Two Public Lectures
Thursday, 25 August 2016
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Auditorium,
Strand Street, SWAKOPMUND
What can dogs and other animals teach us about cancer?
By Prof. Matthew Breen &
African elephants can detect chemicals using olfaction: Implications of biomimicry for biosensor applications
By Dr. Stephen Lee
Co-hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Scientific Society Swakopmund, facilitated by the Namibian Uranium Association and the Namibia Scientific Society
About the speakers:
Prof. Matthew Breen
Matthew Breen completed his PhD in cytogenetics in 1990, and then worked as a postdoctoral research scientist at the UK Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, developing new techniques as part of the emerging human genome project. Dr. Breen spent four years at the University of Queensland, Australia, where his laboratory developed the first DNA based identification tools for multiple equine species, used to assess parentage and genetic diversity in captive and managed populations. After returning to the UK in 1996 his team developed molecular cytogenetics reagents, resources and techniques for equine and canine genome mapping and comparative cancer studies. In 2002 Dr. Breen relocated his laboratory to NC State University’s College of veterinary medicine. While at NC Sate University Dr. Breen and his team have developed a series of cytogenetic tools and applied these to ongoing genome mapping efforts for several animal species. In addition the group have used these tool to explore cytogenetic changes in numerous animal cancers. These studies have resulted in the development of molecular assays to enhance diagnosis, early detection and prognosis of canine cancers. Taking a comparative approach, these studies are advancing what we know about human cancers and helping to accelerate cancer gene discovery. Dr. Breen’s research interests continue to include genome mapping, comparative and cancer genomics, and veterinary/wildlife forensics. These activities have resulted in over 160 peer reviewed scientific publications and several awards.
Dr. Breen is a Professor of Genomics in the Dept. of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Oscar J. Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Comparative Oncology Genetics. He is also Associate Director of the NC State Forensic Sciences Institute, where he coordinates the activities of the NC State Animal Forensics Program, developing next generation DNA identification and analytical tools that should offer new opportunities for African species management and counter poaching.
Dr. Breen is a member of the NCSU Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI), the Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE), the steering committee of the Consortium for Caine Comparative Oncology (C3O) in partnership with the Duke Cancer Institute, and the Cancer Genetics Program at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is also a visiting scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Dr. Breen was a charter member, and serves on the Board of Directors, of the Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium (CCOGC), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization established to promote the role of the dog in comparative biomedical research, and the Canines-N-Kids Foundation, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization promoting the role of the dog in accelerating discoveries in pediatric cancers. He is also a charter member of the Sea Lion Cancer Consortium (SLiCC). Dr. Breen serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and is a scientific advisor for several large corporations, philanthropic organizations, and federal and private research funding agencies.
Dr. Stephen Lee
Dr. Stephen Lee has spent the last several years conducting research on elephants and technology for counter poaching and wildlife conservation. His research and programs focus on partnering multiple organizations with common technical goals to create a community of interest and leverage resources for conservation and wildlife security in Sub-Saharan Africa. His basic research efforts are working together to help stop poaching before the animal is killed and prevent human-animal conflict. The research includes population genetics, smart fences, smart collars, military technology, unmanned air vehicles, and bush meat detectors among others. Dr. Lee is also serving as the U.S. Army Research Office Chief Scientist, which includes planning and developing the future vision of basic research for the Army Research Office while maintaining an active research program.
Dr. Lee received a Bachelor of Science from Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, in Chemistry and Biology and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Emory University in Physical Organic Chemistry. Dr. Lee was also a Chateaubriand Fellow at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, studying origin of life chemistry. He is adjunct chemistry faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working with Professor Michel Gagne in the department of chemistry. Previously, Dr. Lee was an adjunct faculty member at Duke University. His work at the Army Research Office includes basic research directed towards environmental hazardous materials management, including studies in decontamination, detection, and protection.
He has been awarded the Army’s Greatest Invention twice for his work in the development of explosive detectors and chemical sensors. In 2008, Dr. Lee was awarded the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award from the U.S. Jaycees and in 2011 a Presidential Rank Meritorious Award.