Tom Maniatis is the Isidore S. Edelman Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular biophysics at the Columbia University Medical Center. In 2014, he was appointed Director of the Columbia’s Precision Medicine Initiative - a University-wide initiative founded by University President Lee Bollinger. In addition, he was recently named Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Genome Center.
Dr. Maniatis is known for pioneering the development of gene cloning technology and its application to both basic research and biotechnology. He also coauthored the definitive laboratory manual on Molecular Cloning. His research has led to fundamental advances in understanding the mechanisms of gene regulation and RNA splicing, the biochemistry of innate immunity signaling pathways, the function of single cell diversity in the nervous system, and neurodegenerative disease mechanisms.
Dr. Maniatis’ research has been recognized by many awards, including the Eli Lilly Award in Microbiology and Immunology, The Richard Lounsbery Award for Biology and Medicine (Awarded by the French and U.S National Academy of Sciences), and the 2012 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, the U.S. Academy of Medicine, and a fellow of the U.S. Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Maniatis cofounded the New York Genome Center in 2011. He is also a pioneer in the biotechnology industry, co-founding Genetics Institute in 1980, ProScript, and Acceleron. Recently Dr. Maniatis cofounded “Kallyope”, a New York city-based gut/brain axis company.
His laboratory is currently focused on molecular neuroscience, with interests in the role single cell diversity in brain wiring, and disease mechanisms in the neurodegenerative disease ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Dr. Maniatis’ laboratory manual on Molecular Cloning was instrumental in the wide dissemination of DNA cloning methods internationally for over 30 years.
Dr. Maniatis received his B.A. and MS. degrees from the University of Colorado in chemistry and biology, and his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University. After postdoctoral studies at Harvard University and the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, Dr. Maniatis was a professor at the California Institute of Technology and subsequently at Harvard University.
Melanie Brazil joined Columbia University as Chief of Staff for the Precision Medicine Initiative in May 2015. She works closely with Initiative Director Professor Tom Maniatis, on all aspects of the Initiative.
Melanie spent 14 years at Nature Publishing Group in a variety of roles as Editor and Publisher: Her first role at Nature was as an Editor for Nature Immunology, in which she was responsible for selecting manuscripts for peer review, making decisions about article suitability based on journal criteria and referee reports. Melanie was also an Editor for the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, responsible for commissioning scholarly reviews on a variety of subjects. As an Editor, she also authored a variety of materials for specialized and lay audiences and developed a large academic and biopharma network. Melanie’s final role at Nature was Publisher for the Biopharma cluster of journals, which includedNature Medicine,Nature Biotechnology, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery andNature Chemical Biology.She was responsible for management, strategy, content and new business development of Nature-branded journals. Melanie conducted the research and due diligence to prepare the research proposal to launch Nature Biomedical Engineering; the first issue was published in January 2017.
Prior to joining Nature Publishing Group, Melanie completed a post-doctoral position at Weill Cornell Medical School, investigating the role of microglia in processing beta-amyloid in fetal mouse brains. She carried out graduate research at the National Institute for Medical Research in London (now The Francis Crick Institute) in molecular immunology, specifically on antigen presentation in macrophages, and was awarded a Ph.D. by University College, London.
Prior to starting her Ph.D., Melanie was awarded a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Food Science from Leeds University, and completed a Masters in Applied Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Distinction) from University College, London.
Betsy MacLeod is the Special Programs Manager for the Precision Medicine Initiative. Her professional background is rooted in versatility and ranges from studio art, insurance, customer service, social media marketing, website design, event planning and beyond.
Betsy is currently enrolled in the Nonprofit Management MS program in Columbia University's School of Professional Studies. She is also an avid volunteer through NY Cares, has started her own non-profit and is passionate about many causes.