Gibbons-150x205Gary Gibbons, M.D., Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health

Monday, May 5, 2014, 1 to 2 p.m., OHSU Auditorium

Title: "Charting our Future Together: Setting an Agenda for the NHLBI"

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Dr. Gibbons oversees the third largest institute at the NIH, with an annual budget of more than $3 billion and a staff of 917 federal employees. Prior to being named director of the NHLBI, Dr. Gibbons served as a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) from 2009-2012. Before joining the NHLBI, Dr. Gibbons served as the founding director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the Department of Physiology, and professor of physiology and medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta. Under his leadership of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, Dr. Gibbons directed NIH-funded research in the fields of vascular biology, genomic medicine, and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases. During his tenure, the Cardiovascular Research Institute emerged as a center of excellence, leading the way in discoveries related to the cardiovascular health of minority populations. Dr. Gibbons earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School in Boston. He completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Throughout his career, Dr. Gibbons has received numerous honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences; selection as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Faculty Development Awardee; selection as a Pew Foundation Biomedical Scholar; and recognition as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association (AHA).

Dr. Gibbons talk is sponsored by the OHSU Office of the Senior Vice President for Research.


Lichtman-150x200Jeff Lichtman, M.D., Ph.D., Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Ramon Y. Cajal Professor of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University

Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 4 to 5 p.m., OHSU Auditorium

Title: "Connectomics: What, Why and How?"

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Connectional maps of the brain may have value in developing models of both how the brain works and how it fails when subsets of neurons or synapses are missing or misconnected. Dr. Lichtman is eager to obtain such maps in neonatal animals because of a longstanding interest in the ways neuromuscular circuitry is modified during early postnatal life as axonal input to muscle fibers is pruned. Work in Dr. Lichtman's laboratory has focused on obtaining complete wiring diagrams (“connectomes”) of the projections of motor neuron axons in young and adult muscles. Each data set is large and typically made up of hundreds of confocal microscopy stacks of images which tile the 3dimensional volume of a muscle. As a first step to analyze these data sets we developed computer assisted segmentation approaches and to make this task easier, have developed second generation “Brainbow” transgenic mice that in essence segment each axon by a unique fluorescent spectral hue. Once the axons are segmented, we have been able to graph the connectivity matrices that result. This effort has led to new insights into the developmental processes which help the mammalian nervous system mold itself based on experience. 

Dr. Lichtman did his undergraduate degree at Bowdoin College in Maine and an M.D. and Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. Missouri. His Ph.D. work with Dale Purves concerned the ways in which connections between nerve cells are reorganized as animals begin to experience the world in early postnatal development. This subject has remained the interest of his laboratory (which he moved from St. Louis to Cambridge in 2004). In order to approach questions related to the fine structure of neural connections he has developed methods for in vivo imaging of synapses, labeling of nerve cells with different colors, and high resolution  mapping of neural connections, a field he calls "connectomics".  

Dr. Lichtman's talk is sponsored by the OHSU Graduate Student Organization.

Austin-150Jim Austin, Ph.D., editor of Science Careers, a publication of Science magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 12 to 1 p.m., OHSU Auditorium

Title: "I'm not here on business baby, I'm only here for fun"

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Jim Austin is currently the Editor of Science Careers, a publication of Science magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, which he received in 1992. That was followed by several years of post-doctoral work, culminating in a stint with the title Research Professor. In 1987, he earned a master's degree in the same field.

Dr. Austin's scientific specialty was point defects -- molecular-scale imperfections with real-world consequences -- in materials of technological interest, including materials used in photographic films and electronic devices. He used nuclear-physics methods to study these tiny imperfections. During his scientific career, Dr. Austin authored or co-authored approximately 20 peer-reviewed scientific articles, all in top-tier journals. He also co-edited a book, Accelerator-Based Atomic Physics Techniques and Applications, with Stephen Shafroth.

In the late 1990s, Dr. Austin made a major and abrupt career change, leaving science to pursue a career in writing and editing. He founded The Post-Careerist, an online magazine that endeavored to refocus notions of work and leisure, drawing on the ideas of the Epicurians, Henry David Thoreau, and the Nearings, among others. At the beginning of the new millennium, Dr. Austin also became Science Editor at the pioneering online publication -- another defunct publication, this one founded by journalist Ethan Casey. At BlueEar, Dr. Austin started one of the very first science blogs, in 2000 or 2001. The stint as BlueEar's science editor was his first step into science journalism. Just a few months later, Dr. Austin joined AAAS as an editor for Science's Next Wave, the online careers publication of Science and AAAS. Several years later, Science's Next Wave was renamed -- it's now Science Careers -- and not long after that Dr. Austin became Science Careers' editor. Since then, he has published dozens of articles on scientific topics, in print and online, most but not all on career issues. He has run Science Careers, and been responsible for its content, since 2005.

This talk is sponsored by the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI).

Yajnik-150x193Chittaranjan Yajnik, M.D.,FRCP, director of the diabetes unit, King Edwards Memorial Hospital & Research Centre in Pune, India

Thursday, May 8, 2014, 12 to 1 p.m., OHSU Auditorium

Title: “Developmental origins of health and disease research in Pune, India”

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Dr. Yajnik will lead us in a conversation about the rapidly rising epidemic of diabetes and non-communicable diseases in India, examining conventional explanations and the application of the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) theory, using examples stemming from multi-year intervention studies.

Dr. Yajnik founded KEM Hospital’s diabetes unit in 1985. He has worked for the last three decades to investigate the high susceptibility of Indians to diabetes, popularizing the concept of thin-fat Indians and leading research studies related to the developmental origins of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These include the Pune Children’s Study, a fetal origins study examining intrauterine life and its role in determining future health; the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study, investigating the effect of maternal factors before conception on the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in offspring; and the Pune Intervention Study, a randomized controlled trial of vitamin B12 and micronutrients in adolescents to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases in offspring.

Dr. Yajnik is a clinician scientist known worldwide for his groundbreaking research. He is featured in a BBC program, The Nine Months That Made You, which has been shown across the globe. Dr. Yajnik is the recipient of the Hellmut Mehnert Award of the International Diabetes Federation (2009) and the David Barker Medal of the DOHaD society (2011), honoring his contributions to the scientific development and broader leadership of the DOHaD field.

This keynote presentation is sponsored by the School of Medicine Research Roadmap and the Knight Cardiovascular Institute Center for Developmental Health's David J.P. Barker Memorial Lecture Series.