Our Speakers, Panel Moderators  & Workshop Leaders 

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  Patrick Stover, Ph.D.   

Texas A&M University

Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture & Life Sciences and Director for Texas A & M Agrilife Research 

Matthew Anderson,  Ph.D.  

Ohio State University Microbiologist & specialist in Native
American Indian health disparities

Kim E Barrett, Ph.D.   

Director, Division of Graduate Education, Education and Human Resources Directorate, National Science Foundation 

JudyAnn Bigby, M.D. 

Senior Fellow, Mathematica, former Secretary, Executive Office of Health & Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

Shauna Clark, Ph.D.  

 Director, NIH Academy, Office of Intramural Training & Education, National Institutes of Health 

Georgia Dunston,  Ph.D.  

 Professor of human immunogenetics at Howard University and founding director of the National Human Genome Center at Howard University

Patricia Francis-Lyon, Ph.D.,    

 Director of Bioinformatics and Research, Digbi Health, Associate Professor of Health Informatics & Computer Science, University of San Francisco (research includes investigation into the association between genomic factors and cancer in African-Americans)   

Neil Hanchard, M.D., Ph.D.     

 Baylor College of Medicine

Associate Professor of Molecular & Human Genetics  

Bertha A. Hidalgo, Ph.D., MPH   

 University of Alabama at Birmingham, Epidemiologist and research specialist in Genomics of Cardiometabolic Diseases in
Mexican Americans  

Constance B. Hilliard, Ph.D.    

 University of North Texas, Professor of African Evolutionary History, Author of Ancestral Gene Variants (AGV) Model of Ethnic Disease Susceptibility.   

Rick Kittles, Ph.D.

City of Hope National Medical Center

Geneticist and founding director of the Division of Health Equities at the City of Hope


Jeffrey Long, Ph.D. 

University of New Mexico

Evolutionary Anthropologist & Director, Genetic Computation Laboratory 


Sreekar Marpu, Ph.D.

University of North Texas

Research Assistant Professor, in the fields of chemistry, materials science,  biosensors and nanoagents.

Shannon McCall, M.D.  

Director of the Duke BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center (Duke BRPC) and Principal Investigator for the National Cancer Institute's Cooperative Human Tissue Network Southern Division

Sam Oh, Ph.D., MPH

Director of Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, Asthma Collaboratory

Kim Pruitt, Ph.D.

Chief Information engineering Branch, National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

Alice Popejoy, Ph.D. 

Stanford University School of Medicine 

Department of Biomedical Data Science, Postdoctoral Scholar in Biomedical Data Science and Co-Chair, clinGen Ancestry and Diversity Working Group.

Denise Perry Simmons, Ph.D. 

University of North Texas, Senior Scientist Mechanical Engineering and Visiting Biomedical Faculty Chemistry; former UNT AVP Research Development, Director John Theurer Cancer Center Hackensack University Medical Center, NCI Cancer Research Fellow .

Alexander Sobolevsky, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and specialist in ion channel signaling of ancestral and derived gene variants, using cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, electrophysiology and biophysical techniques.

University of North Texas (UNT) Conference Planning Committee


Dorothy Bland, Ph.D.

 Communications Specialist and Journalism Professor 

Chandra Donnell Carey, Ph.D.

Academic Associate Dean in the College of Health and Public Service, Co-Director of the UNT Center for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Health and SocietyAssociate Dean of the College of Health and Public Service 

 Constance Hilliard, Ph.D. CO-CHAIR

Evolutionary Historian and Ancestral Genomics Theorist

Kate Imy, Ph.D.

Historian and Managing editor of the British Journal for Military History

Pudur Jagadeeswaran, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology with specialization in Medical Genetics, especially the use of zebrafish to study the genetics of hemostasis and thrombosis

Denise Perry Simmons, Ph.D., CO-CHAIR & Scientific Program Director

Cancer Biologist & Translational Biomedical Researcher - TAGRI Scientific Research Program Director  

Nancy Stockdale, Ph.D.

Historian of the Middle East & Gender Studies

 Xuexia Wang, Ph.D.

Mathematical Geneticist and Cancer Research Statistican


The Conference workshops and panels will take place on Friday, November 20, and Saturday, November 21, 2020.  NO REGISTRATION FEE  but virtual seating is limited.


