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November 30 President’s Lecture to feature molecular biologist and genetic epidemiologist

ISSUED: 22 November 2021

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The last President’s Lecture of the fall semester, “Anticipating the Plagues of our Times: Genomics Detectives on Prospects for the 21st Century,” featuring Dr. Stephen O’Brien, a world-leading molecular biologist and genetic epidemiologist, will take place Tuesday, November 30, at 6:30 p.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. The event is free, open to the public, and available via Zoom.

Aside from being a molecular biologist, O’Brien is population geneticist, genetic epidemiologist, and dedicated conservationist who uses molecular, genetic, and bioinformatics tools to help protect endangered species and to resolve genetic determinants of devastating complex diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer.

He graduated with a B.S. in biology from St. Francis College in Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in genetics from Cornell University. He joined the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health as a post-doctoral fellow in 1971 and served as founder and chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity from 1986-2012. In 2012, he founded the Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, Russia, and today serves as the center’s chief scientific officer. O’Brien’s dedication to and influence on science were honored in 2016 by his election to the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In 2013, O’Brien was appointed professor and research director at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he applies his experience to genome bioinformatics of marine vertebrate and invertebrate species. His research career, training emphasis, and leadership helped establish the disciplines of genetic epidemiology, genome wide association studies, comparative genomics, emerging infectious diseases, genome bioinformatics, and conservation genetics of endangered and threatened species.

To stream the lecture via Zoom, visit the President Lecture Series webpage.

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