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2023 - Genetics Career Workshop

Thursday, January 19th
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM; BPS 1425

Lunch is provided for all attendees following the panel



Dr. Karen Cichy- Research Plant Geneticist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service

Karen Cichy is a Research Plant Geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service.  She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences Department at Michigan State University.  Dr. Cichy holds a BS degree in Horticulture from Penn State University and MS and PhD degrees in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Michigan State University.  She works on dry bean breeding and genetics.   Dry beans are a nutrient dense food and Dr. Cichy’s primary goal is to increase consumption of beans and other pulses by addressing consumer acceptance via improvements to nutritional and culinary quality traits. Her work is relevant to regions where beans are a dietary staple, such as Eastern and Southern Africa, and to regions where beans are not quite a staple, but increased consumption would benefit consumers’ health, such as the U.S.  Some of Dr. Cichy’s research activities include:  Breeding fast cooking dry beans and understanding the genotypic variability, genetic control and underlying mechanisms of cooking time.  Developing germplasm with superior end use quality for use as whole cooked and canned beans and as a flour ingredient in products such as pasta.  Understanding seed mineral accumulation and bioavailability, including diversity studies, mapping, identification of genomic regions and genes, and breeding. Applying VIS/NIRS and hyperspectral imaging as a rapid non-destructive phenotyping tool for seed traits.

Dr. Rebecca Knickmeyer - Associate Professor, Pediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State

Rebecca Knickmeyer has 20+ years' experience working at the cutting-edge of cognitive developmental neuroscience. She received her PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge (U.K.) in 2005 and completed her postdoctoral training in the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at Michigan State University and Interim Chief of Neuroengineering in MSU's Institute for Quantitative Health Sciences and Engineering. The goal of Dr. Knickmeyer's lab is to identify genes and molecular pathways associated with altered brain development in infancy and early childhood through the integration of pediatric neuroimaging with cutting-edge techniques in genomics, metagenomics, and analytical chemistry. She has a particular interest in mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation of the brain and the microbiome-gut-brain axis. She is the author of over 80 scientific publications including manuscripts in high impact journals such as Science, PLOS Biology, and Biological Psychiatry. She is founder and director of ORIGIN (the Organization for Imaging Genomics in Infancy), a working group of the ENIGMA Consortium (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis), serves on the editorial board of Molecular Autism, and belongs to numerous professional organizations including the Society for Neuroscience and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology..

Dr. Nicholas Panchy - Specialist, Institute for Cyber Enabled Research, Michigan State University

Nicholas currently works at the Institute for Cyber Enabled Research at MSU where he aids researchers across the multiple departments in taking advantage of high-performance computing resources available on campus. Prior to this, he earned his Ph.D. in genetics from Michigan State University in the lab of Dr. Shin-Han Shiu, where his research focused on the application of bioinformatics and computational biology methods to understand gene expression in plant systems. After this, he did his postdoctoral research in the Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology in the lab of Dr. Tian Hong at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, focusing  on modeling and visualization approaches for understanding the progression of cellular differentiation processes, primarily epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Nicholas’ research interests include bioinformatics and computational biology as well as training researchers of all levels in computational approaches to research.

Dr. Jake Reske - Senior Scientist in Bioinformatics and Precision Animal Health R&D, Zoetis Inc.

Dr. Jake Reske is a Senior Scientist in Bioinformatics and Precision Animal Health R&D at Zoetis Inc., the largest global animal health company. Dr. Reske received his Ph.D. here in the Genetics and Genome Sciences program at MSU in 2021 focusing on cancer epigenomics, and prior to that he trained in numerous other MSU biomedical research labs. He now focuses on systems biology approaches to understand and develop novel therapeutic strategies for diseases in companion animals and livestock at Zoetis, by applying multi-'omics profiling both in the field and in model studies. Dr. Reske is also a proponent for computational and statistical literacy as well as exploring non-academic career paths during scientific training.