PLENARY SPEAKER: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 9AM
  Joseph S. Takahashi, PhD
Molecular Basis of Circadian Clocks

Takahashi is the Loyd B. Sands Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience, an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Before moving to UT Southwestern, Takahashi was the Walter and Mary Elizabeth Glass Professor in the Life Sciences at Northwestern University. During his 26-year tenure at Northwestern, he held appointments as professor in the Department of Neurobiology on the Evanston campus and the director of the Center for Functional Genomics. Takahashi received a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College in 1974 and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Oregon, Eugene, in 1981. For postdoctoral training, he was a pharmacology research associate at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Takahashi has pioneered the use of forward genetics and positional cloning in the mouse as a tool for discovery of genes underlying neurobiology and behavior, and his discovery of the mouse and human clock genes led to a description of a conserved circadian clock mechanism in animals. He is the author of more than 260 scientific publications and the recipient of many awards including the Honma International Prize in Biological Rhythms Research in 1986, W. Alden Spencer Award in Neuroscience from Columbia University in 2001, Eduard Buchner Prize from German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2003 and Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award from the Sleep Research Society in 2012. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003, and a Member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2014. He is a co-founder of ReSet Therapeutics, Inc., a biotech company that works on the role of clocks in metabolism.

 PAINTER DEBATES 1 & 2: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 12:15PM

This House Believes That "Bystander Effects Are Not Relevant For Radiation Protection"
Dr. Colin B. Seymour - FOR stance
Dr Colin Seymour is a radiobiologist with a very unique background having trained as a “hands on” radiographer before doing a PhD in radiobiology at Trinity College in Dublin. He then trained as a lawyer and was called to the Bar in Dublin, Belfast and in Lincoln’s Inns in London. This expertise together with his degree in Psychology gives him extensive tools for understanding “the big picture” and appreciating what is really important to stakeholders in the radiation protection field. This has inspired the work done by the laboratory which has caused a rethink of how we should regulate low doses of radiation. Since moving to McMaster University in 2003, the Seymour/Mothersill laboratory has made major advances in understanding the mechanisms involved in low dose exposures and has found these to be very different to classical high dose exposure effects. Seymour participates in many international collaborations including groups in Norway and participates in European Union funded projects. In addition to the major research firsts in radiobiology, Dr Seymour advises the International Atomic Energy Agency on approaches to modelling low dose effects in the environment and is on the advisory board of the major Norwegian centre of excellence (CERAD) focussing on reducing uncertainties. Seymour has an impressive track record of HQP training and several of his former students now run their own laboratories. His publications record is equally impressive with a lifetime peer reviewed list of over 250 papers.

Dr. Carmel E. Mothersill - AGAINST stance
Dr. Carmel Mothersill is a radiobiologist with more than 40 years research experience in radiation research. Since 1990 she has specialised in looking at effects of low dose radiation exposures in humans and in non-human species such as fish and shellfish.  Since moving from Ireland to McMaster University, Canada in 2003, the laboratory has made major advances in understanding the mechanisms involved in low dose exposures and has found these to be very different to classical high dose exposure effects. Mothersill is part of many international collaborations including groups in Norway, Japan, India and France. Working with her debate opponent but real life partner, Dr Seymour, she was first to discover the phenomenon of delayed lethal mutations which are a delayed and non-targeted effect of radiation. The partners also demonstrated the radiation induced bystander effect in cells which merely received medium from irradiated cells. Later the laboratory demonstrated that no liquid contact was required to transmit information between cells and that a UV signal appears sufficient for cell to cell communication. In addition to these major research firsts, Dr Mothersill advises the International Atomic Energy Agency on approaches to modelling low dose effects in the environment and is on the advisory board of the major Norwegian centre of excellence (CERAD) focussing on reducing uncertainties.

