Scientific Advisory Board

 

Michael Levine, Ph.D.
Chairman of the Stowers Institute Scientific Advisory Board
Professor of Genetics, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
Co-Director, Center for Integrative Genomics
University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Levine was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 in recognition of his elegant, insightful, and complete analysis of regulatory events that govern segmentation and dorsal-ventral polarity in fruit fly embryos. His work provided a dramatic example of combinatorial regulation at a complex enhancer and established new paradigms for transcriptional control.   

Dr. Levine studies regulatory DNA and cell fate specification. His laboratory uses new technologies to manipulate embryos in myriad ways to understand how crude gradients of regulatory factors produce sharp on/off patterns of gene expression. These technologies have made possible a geometric growth in the gene-based approach to developmental biology.

Dr. Levine, who was appointed to the Stowers Institute Scientific Advisory Board in 1998, received a Ph.D. from Yale University and trained at the University of Basel.
He was awarded the Monsanto Prize in Molecular Biology from National Academy of Sciences in 1996.

 

Ruth Lehmann, Ph.D.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Director, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine
Professor, Department of Cell Biology
New York University School of Medicine

Dr. Lehmann was elected as a Foreign Associate to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005 for her pioneering contributions in the field of developmental biology. She is widely known for her work on germ cells, which give rise to egg and sperm during the early development of the embryo. By studying aberrant development of mutant germ cell lines in the fruit fly, her research has laid the foundation for understanding the potential causes of testicular germ-line cancers and sterility.

Using genetics and live-imaging, Dr. Lehmann identified several mechanisms that regulate germ cell specification, migration and survival in the embryo, and germ line stem cell maintenance in the adult.  In recent studies, her lab demonstrated the role of lipid signaling in germ cell migration and identified the genetic basis of transcriptional silencing in primordial germ cells and the mechanisms that control homeostasis of germ cell proliferation. 

Dr. Lehmann, who joined the Stowers Scientific Advisory Board in 2011, received her Ph.D. from the University of Tübingen, Germany. After postdoctoral training in Tübingen and at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK, she joined the Whitehead Institute and the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before she moved to NYU School of Medicine's Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine in 1996. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, the director of the Skirball Institute and the Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology and the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology.

 

Eric Olson, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Biology
Associate Director, D.W. Reynolds Center of Cardiovascular Medicine
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Director, Hamon Center for Basic Research in Cancer

Dr. Olson was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 for his integrated use of biochemical, genetic, and molecular biological methods to resolve how tissues are determined and differentiated in multicellular organisms. His research unveiled a compelling description of how myogenic and cardiogenic transcription factors control organogenesis of skeletal muscle and heart tissues in fruit flies and laboratory mice.  

Dr. Olson's laboratory focuses on the gene regulatory proteins and signaling molecules that control cardiac muscle development and also play an important role in remodeling the adult heart during pathologic cardiac enlargement and heart failure. By deciphering the mechanisms that regulate cardiac development and gene expression in model organisms, he seeks insights into the molecular pathologies underlying congenital and acquired heart disease in humans.

Dr. Olson, who joined the Stowers Institute Scientific Advisory Board in 2000, received a BA degree in biology and chemistry from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Wake Forest University Medical School.

 

Janet Rossant, Ph.D.
Chief of Research, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics
Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Toronto     

Dr. Rossant was elected as a Foreign Associate to the National Academy of Science in 2008. Her research interests center on understanding the genetic control of normal and abnormal development in the early mouse embryo using both cellular and genetic manipulation techniques. Her interests in the early embryo have led to the discovery of a novel placental stem cell type, the trophoblast stem cell.

Dr. Rossant is Deputy Director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network. She also directs the Centre for Modeling Human Disease in Toronto, which is undertaking genome-wide mutagenesis in mice to develop new mouse models of human disease. Her interest in public issues related to developmental biology led to her serving as Chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research working group on stem cell research and as a member of the National Academies Stem Cell Guidelines Panel.

Dr. Rossant, who joined the Stowers Institute Scientific Advisory Board in 2005, trained at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, United Kingdom and has been in Canada since 1977, first at Brock University and then in Toronto. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Societies of London and Canada and a Distinguished Investigator of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

 

Joshua Sanes, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Brain Neuroscience
Harvard University
Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Harvard University

A renowned neurobiologist, Dr. Sanes focuses on the formation of synapses, the specialized connections between nerve cells, from developmental and molecular perspectives. Using mouse genetics and the latest live imaging technologies, Dr. Sanes identified many of the molecules and signals that stimulate synapse development and dictate how long they will last. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.

Dr. Sanes serves on the editorial boards of the journals Cell, Journal of Cell Biology, and Neuron. From 1999 to 2003, he served on the National Advisory Council for National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health. He is currently the chair of the Scientific Advisory Boards for the Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich and the Searle Scholars Program. Additionally, Dr. Sanes serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

After completing doctoral and master’s degrees at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Psychology at Yale University, Dr. Sanes trained with Dr. Zach Hall in the Department of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to joining Harvard University, Dr. Sanes was the Alumni Endowed Professor of Neurobiology in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Sanes has been a member of the Stowers Scientific Advisory Board since 2006.

 

Charles Sherr, MD, Ph.D.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology
Co-Director, Molecular Oncology Program
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Dr. Sherr is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He was recognized for his studies on tumor suppressor-dependent signaling networks that prevent progression through the mammalian cell cycle division cycle in response to activated oncogenes and which are inactivated in virtually all forms of cancer.

His work on oncogenes led him to identify novel enzymes—so called cyclin-dependent kinases or CDKs, for short—that drive cell division. In turn, further investigation of these enzymes led to the discovery of CDK inhibitors that antagonize cell proliferation and can suppress tumor development.

Dr. Sherr, who joined the Stowers Institute Scientific Advisory Board in 2000, received an A.B. degree from Oberlin College and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He was a member of the National Cancer Institute before joining St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.