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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies Discovery Day Speaker

2019 Keynote Speaker: Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
AT&T Distinguished Endowed Chair for Cancer Equity, Hollings Cancer Center
Associate Dean for Assessment, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement, College of Medicine
SmartState Center for Cancer Disparities
Medical University of South Carolina

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD, is a nationally recognized expert in cancer prevention and control among diverse populations, and her research is supported by numerous grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

The goal of Dr. Hughes-Halbert’s research program is to identify sociocultural, psychological, genetic and environmental determinants of cancer health disparities, and to translate this information into sustainable interventions in clinic and community-based settings to improve cancer outcomes in racially and ethnically diverse populations.

Previously, she was a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors at the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute Advisory Council. Dr. Hughes-Halbert is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

2018 Keynote Speaker: Michael Lauer, MD

Michael Lauer, MD

Keynote address:
"Thoughts and Perspectives About Extramural Research: People, Money, and Science"

Michael Lauer, MD, is deputy director for extramural research at the National Institutes of Health, where he serves as the principal scientific leader and advisor to the director of the NIH on all matters relating to the substance, quality and effectiveness of the NIH extramural research program and administration.

He received education and training at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Albany Medical College, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the NHLBI's Framingham Heart Study. He spent 14 years at Cleveland Clinic as professor of medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics. During his tenure at the clinic, he led a federally funded, internationally renowned clinical epidemiology program that applied big data from large-scale electronic health platforms to questions regarding the diagnosis and management of cardiovascular disease.

From 2007 to 2015 he served as a division director at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where he promoted efforts to leverage big data infrastructure to enable high-efficiency population and clinical research, as well as efforts to adopt a research funding culture that reflected data-driven policy. He has received numerous awards including the NIH Equal Employment Opportunity Award of the Year and the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Exceptional Federal Service in recognition of his efforts to grow a culture of learning and accountability.

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2017 Keynote Speaker: Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD

Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD

Teresa K. Woodruff PhD, is the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the vice chair for research (OB/GYN), and the chief of the Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She is professor of molecular biosciences at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of biomedical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. She is also the director of the Center for Reproductive Science, founder and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, and director of the Oncofertility Consortium. She is an internationally recognized expert in ovarian biology and, in 2006, coined the term "oncofertility" to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. She now heads the Oncofertility Consortium, an interdisciplinary team of biomedical and social scientist experts from across the country.

Woodruff has been active in education not only at the professional level but also with high school students. To this end, she founded and directs the Oncofertility Saturday Academy (OSA), one of several high school outreach programs that engages girls in basic and medical sciences. President Obama awarded her the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring in an Oval Office ceremony in 2011. Widely recognized for her work, Woodruff holds 10 U.S. patents, and in 2013 she was named to Time magazine’s Most Influential Persons list.

Some of her recent awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), the Society for Endocrinology Transatlantic Medal (2017) and a Leadership Award from the Endocrine Society (2017). She has two honorary degrees, including one from the University of Birmingham College of Medical & Dental Sciences, U.K. (2016). She is civically active and is an elected member of The Economic Club of Chicago and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Woodruff served on the school board of the Chicago-based Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, served as president of the Endocrine Society and championed the new NIH policy that mandates the use of women in fundamental research.

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2016 Keynote Speaker: Charles Liu, PhD, MD

Charles Liu, PhD, MD

Charles Liu, PhD, MD, is a multifaceted medical doctor and researcher whose main interest is neurorestoration. Dr. Liu directs the Neurorestoration Center at the University of South California (USC). The center aims to turn new technologies into effective therapies to restore neurological function using an interdisciplinary approach involving neurosurgery, neurology and biomedical engineering in collaboration with a large number of academic and industrial partners. Dr. Liu also holds the surgical director position of the USC Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. With a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a PhD in chemical/biomedical engineering from Rice University and an MD degree from Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Liu is uniquely equipped to help neurorestoration research and progress into the future. His work has been featured in the popular media, see for example this CBS report, as well as a number publications in high-impact scientific journals.

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