This House Believes That "Cancer is Fundamentally a Metabolic Disease"
Douglas R. Spitz, PhD - FOR stance

Dr. Douglas Spitz is a participating faculty member and director of the Free Radical and Radiation Biology graduate program as well as the Free Radical Metabolism and Imaging Cancer Center Program at the University of Iowa. A central theme of these interdisciplinary programs are studies focused on the role of free radicals and redox stress in cancer biology from both the basic science as well as a pre-clinical and clinical translational perspectives. Ongoing projects include the study of mitochondrial defects and metabolic oxidative stress in cancer biology and therapy, molecular imaging of metabolism and prediction of responses to cancer therapy, the study of molecular mechanisms of resistance to oxidative stress as they relate to cancer cell resistance to therapy, redox regulation of signal transduction and gene expression relating to cell growth and differentiation, as well as using manipulations of redox biology to selectively sensitize human tumor cells to conventional anticancer agents that induce oxidative stress while sparing normal tissue injury. The long term goals of these programs is to use a basic science understanding of mechanisms associated with free radical biology to elucidate novel methods for manipulating clinically significant outcomes in areas of medicine relevant to cancer biology and degenerative diseases associated with aging.

James Cleaver - AGAINST stance
Cleaver focuses on human DNA repair deficient hereditary diseases, especially xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) and Cockayne Syndrome (CS). He is carrying out whole exome sequencing of non-melanoma skin cancers that occur with extremely high frequency in an inbred XP community in Central America. His laboratory is developing induced pluripotent stem cells from XP and CS fibroblasts to investigate mechanisms of neurodegeneration that may lead to therapeutic intervention.

PLENARY SPEAKER: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 9AM

Jac Nickoloff, PhD
Heavy Ion Radiotherapy and DSB Repair

Jac Nickoloff is Professor and Head of the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University, which houses programs in radiation biology, cancer biology, health physics, veterinary radiology and radiation oncology, and environmental health.  He served on NIH study sections including Radiation Therapy and Biology and was director/co-director of the Cancer Biology program of the NCI-designated University of New Mexico Cancer Center.  He serves as Associate Editor of Genetics and was appointed Distinguished Foreign Scientist by the Japan National Institute of Radiological Sciences (2011).  He served on a Department of Energy Low Dose Radiation Research Program panel, co-authored a National Council for Radiation Protection commentary on the biological and health effects of low dose radiation, and served on NIH study sections including Radiation Therapy and Biology and Molecular Genetics B.  He co-edited a 3-volume series on DNA Damage and Repair (1998-2001), and was lead organizer of 4 international symposia on Photon, Proton, and Carbon Ion Radiotherapy (2010-2014).

His research focuses on mechanisms of DNA repair, genome instability, cancer biology, radiobiology, and the genetic regulation of DNA damage responses to low- and high-LET ionizing radiation and chemotherapeutics, including damage signaling pathways, cell cycle checkpoints, replication stress responses, and cell death pathways.  He has coauthored over 110 peer-reviewed articles and 15 reviews on DNA damage and repair, cancer etiology, and cancer therapy.
PLENARY SPEAKER: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 9AM
Dr. Franklin R. Chang Diaz
Reaching New Frontiers in Space

Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz @franklinchangd is Chairman and CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company,, a US firm developing advanced plasma rocket technology and applications in sustainable energy with operations in Webster, Texas and Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Dr. Chang Díaz founded Ad Astra in 2005, after a 25-year career as a NASA astronaut. A veteran of 7 space missions, he has logged over 1,600 hours in space, including 19 hours in three space walks. In 1994, in conjunction with astronaut training at NASA, he founded and directed the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory (ASPL) at the Johnson Space Center where he managed a multi-center research team studying the physics of the VASIMR® engine, a high power plasma rocket of his invention. The technology is now under final development by Ad Astra for fast human and robotic in-space transportation. Dr. Chang Díaz holds a PhD degree in Applied Plasma Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Prior to his work at NASA, he was involved in magnetic and inertial confinement fusion research at MIT and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. He is an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Rice University and the University of Houston.


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