Friday, November 20, 2020

(All Sessions (Central Standard Time/GMT -6 hours)

      10 AM (CST)     Welcome: Mark McLellan,Ph.D.,  Vice-President for Research & Innovation, UNT.



      10:10 AM (CST)  Greeting from Department Host:  Professor Jennifer Wallach, Chair, UNT Department of                                                        History, author of Getting What We Need Ourselves: How Food Has Shaped  African American                                             Life   

10:20 AM (CST)       Introduction:  Constance B. Hilliard, Ph.D.,

                              “Therapeutic & Other Health Applications for the Ancestral Gene Variant Theoretical Model in                                           African-Americans & Other  Underrepresented Populations ​


 10:30 AM (CST)    KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D.
                               "Population Heterogeneity and Human Nutrition – Where do we go from here?"​


 11:45 AM (CST               WORKSHOP SESSION I:  Kim D. Pruitt, Ph.D. 

                              IRB, Consents, Cybersecurity, DATA: Digital, Sharing, Entry, Mining, Sites, Repurposing, Retrieving.                                  REPOSITORIES:                   

                              Resource Access, Building and Joining (special emphasis on human data) “Resources, and the                                        Challenges of Translating Theory into Empirical Studies & Clinical Research Protection of Human                                    Subjects throughout the Data Life Cycle”    

 1:00 PM (CST)               WORKSHOP SESSION IIShannon J. McCall, M.D.

                               Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), Protection Human Subjects, Required Certification, Protocols,                                       Recruiting, Consent, Confidentiality, HIPAA, Patient Safety, Tissue /Cell Repositories Biobanks,                                         Collaborations – whose IRB? “Protection of Human  Subjects Challenges in Basic, Pre-clinical                                          and  Clinical Research: Responding to the Authentication Crisis”

    2:15 PM (CST)      HEALTH EQUITIES SESSION:  Rick Kittles, Ph.D.

   3:15 PM (CST)        Neal Hanchard, Ph.D.



Saturday, November 21, 

9:30 A.M.- 11:30 A.M. (Central Time)  Students ONLY Special Interest Workshop NSF & NIHKim E. Barrett, Ph.D. &                                                 Shauna Clark, Ph.D.

                                          “Education, Training Opportunities for the Pipeline High School through Graduate School”

8:30.                    Opening Plenary Session: Xuexia Wang, Ph.D.  

8:45.                     Subject Matter Session I:  Matthew Anderson, Ph.D.

                                “Approaching Native American communities on their own terms in microbiome research”.

9:50                     Subject Matter Session II: Alice B. Popejoy, Ph.D.

                            “Precision Medicine requires precise measures and methods: Examining current perceptions and                                   use of 'race, 'ethnicity' and 'ancestry' among clinical genetics professionals and researchers”

10:45                    Subject Matter Session III: Bertha A. Hidalgo, Ph.D., MPH  

                            “Coronary Disease, Diabetes and Multi-factor in Ecological Niche Population-associated Variants in                                Hispanic/Latino Health”


11:45                    Subject Matter Session IV: Alexander Sobolevsky, Ph.D.

                           “The structure and function of the calcium-selective channel TRPV6 and its possible role in                                              disease" 

12:45 PM (CST)   Subject Matter Session VI: Patricia A. Francis-Lyons, Ph.D.

                            “Bioinformatics, Ancestral Databases and Delineations in Ancestral Populations: A look at                                                   Health/Bio-informatics and cancer disparities in under-represented populations”


4:15 PM (CST)     Subject Matter Session VII: Rafiki Cai

                            “"How Do We Interest The Lay Person In The Matter of Genomics"  

12:45 PM (CST)   THINK TANK SESSIONS/Simultaneous: Denise Perry Simmons, Ph.D. - Introduction

                            Research Concepts: Empirical Investigations Causative Variants, Proof of Concept Ancestral                                            Genomics Variant Model;    Translation 6 SRIM target diseases bench to clinic; Funding                                                      Opportunities: Developing  subject matter collaborative research


Think Tank #1

Think Tank #2

Think Tank #3

Think Tank #4

Think Tank #5

Think Tank #6


3:00 PM (CST) Think Tanks Plenary  Session                                                                

4:00 PM (CST)  Closing Session: Pudur Jagadeeswaran, Ph.D