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2018 Bernard Cohen Memorial Lecture in Genetics


Hugo J. Bellen, DVM, PhD
Investigator, HHMI
Professor, Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics and Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine

Flies tell us something about Zika induced microcephaly and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer Disease

Thursday, May 3, 2018, 4:00 PM
Gaulton Auditorium, Biomedical Research Building

Hugo Bellen is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Distinguished Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics and Neuroscience. He obtained a degree in Business Engineering from the Solvay School of Business at the University of Brussels, a doctoral degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Ghent, and a Ph.D. in Genetics at the University of California at Davis. He then joined the laboratory of Dr. Walter Gehring as a postdoctoral fellow in Basel, Switzerland. He started his independent career as an HHMI Investigator at Baylor College of Medicine in 1989. His group has made major contributions to our understanding of nervous system development, synaptic transmission and mechanisms of neurodegeneration. As the head of the Drosophila Gene Disruption Project his lab has developed numerous sophisticated genetic tools and generated tens of thousands of reagents that have transformed Drosophila biology. His current research focuses on uncovering new human disease genes and elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases using fruit flies in collaborations with human geneticists worldwide. His lab is the home of the Model Organism Screening Center for the Undiagnosed Disease Network of the NIH. In the past few years he has made major strides in solving key problems related to Friedreich ataxia, Alzheimer disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson disease. He not only uses flies in his research, but is also fond of fly fishing.