Keynote Speakers

TAGC 2024 will feature inspiring speakers who are not only experts in their field but also have a strong commitment towards mentoring trainees, and promoting DEI in science.


Read more about invited speakers from the C. elegans, Drosophila, Mammalian, PEQG, Plant, Xenopus, Yeast, and Zebrafish communities on their community pages.

Hugo J. Bellen

2024 Gruber Genetics Prize Lecture

One of the world’s premier researchers in Drosophila genetics, Hugo Bellen’s group has made major contributions to our understanding of nervous system development, synaptic transmission and mechanisms of neurodgeneration. As the head of the Drosophila Gene Disruption Project, his laboratory has developed numerous sophisticated genetic tools and generated tens of thousands of reagents that have transformed Drosophila biology. Bellen is a member of the National Academy of Science, the US Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the EMBO. He was an HHMI investigator from 1989 to 2021. Bellen is also a celebrated mentor, having taught—and inspired—a generation of geneticists, many of whom are internationally known scientists.


Needhi Bhalla headshot

Needhi Bhalla

Needhi Bhalla is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and studies how cells ensure that the correct number of chromosomes is maintained with every cell division. Her lab combines genetic and biochemical approaches with high-resolution microscopy and cytological techniques in the nematode worm C. elegans to better understand how chromosomes are partitioned correctly during both sexual reproduction (meiosis) and development (mitosis). In addition to the work in her lab, she is deeply committed to promoting equity in academic science, at the level of both trainees and faculty.

Adrian Krainer headshot

Adrian Krainer

Adrian Krainer studies human pre-mRNA splicing mechanisms and regulation and the involvement of splicing dysregulation in genetic diseases and cancer. His lab additionally focuses on preclinical antisense-therapeutics development, exemplified by the development of Spinraza for spinal muscular atrophy in collaboration with Ionis Pharmaceuticals and Biogen. Adrian is the St. Giles Foundation Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Deputy Director of Research of the CSHL Cancer Center. He co-founded Stoke Therapeutics in 2014, and serves on its Board of Directors and as Chair of the Science Advisory Board.

Art Krieg headshot

Art Krieg

Art Krieg has worked in the discovery and development of nucleic acid therapeutics for more than 30 years, starting as a postdoc at NIH and then Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa. His discovery of the immune stimulatory CpG DNA motif led to the clinical development of improved vaccines and cancer immunotherapies at Coley Pharma (acquired by Pfizer in 2008) and Checkmate (acquired by Regeneron in 2022). Art co-founded RaNA Therapeutics targeting long noncoding RNAs (later becoming Translate Bio and acquired by Sanofi in 2021). He also developed exon skipping oligomers at Sarepta and oligonucleotide therapeutics at Pfizer. Art is currently a Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Chan Medical School in the RNA Therapeutics Institute.

Beronda L. Montgomery headshot

Beronda L. Montgomery

Beronda L. Montgomery is Professor of Biology and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Grinnell College. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Plant Biologists, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the American Academy of Microbiology, she was named one of Cell’s 100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America. She was the winner of the 2021 Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award and the 2022 Adolph E. Gude, Jr. Award for outstanding service to the science of plant biology. Montgomery is the author of Lessons from Plants (Harvard University Press, 2021).

Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado

Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado holds the Priscilla Wood Neaves Endowed Chair in the Biomedical Sciences at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, where he also serves as its Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer. His laboratory explores the genetic and cellular control of regeneration and tissue maintenance and has identified dozens of genes and genetic programs involved in these processes. Sánchez Alvarado’s work has the potential to lead to a better understanding of how the adult forms of higher organisms, including humans, carry out their biological functions. His research also has led to insights into the molecular and genetic drivers of both regenerative and degenerative cellular processes that contribute to disease. Sánchez Alvarado is the recipient of numerous honors and awards and is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Leslie B. Vosshall

Leslie B. Vosshall

Leslie B. Vosshall is a molecular neurobiologist who studies how behaviors emerge from the integration of sensory input with internal physiological states. Her notable contributions to science include the discovery of the insect odorant receptors, and the elucidation of general principles of their function, expression, and the connectivity of the sensory neurons that express them to primary processing centers in the brain. Her lab studies molecular neurobiology of host-seeking and blood-feeding in mosquitoes that spread dangerous infectious diseases. Vosshall is the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Robin Chemers Neustein Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at the Rockefeller University.