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  • Keynote Speakers

    Mel-GrahamMelanie L. Graham, MPH, PhD
    Associate Professor, Department of Surgery Program; Director, Preclinical Research Center, University of Minnesota

    Dr. Graham is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Veterinary Population Medicine and Director of the Preclinical Research Center (PCRC) at the University of Minnesota where she leads a highly skilled team dedicated to excellence in the conduct, care, and welfare of animals used in medical research. She earned her M.P.H in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota and her Ph.D from Utrecht University. Her research is centered on the development of cell-based therapies for the treatment of diabetes, specifically beta cell transplantation and immune tolerance. For over 15 years she has concentrated on complex modeling of type 1 diabetes, immunotherapies, and transplantation techniques - especially where nonhuman primates are required. Dr. Graham is equally recognized for her expertise in the characterization and refinement of these chronic disease models towards enhancing translation to the clinic. She has developed refined surgical approaches along with innovative behavioral management programs to reduce animal burden and enhance well-being, the significance of which has been objectively demonstrated in reduced experimental confounding of research outcomes. This work proved pivotal to the first demonstration of successful long-term diabetes reversal after adult pig islet xenotransplant in nonhuman primates. She serves as a Director for the North American 3Rs Consortium and Academy of Surgical Research. She participates in the NIAID Nonhuman Primate Transplantation Tolerance Cooperative and NIAID Immunobiology of Xenotransplantation Cooperative Research Program. Her research is supported by the State of Minnesota, JDRF, and the NIH.

    David-GrimmDavid Grimm, PhD
    Journalist; Online News Editor, Science; Professor, Science Writing, Johns Hopkins University

    David Grimm is an award-winning journalist and the Online News Editor of Science, the world’s leading journal of science news and scientific research. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs, which traces the journey of dogs and cats from wild animals to family members, both in our homes and in the eyes of the law.

    Dr. Grimm is the recipient of the 2010 Animal Reporting Award from the National Press Club and the author of “The Mushroom Cloud’s Silver Lining,” which was featured in The Best American Science and Nature Writing. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Science, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Slate, Time, BuzzFeed, The Financial Times, and a variety of other publications. He has a PhD in genetics from Yale University and teaches science writing at Johns Hopkins.

    Dr. Grimm has written on numerous topics, but his main beat is animal rights and animal welfare. He also covers almost everything related to cats and dogs, including their domestication, cognition, and evolving status in society.

    Dr. Grimm speaks regularly on the need for more effective scientific communication, both by journalists and by scientists. He has spoken on the subject as a Poynter Fellowship distinguished speaker at Yale University, as well as at Johns Hopkins University and the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Lesley-SharpLesley A. Sharp, PhD
    Barbara Chamberlain & Helen Chamberlain Josefsberg ’30 Chair; Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College; Senior Research Scientist, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Fellow, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University

    Lesley A. Sharp, PhD is a medical anthropologist whose research concerns healing, illness, and end-of-life issues in a wide range of contexts. The author of six books, Dr. Sharp's scholarship has addressed indigenous healing in Africa, the transformative properties of human organ replacement, the bioethics of xenotransplantation and mechanical heart design, and, most recently, the moral underpinnings of experimental lab animal science. Her book Strange Harvest: Organ Transplants, Denatured Bodies, and the Transformed Self (2006, California) was awarded the New Millennium Book Prize of the Society for Medical Anthropology. Her most recent work is Animal Ethos: The Morality of Human-Animal Encounters in Experimental Lab Science (2019, California). Dr. Sharp holds the Barbara Chamberlain & Helen Chamberlain Josefsberg ’30 Chair in Anthropology at Barnard College, and is also a senior research scientist in sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and a fellow of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.