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Meet Mobile DNA's Editors-in-Chief

Irina Arkhipova

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Dr. Irina Arkhipova graduated from Moscow State University in 1983 with a BS/MS in biochemistry. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology in Moscow, Russia, where she worked with Georgii Georgiev and Yurii Ilyin to elucidate the replication cycle of LTR retrotransposons. In 1990, she became a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellow with David Finnegan at the University of Edinburgh, where she studied internal promoters in Drosophila retrotransposons. In 1991, she moved to the USA, where she worked in the lab of Matthew Meselson at Harvard University as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a staff scientist. At Harvard, she investigated telomere-associated retrotransposons, intron-containing retroelements, and pioneered transposon studies in non-model aquatic micro-invertebrates, rotifers of the class Bdelloidea. In 2007, she joined the faculty at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, now an affiliate of the University of Chicago, as Assistant Scientist and was promoted to Associate Scientist in 2012. Research in her laboratory is focused on genome defense mechanisms, horizontal gene transfer and non-canonical reverse transcriptases in rotifers, fungi and bacteria. She also holds an adjunct Associate Professor appointment at Brown University, serves as an Associate Editor of Molecular Biology and Evolution, and organizes a biannual meeting on mobile genetic elements in Woods Hole.

Jeffrey Bennetzen

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Haig Kazazian

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Dr. Haig Kazazian attended Dartmouth Medical School, and obtained his MD degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He trained in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital, and in genetics at Hopkins with Barton Childs, MD, and in molecular biology at the NIH with Harvey Itano, MD. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1969, becoming a full professor and chief of the Pediatric Genetics Unit in 1977, and director of the Center for Medical Genetics at Johns Hopkins in 1988. In 1994, he was named Chair of the Department of Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Since 2010, he has been a Professor in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Kazazian is known for discovering much of the normal variation in a cluster of genes involved in production of human hemoglobin. Over the past 30 years his work has led to groundbreaking discoveries about how mobile DNA contributes to human disease and genome evolution and has received a number of honors for his research, most notably the 2008 William Allan Award, the top honor of the American Society of Human Genetics.

Henry Levin

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Dr. Henry Levin is the head of the Section of Eukaryotic Transposable Elements in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH. He received his PhD from University of California, Berkeley and then was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University with Jef Boeke. Dr. Levin’s studies on the LTR retrotransposons in fission yeast identified mechanistic details of particle formation, reverse transcription, and integration. This research led to innovative methods of DNA sequencing that revealed integration behavior of transposable elements. With these methods the laboratory demonstrated that transposable element integration in fission yeast occurs primarily at promoters resulting in altered gene expression. These sequencing methods were also applied to studies of HIV-1 and provided new insight into the integration behavior of HIV-1. In addition, Dr. Levin develops novel technologies that rely on transposable elements to characterize genetic function genome-wide. Dr. Levin has organized several conferences and symposia on transposon biology and retrovirus replication.