Welcome to the 28th International Mammalian Genome Conference

Bar Harbor Club, Bar Harbor, ME 

October 26-29, 2014

IMGC 2014 LogoWe welcome you to the 28th Annual Conference of the International Mammalian Genome Society and to Bar Harbor, ME. We are planning an exciting meeting with emphasis on cutting-edge research in the fields of mammalian genetics and genomics, with experts in a wide range of biology specialties participating. 

The meeting will begin with the Bioinformatics Workshop that was hugely popular at the last conference and will be led by investigators developing tools for large-scale genomics analysis. The Bioinformatics Workshop will be followed by a Student Satellite Symposium that offers the opportunity for budding scientists to compete for awards and presentation slots in the main meeting. These events will be held at the Jackson Laboratory. The main conference will be held at the Bar Harbor Club and will once again include the popular mentoring lunch where those looking for career advice can interact with established scientists.

 The main conference will feature sessions on:

       • Large-scale resources
       • Advances in genome manipulation
       • Stem cells and Development
       • Human disease models
       • Comparative genomics, Population genetics & Evolution
       • Aging and Adult-onset disease modeling


Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park

The scenic village of Bar Harbor http://www.barharborinfo.com/ is located on Mount Desert Island, off the rocky coast of Maine. The island is about one hour by car from Bangor International Airport and about three hours from Portland. In addition, the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in nearby Trenton, 12 miles from Bar Harbor, serves the area with smaller aircraft.


Bar Harbor is a popular tourist destination that attracts cruise ships, tour buses, campers, shoppers and other visitors from throughout the world to its many fine parks, restaurants, galleries, boutiques and other downtown venues.  Autumn is a particularly lovely time to visit because of the spectacular foliage in the region.  In the fall, the town quiets down a little, although many restaurants, galleries, museums and other attractions remain open.


Other villages on Mount Desert Island offer a variety of casual dining options, formal gardens and scenic vistas.


Connected to the mainland by a bridge, Mount Desert Island is also the primary home of Acadia National Park http://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm, which offers more than 47,000 scenic acres of public land characterized by rugged mountains with ocean views, 120 miles of peaceful, forested hiking trails, 45 miles of packed-gravel carriage trails,  and the blue waters of Frenchman Bay in the Gulf of Maine.


Sightseeing in and Around Bar Harbor 

In addition to the charming village of Bar Harbor itself, Mount Desert Island offers an abundance of opportunities for exploration and discovery. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Cadillac Mountain summit, at 1,529 feet above sea level, the highest peak on the East Coast of North America. Hike or drive to the pink-granite crown of Cadillac Mountain to enjoy panoramic views in all directions. Watch the sun rise or set, admire the autumn foliage, stroll the rocky perimeter trail and learn about the geologic events that created this remarkable landscape.
  • Abbe Museum http://www.abbemuseum.org . The history and cultures of Maine's native people, the Wabanaki, are showcased through changing exhibitions, special events and craft workshops.
  • Sand Beach: Nestled in a small inlet between the granite mountains and rocky shores of Mount Desert Island, this gorgeous 290-yard-long beach is one of the most popular points of interest in Acadia National Park.
  • Explore by water: paddleboard, kayak, sail or go whale-watching http://www.barharborwhales.com  in the clear, cold waters of Frenchman Bay. The island also features many fresh-water ponds and lakes.
  • Explore by land: Hiking, bicycling and rock-climbing are popular activities in Acadia National Park and on Mount Desert Island, from easy-does-it guided activities to more challenging routes for experienced outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Explore by air: Local pilots offer scenic flights from the nearby Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport.  
  • From the Harborside Hotel you can walk out the front door and enjoy local shops and restaurants.
  • Hike to Bar Island and look back at the view of Mt. Desert Island.  At low tide, you can walk across the sandbar to Bar Island and look back at the beautiful Mount Desert Island.  Tide Chart: http://me.usharbors.com/monthly-tides/Maine-Downeast/Bar%20Harbor/2014-10
Try the scenic Bar Harbor walking shorepath. From your hotel you can enjoy the path and other sites around town.  Town map: http://www.barharborinfo.com/resource/d/16783/BHbyFOOT_09_web.pdf   


Keynote Lecture

We are pleased to announce that the Keynote lecture will be presented by Jeanne Lawrence, PhD, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS).  Jeanne Lawrence PhotoDr. Lawrence’s work reflects her interdisciplinary background that bridges developmental epigenetics and chromosome regulation with human clinical genetics. After receiving an M.S. in Human Genetic Counseling she became intrigued by fundamental issues of chromosome biology and epigenetics, and thus earned her PhD in developmental biology from Brown University in 1982.  She has been on the faculty of UMMS since 1985, where in addition to research she has directed medical curriculum in human genetics.

