Genomics, Bosnia lectures in October

FOR RELEASE: Sept. 29, 1999

Contact: Franklin Crawford
Office: 607-255-9737
Compuserve: Bill Steele, 72650,565

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Two A.D. White Professors-at-Large with widely varying interests will deliver public lectures during their visits to the Cornell University campus in October.

-- Haris Silajdzic, co-chair of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will speak on "Bosnia's Road to Europe: Opportunities and Obstacles," Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 4:30 p.m. in McGraw Hall 165. A former prime minister as well as foreign minister of Bosnia, Silajdzic also will present the Peace Studies seminar on Oct. 7.

-- Stephen J. O'Brien, a 1971 Cornell alumnus and chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Institutes of Health, will deliver a public lecture titled "The Promise of Comparative Genomics in Mammals," Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 4 p.m. in Biotechnology Building 10. In a community outreach event, O'Brien also will meet with the staff at AIDS Work Inc. of Tompkins County.

"Stephen O'Brien's one of the most important people in the field of comparative mammalian genomics over the past two decades," said Douglas Antczak, the D.H. McConville Professor in Equine Medicine at Cornell and faculty sponsor for O'Brien's visit. "His work at the National Institutes of Health was so successful that they had to change the name of the laboratory to reflect all of the work he does."

O'Brien's interests and expertise span a broad range of biological topics that bridge the sciences and humanities. He is internationally recognized for his research contributions to human and animal genetics, evolutionary biology, retrovirology and species conservation. In collaboration with others, his achievements include: mapping over 100 human genes, including scores of cancer oncogenes; development of the domestic cat gene map as a model for comparative genome analyses; discovery of the unique genetic uniformity of the African cheetah, a prelude to genetic assessment of that endangered species; solving the century-old mystery of the giant panda's evolutionary history; discovery of epidemic prevalence of feline AIDS among wild cat species; and description of the first human gene to affect HIV-1 infection and AIDS progression, CCR5. O'Brien co-founded and co-directs NOAHS (New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences), a consortium of scientists and apprentices dedicated to applying biomedical technology on behalf of species conservation and to training a generation of conservation biomedical scientists.

Silajdzic was instrumental in ending the fighting between Croat and government forces in the former Yugoslavia, serving as leader of the Bosnian negotiation team that participated in the Washington Agreements. He is a former professor at the universities of Pristina and Sarajevo and an expert on American-Albania relations, Islamic language and culture and international relations in the Middle East. As Cornell's 1997 Bartels World Affairs Fellow, Silajdzic spoke to a wide range of audiences on campus, engaging faculty and students in exchanges on the resolution of conflict, human rights and the democratic process.



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