Dr. Norma Nowak, Expert in Human Genomics, To Speak At Canisius College

BUFFALO, NY − The Dr. George E. Schreiner ’43 Pre-Medical Distinguished Speaker Series at Canisius College will host Norma J. Nowak, PhD, director of science and technology for the University at Buffalo New York State Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, on Thursday, September 25 at 7 p.m. in the Montante Cultural Center. Nowak’s lecture, entitled “The Future is Upon Us: Your Genome and Your Health,” is free and open to the public.

Nowak is a recognized leader in the field of human genomics.  Her research contributed directly to the Human Genome Project, as well as to microarray-based approaches to understanding heritable disorders and cancer.  Nowak is also the founder and chief scientific officer of Empire Genomics LLC, a molecular diagnostics firm focused on enabling personalized medicine. She previously served as director of the UB/RPCI Genomics Facility, a collaborative research lab shared by UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). Prior to that at RPCI, she developed physical clone resources for cloning disease genes and mapping the human genome.

Nowak is the author of landmark papers that describe the cloning of several heritable cancer disorders, including a form of Ataxia Telangiectasia (Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome). Her work on the Human Genome Project was published in the genome issue of Nature. Nowak led and coordinated the three groups for the NCI extramural Cancer Chromosome Aberration Project. As part of this project, she also developed BAC-based array CGH (Comparative Genomic Hybridization) a microarray-based method for identifying numerical differences in DNA between tumor and normal cells and cells from individuals with genetic disorders. The results of this work were published in Nature Genetics. Nowak also was a key member of the GENSAT project which studied spatial and temporal gene expression during development of the central nervous system in mice, and this work was published in the 2003 genome edition of Nature. She has authored or co-authored more than 140 research articles in leading scientific journals and has served as an associate editor of Physiological Genomics. Nowak is currently on the editorial board of Cytogenetics and Genome Research as an associate editor.

Nowak is the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2008 American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award for the development of CGH and array CGH technology. In addition, she was honored with the 2008 Thomas B. Tomasi Award for her outstanding achievements in science by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Nowak holds a PhD in experimental pathology from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Canisius College.

For more information on Nowak’s lecture, contact The Office of Public Relations at (716) 888-2790.

Canisius is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation and the premier private university in Western New York.