured as a TEDMED speaker, and called "The Genius of Genetics".


    Genomics and metagenomics have become ubiquitous research efforts.  Here we will show details of the development of physical, computational, and even space-based standards for metagenomics, as part of the International Metagenomics and Microbiome Standards Alliance (IMMSA).  Also, pilot data will be shown for enabling patients to become more involved in their ‘omics data, including an integrative genomics view of entire cities (based on our MetaSUB project) that leverages longitudinal metagenome and microbiome profiles of the world’s subway systems and cites, including the 2016 Rio Olympics. All of these methods and molecular tools work together to guide the most comprehensive, longitudinal, mutli-omic view of integrated genomics with the NASA Twins Study and new technologies to mine, engineer, and sequence DNA in for long-term human space travel.

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