In recent years, the medical attention of Western nations has expanded from disease prevention to include concern for the human environment, and further, to priorities concerning the health and maintenance of the body as the population ages, particularity with respect to the negative impacts of poor diet. For instance, in the United States the leading causes of death can be seen as: heart disease, malignant neoplasm (cancer), respiratory disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), unintentional accidents, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. The first two conditions on the list are responsible for 47% of total deaths. In the U.S., Alzheimer’s disease alone is projected to cause the death of 1/8 individuals over the age of 65 that have the disease, totaling approximately 5.4 million deaths. Age is also a factor with diabetes, where 26% of those over 65 were diagnosed with the disease in 2011. Similarly, over 77% of those diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. are identified as individuals 55 years or older, where men have been given a lifetime risk factor of 1 in 2, and women, 1 in 3. With these prevailing health challenges on the horizon, how far away are we from developing effective cures? Secondly, due to scale and cost of treating such diseases, how can national governments best cope with these challenges? How can effective methods be created that are not only cost effective, but can be effectively exported to those affected in the developing world?
Dr. Yemi Adesokan
Mr. Yemi Adesokan is a scientist and entrepreneur with several years of experience in the development and optimization of multiplex capture and high throughput genome sequencing technologies.
As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, he pioneered the development and implementation of the BioweatherMap project, an initiative aimed towards the collection and use of real-time assays to track and limit viral outbreaks and antibiotic resistance in the developing world. He also has extensive experience as an industry consultant providing strategic advisory services to Fortune 500 life science companies.
Mr. Adesokan holds a BS in Biology from the University of Houston and a Ph.D in Theoretical Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine. In 2011, Yemi was included in the TR35, MIT Technology Review's annual list of 35 top innovators under the age of 35.
Dr. Barry Bloom
Barry Bloom is Harvard University’s Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Former Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. He received a bachelor’s degree and an honorary ScD from Amherst College, and a PhD from Rockefeller University.
Dr. Bloom is widely recognized for his work in the area of infectious diseases, vaccines, and global health. He served as a consultant to the White House on International Health Policy from 1977 to 1978, was elected President of the American Association of Immunologists, and served as President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Dr. Bloom was an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He has received numerous awards for his scientific work including the first Bristol-Myers Award in Infectious Diseases, Robert Koch Gold Medal, and the Novartis Award in Immunology.
He has been extensively involved with the World Health Organization (WHO) for more than 40 years. He was a member of the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research and chaired the WHO Committees on Leprosy Research and Tuberculosis Research, and chaired the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. He has served on the National Advisory Councils of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, and the Center for Infectious Diseases of the CDC and currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the Fogarty International Center at NIH. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
Dr. Todd Evans
Todd Evans is Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also the co-Director of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute and founded the Weill Cornell Program in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, which over the past several years has recruited top researchers in cancer biology, stem cell biology and chemical biology, forging collaborative working groups to build translational research programs, aiming ultimately to impact how we treat human disease.
Dr. Evans earned his doctoral degree in molecular biology at Columbia University in 1987, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Before coming to Weill Cornell in 2009, Dr. Evans held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he also directed the graduate school.
A recipient of the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, and a prestigious NIH MERIT award, his research focus is on organogenesis and regeneration. A primary strategy is to elucidate the molecular regulation of normal organ development during embryogenesis, considering that disease mechanisms often recapitulate or divert embryonic programs. The Evans laboratory studies hematopoietic and cardiovascular programs, in addition to gut-derived organs including the liver, pancreas, and lung. His research program is funded by the NIH and various foundations, and he has trained dozens of students and fellows.
Dr. Ihor Lemischka
Dr. Ihor R. Lemischka is currently both the Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Gene and Cell Medicine and Director of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
The focus of Dr. Lemischka’s research is to understand the molecular and cellular nature of the undifferentiated stem cell "states", and how such states are altered during a change in cell fate. The underlying rationale for his studies is that the complement of gene-products and their inter-relationships that exist in stem cells accounts for their remarkable abilities to balance self-renewal and differentiation decision processes. He studies both adult and embryonic stem (ES) cells, primarily from the mouse, but also from the human. His work with "Hematopoietic stem cell" hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) was the first to identify their novel "Receptor tyrosine kinases" receptor tyrosine kinases and showed that HSC can rebuild all blood cell types in a mouse whose blood cells had been destroyed.
Lemischka graduated from Johns Hopkins University and earned his Ph.D in biology from MIT. He did his post-doctoral training at MIT's Whitehead Institute. Lemischka is a board member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) and the New York Stem Cell Foundation. His awards include a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral, a Leukemia Social Special Fellowship, an American Cyanamid Preceptorship Award and the DuPont Young Faculty Grant. He is a journal reviewer for Cell, Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Immunology, Nature Biotechnology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Public Library of Science, Development, Genes & Development, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Blood.
Dr. Robert Orr
Dr. Robert C. Orr has served as Assistant Secretary-General in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General since 2004 and is the principal advisor and leader of Secretary-General initiatives on climate change, energy, global health and food security.
Dr. Orr joined the United Nations from Harvard University where he served as the Executive Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. Prior to this, he served as Director of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Director of Global and Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council in the White House.
Dr. Orr received his Ph.D. and M.P.A. in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He speaks Spanish
Dr. Orr is married and has two children.
Dr. Shelia Ryan
Dr. Ryan is Professor and the Charlotte Peck Lienemann and Distinguished Alumni Chair and Director of International Programs in nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center college of Nursing in Omaha, NE. Expertise focuses on helping faculty and students expand opportunities with internet-based education, quality improvement of health-care delivery models and international partnerships. International nursing partner projects are or have been with Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China,Al-Zaytoonah Private University in Amman, Jordan and with schools of nursing in Yerevan,Armenia and the Central Asian Republics (CAR.)
Dr. Ryan has served as President of NLN, and an executive officer for AACN. Additionally, she has served in leadership roles for several foundation programs: PEW Health Education Commission, RWJ/IOM Health Policy Fellowship Program, Commonwealth Fund for Nurse Executive Fellowships and Macy Foundation for Interprofessional Education.
Dr. Ryan is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and has served on many programs and committees for the past two decades. She has been a nursing dean for 22 years at two universities and has board service with IHI, IBHI and RJW/IOM committees. She is presently Chair of the Board of AIHA, American International Healthcare Alliance.
Dr. Larry Young
Dr. Larry Young is the founding Director of the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. He received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Georgia and his Ph.D. in neuroscience at University of Texas in Austin. Dr. Young has published over 100 research articles in journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Genetics and Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.
Dr. Young’s research seeks to understand how the brain functions to regulate social relationships. His research has revealed that brain chemicals such as oxytocin and vasopressin regulate the neural processing of social information and promote the formation of social bonds by acting in specific neural pathways. He has developed paradigms that are being used to screen drugs that enhance social function, and is developing novel strategies for drug discovery for treating social impairments in autism and schizophrenia. To accelerate drug development for these disorders, Dr. Young established the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience (CTSN), bringing together geneticists, neuroscientists, psychologists and psychiatrists in the Atlanta area to better understand and heal the social brain. The mission of the CTSN is to translate the knowledge gained by social neuroscience into novel treatments for social impairments in psychiatric disorders.
His new book, The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction (2012) explores the latest discoveries of how brain chemistry influences all aspects of our relationships with others.