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A Career in Genomics Sciences

October 16, 2023 @ 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

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Cornell PhD (microbiology) alumna Dr. Karen Nelson is the Chief Scientific Officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific and previously served as President of the J. Craig Venter Institute. She is the 2023 Dale Bauman lecture invited speaker.

“A Career in the Genomics Sciences” speaker:

Karen Nelson Cornell PhD alumnaKaren Nelson, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Frederick, MD

October 16 at 2:30 pm in the main PepsiCo Auditorium of Stocking Hall


The human microbiome refers to all the microorganisms that live in and on the human body. It is now estimated that about 57% of the cells in the human body are microbial cells and that 99% of the genes present in the human body are microbial genes. These microbial species and their associated genetic information have a significant impact on human health and disease. A prior team led by Dr. Nelson at the J. Craig Venter Institute published the first human metagenomics study in 2006 which went on to be the foundation for several large scale domestic and global sponsored research projects on the human microbiome. In parallel, many startups formed to investigate the potential of these species, as well as collaborations between pharma, biotech and academia. Today, the human microbiome remains a vast treasure trove of information that we are still trying to understand. In her presentation, Dr. Nelson will review how her work at Cornell in the Animal Sciences Department gave her the critical foundation for a successful career in the non-for-profit sciences and in Industry.


Welcome (Xingen Lei)
Introduction of the Bauman Lecture (W. Ron Butler)
Introduction of the Lecturer (Angela Poole)
Lecture (Karen Nelson): “A Career in the Genomics Sciences”
Presentation of the Lecture Plaque to Dr. Nelson (D. E. Bauman)
Questions and Discussion (Syed H. Rizvi)
Remarks by Dr. Bauman

About the speaker

Dr. Karen Nelson is the Chief Scientific Officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Prior to that she was the President of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), where she held several positions of increasing responsibility over the years, including Director of JCVI’s Rockville Campus, and Director of Human Microbiology and Metagenomics in the Department of Human Genomic Medicine at the JCVI. Dr. Nelson received her undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies, and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has authored or co-authored over 230 peer reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology. She has served on the Editorial Boards of PNAS Nexus, BMC Genomics, GigaScience, and the Central European Journal of Biology. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, an Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies and a Helmholtz International Fellow. Dr. Nelson is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Dr. Nelson has led several genomic and metagenomic efforts, including the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006, and studies of the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. In her current role she oversees the R&D operations of Thermo Fisher.

About the Dale. E. Bauman Lecture at Cornell

The Dale E. Bauman Lecture was created by the Faculty of the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University in 2017 to recognize the remarkable career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Professor Emeritus Dale E. Bauman to animal biology, food science, and nutritional biochemistry. Initial endowment has been funded from gifts of individual faculty members to inaugurate this exciting lecture series.

Dale BaumanDr. Dale E. Bauman is Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor Emeritus at Cornell University. Raised on a Michigan dairy farm, he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois. Bauman’s research focus has included lactation biology, regulation of metabolism and nutrient partitioning, production of animal-derived functional foods and environmental impact of animal production.

Recently named as one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds”, he has coauthored more than 800 scientific articles. Bauman has received awards from several scientific and professional societies as well as the USDA Distinguished Service Award and the Alexander Von Humboldt Award for Agriculture Research. Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Bauman has been member of several USDA Advisory Committees and served as President of American Society for Nutrition and Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture & Natural Resources.

The Bauman Lecture is sponsored by

Department of Animal Science, Department of Food Science, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Your generous donations will be invaluable to promote and sustain the Dale E. Bauman Lecture as an annual event at Cornell University. Donations should be forwarded to: The Dale E. Bauman Lecture, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Morrison Hall, Room 149, Ithaca, New York 14853. If you have any questions about the program please contact Dr. X. G. Lei (e-mail xl20@cornell.edu or phone 607-254-4703).


October 16, 2023
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
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Careers - Non-Academic
Focus Area
Prepare For Your Career