Stephen O'BRIEN
Chief Scientific Officer of Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, USA

Dr. Stephen J. OBrien is a world leading molecular biologist and dedicated conservationist whom uses the tools of molecular biology to help protect endangered species and understand devastating diseases such as cancer and AIDS. He received his PhD in Genetics from Cornell University, USA in 1971. He then joined the prestigious National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health as a post-doc in 1971 and there, served as Founder and Chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity from 1986-2012. In 2012, he founded the Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University and today serves as the Chief Scientific Officer; his dedication was honored in 2016 by his nominationaand election to the Russian Academy of Sciences. 2013 he was appointed Professor and Research Director at Nova Southeastern University in Ft Lauderdale, FL. Convinced of the utility of exploring diverse species to advance our understanding of the human genome, Dr. O’Brien and his team have assembled over 62,000 animal and 424,000 human tissue/DNA specimens, facilitating wide-ranging studies of disease gene associations, species adaptation and natural history. 

 

His research interests and expertise span human and comparative genomics, genetic epidemiology, AIDS, cancers,  retro-virology, bioinformatics, biodiversity and species conservation. Dr. O’Brien is known for documenting the remarkable genetic uniformity of African cheetahs, resolving the mammalian tree of life, describing heretofore unrecognized species of orangutans, African forest elephants and Bornean clouded leopards. He is credited with the discovery and characterization of CCR5-∆32, the first of ~50 human AIDS restriction genes, which imparts natural immunity to HIV, leading to novel AIDS therapies.  He is the one of the founders of the Genome 10K initiative, has published over 850 leading research papers, written multiple books and is adjunct professor in over 12 international leading universities. He is considered a ‘National Treasure’ by many leading scientists in the US.