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Chen Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in Human Genetic and Genomic Research (2014)

Edison Liu, USA
The Jackson Laboratory

Dr. Edison Liu is the newly appointed president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory. Dr. Liu joins the Laboratory from the Genome Institute of Singapore. As founding executive director, Dr. Liu built the GIS from a staff of three into a major research institute of 27 laboratory groups and a staff of 270, with faculty in functional genomics, computational biology, population genetics and genome-to systems biology. Before moving to Singapore in 2001, he was the scientific director of the National Cancer Institute's Division of Clinical Sciences in Bethesda, Md.

Born in Hong Kong in 1952, Edison Liu obtained his B.S. in chemistry and psychology, as well as his M.D., at Stanford University. He served his internship and residency at Washington University's Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, followed by an oncology fellowship at Stanford. From 1982 to 1987 he was at the University of California, San Francisco, first in a haematology fellowship at Moffitt Hospital and then as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel laureate J. Michael Bishop, while also serving as an instructor in the School of Medicine. From 1987 to 1996 he was at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he rose to director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Centre's Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Breast Cancer, the director of the Laboratory of Molecular Epidemiology at UNC's School of Public Health, chief of medical genetics, and chair of the Correlative Science Committee of the national cooperative clinical trials group, CALGB. Dr. Liu also held faculty positions in the UNC departments of medicine, epidemiology, biochemistry and biophysics, and in the curriculum in genetics. Dr. Edison Liu was born in Hong Kong, China, and immigrated to the United States in 1957. He received his bachelor's degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in chemistry and psychology from Stanford University where he remained to complete his M.D. in 1978. This was followed by internship and residency in internal medicine at Washington University, St. Louis, and clinical cancer fellowships at Stanford University (Oncology), and at the University of California at San Francisco (Haematology). He then pursued post-doctoral studies as a Damon-Runyan Cancer Research Fellow at the University of California at San Francisco in the laboratory of Dr. J. Michael Bishop identifying transforming genes in human leukemic states. In 1987, he joined the faculty of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, he developed programs in leukaemia and breast cancer research centring on molecular epidemiology and cell signalling. In 2001, Dr. Liu assumed the position of Executive Director, Genome Institute of Singapore which is a flagship programme of the Biomedical Sciences Initiative of Singapore. At the GIS, he is building an international research institute of 300 individuals focused on integrating genomic sciences with cell and medical biology. His scientific investigations have spanned molecular epidemiology to molecular biochemistry of human oncogenes and his current scientific research investigates the dynamics of whole genome gene transcription that explains biological states in cancer.


Chen Award of Excellence (2014)

Piero Carninci, Japan
RIKEN Yokohama Institute

Born and Educated in Italy Dr. Carninci obtained his doctoral degree at the University of Trieste in 1989. From 1990 to 1995 he developed technologies for DNA extraction and DNA sequencing at Talent, a spin-off biotech. 

He moved to Japan in 1995 at RIKEN, Tsukuba Life Science center and became tenure researcher in 1997. He has been developing technologies to capture full-length cDNAs, which were used for the construction of the Fantom projects.  Between 2008 and 2013, he was a Team and Unit Leader and a Deputy Project Director at the RIKEN Omics Science Center in Yokohama. He has developed technologies to analyze the the transcribed part of the genome (transcriptome), such as the cap-trapper and the CAGE. These technologies have been broadly used in the RIKEN Fantom projects and allowed identifying non-coding RNAs as are the major output of the mammalian genome and providing comprehensive maps of the mammalian promoters. Additionally he developed a miniaturization of CAGE, in order to approach biological problems that for which there is limited amount of starting material. 

From April in 2013, he is a Director of the Division Genomics Technologies and a Deputy Director of Center for Life Science Technologies, RIKEN. 

He has published more than 200 papers and book chapters, edited books and is a member of editorial boards of various scientific journals.

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