Dr. Lawrence’s early work focused on developing approaches for visualizing single genes and nuclear RNAs within individual cells, which has become a widely adopted approach to illuminate the structure of the nucleus.  Her drive to pursue this technology for single gene detection was based on early conviction that the coordinate regulation of the genome during development likely involved cell-type specific organization of the genome in a complex nuclear structure.  She was among the first to show that genes are organized with specific nuclear compartments, and has published extensively on compartmentalization of the mammalian cell nucleus, showing the cell-type specific organization of endogenous genes, RNAs, and proteins with specific nuclear sub-compartments.  Her lab’s then unusual expertise in studying RNAs in nuclear structure was key to the demonstration that the XIST gene encodes a functional non-coding RNA that physically “paints” the interphase inactive X-chromosome in female cells.  At the time this type of “non-coding” chromatin bound RNA was unprecedented.    By spreading across the chromosome territory, XIST RNA induces a host of heterochromatin modifications, but Dr. Lawrence’s driving interest is to understand how this unique RNA binds and restructures the chromosome, and how this relates to genome architecture.  In addition, the Lawrence lab has also uncovered several other novel RNAs, such as NEAT1 RNA which is an “architectural RNA” that forms a cytological-scale nuclear structure, or Cot-1 repeat RNAs that stably associated with active chromosomes. .

Recently, Dr. Lawrence’s lab demonstrated a whole new avenue of significance for fundamental chromosome biology, with the translation of the basic epigenetic mechanism of XIST into a new approach to advance translational and therapeutic research for Down syndrome, a highly common disorder and a lead cause of cognitive disability in children.  Her work demonstrated that targeted insertion of the largest transgene to date was possible in human stem cells, by inserting the XIST gene into one extra chromosome 21 in trisomy 21 iPS cells. This provides the first evidence that the underlying genetic defect responsible for Down syndrome can be suppressed in vitro, and paves the way for researchers to study the cell pathologies and identify genome-wide pathways implicated in the disorder, which has so far proved elusive.

Dr. Lawrence has received numerous awards for her work, including the German Biochemical Analysis Prize, which she shared with David Ward for the development of FISH techniques. The recipient of funding from the Charles H. Hood Foundation and the John Merck Fund for Translational Research, Dr. Lawrence has served on the NIH Advisory Council for Human Genome Research and numerous other NIH committees, is a Monitoring Editor for the Journal of Cell Biology, and has been highlighted nationally in numerous media, and in various presentations such as the Profile in Innovation Presidential Series of Northeastern University.

Chapman Lecture

 We are pleased that Bruce Beutler will present the Chapman Lecture.   

Bruce Beutler Photo

Bruce Beutler received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at San Diego in 1976, and his MD degree from the University of Chicago in 1981.  After two years of residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, he became a postdoctoral fellow and then an Assistant Professor at the Rockefeller University (1983-1986).

During his stay at Rockefeller, Beutler isolated mouse tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and was the first to recognize TNF as a key executor of the host response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS).  Returning to Dallas in 1986 as an HHMI investigator, he designed recombinant inhibitors of TNF that are still widely used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.  But his principal interest settled on the question of what activated TNF production in the first place.  Just what were the receptors that told the host when an infection was present, activating the innate immune system?  To that point, none had been identified, and the question of how the host “sees” infection remained entirely open.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Beutler used positional cloning—taking TNF production by LPS activated mouse macrophages as a biological endpoint—to identify the LPS receptor.  Spontaneous mutations in two strains of mice had long been known to prevent all responses to LPS, leaving the animals selectively vulnerable to Gram-negative bacterial infections.  Beutler concluded that Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) acts as the signaling core of the LPS receptor and proposed that other TLRs might also recognize conserved molecular signatures of infection.  For this work, which triggered a substantial realignment of thought in immunology, Beutler shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman.

Moving to the Scripps Research Institute in 2000, Beutler developed a robust mouse mutagenesis program and applied a forward genetic approach to decipher the signaling pathways activated by TLRs.  He also identified many other molecules with non-redundant function in the immune response and gradually developed methods for extremely rapid identification of causative mutations, to the point that forward genetics in the mouse is now limited only by the rate at which phenotypes can be produced and detected in screens.

Beutler is currently a Regental Professor and Director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He also holds the Raymond and Ellen Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research in honor of Laverne and Raymond Willie, Sr.  Before he received the Nobel Prize, his work was recognized by the Shaw Prize (2011), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2009), election to the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine (2008), the Frederik B. Bang Award (2008), the Balzan Prize (2007), the Gran Prix Charles-Leopold-Mayer (2006), the William B. Coley Award (2005), the Robert-Koch-Prize (2004), and other honors.


Local Organizers

Ron Korstanje
Karen Svenson

Scientific Committee/ Secretariat of the IMGS

David Beier - President
David Threadgill – Past President
Teresa Gunn- Vice-President

Klaus Schughart
Linda Siracusa
Sarah Carpanini (VM Chapman Award Winner)

Elena de la Casa Esperon
Jiri Forejt
Darren Logan
John Didion (VM Chapman Award Winner)

Viive Howell

IMGC Business Manager and Conference Organizer

Darla Miller
Department of Genetics, GMB 5047
UNC at Chapel Hill
120 Mason Farm Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7264
919 843-6471