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COVID-19 has changed our world, and research to combat the virus is starting here. In Maine, local scientists and life science’s companies quickly pivoted to focus on research, testing, supply chain, manufacturing, and therapeutic development to address the novel coronavirus.


Join us on Thursday, May 28 from 3-4:30PM for a BioME webinar session devoted to “The Science of COVID-19”. The goal of this virtual event is to facilitate communication and collaboration among Maine’s bioscience community, and the general public, regarding the specificity of the virus and the disease it causes, research progress, testing, possible vaccines and treatment, epidemiology and virology in general, all from a scientific perspective.


In this informative live webinar, Dr. Norman Moore (Abbott), Dr. Edison Liu (Jackson Laboratory), Dr. Melissa Maginnis (University of Maine), Dr. Dora Anne Mills (MaineHealth), and Dr. Douglas Sawyer (MMCRI, moderator) will address the science behind COVID-19, followed by a 30 minute Q&A.






Dr. Edison Liu, President & CEO, The Jackson Laboratory
Dr. Liu is the president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory. Previously, he was the founding executive director of the Genome Institute of Singapore (2001-2011), and was the president of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) from 2007-2013. Between 1997 and 2001, he was the scientific director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Clinical Sciences in Bethesda, Md., where he was in charge of the intramural clinical translational science programs. From 1987 to 1996, Dr. Liu was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was the director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Breast Cancer; the director of the Laboratory of Molecular Epidemiology at UNC’s School of Public Health; chief of Medical Genetics; and the chair of the Correlative Science Committee of the national cooperative clinical trials group, CALGB. Dr. Liu is an international expert in cancer biology, genomics, human genetics, molecular epidemiology and translational medicine. Dr. Liu’s own scientific research has focused on the functional genomics of human cancers, particularly breast cancer, uncovering new oncogenes, and deciphering on a genomic scale the dynamics of gene regulation that modulate cancer biology. He has authored over 300 scientific papers and reviews, and co-authored two books. He obtained his B.S. in chemistry and psychology, as well as his M.D., at Stanford University. He served his internship and residency at Washington University’s Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, followed by an oncology fellowship at Stanford. From 1982 to 1987 he was at the University of California, San Francisco, at the G.W. Hooper Foundation.


Dr. Melissa Maginnis, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, University of Maine
Dr. Melissa Maginnis is an Assistant Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Maine. She was born and raised in Pennsylvania and earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Neumann College. Dr. Maginnis earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University in Dr. Terry Dermody’s laboratory and performed postdoctoral training at Brown University in Dr. Walter Atwood’s laboratory. Dr. Maginnis joined the UMaine faculty in 2014, and her laboratory at UMaine is focused on defining how the human JC polyomavirus recognizes and invades host cells; this work can ultimately elucidate targets for novel antiviral therapies to prevent or treat viral illnesses. Dr. Maginnis also serves on the UMS Scientific Advisory Board for COVID-19 and is a Co-chair of the American Society for Virology Education and Career Development Committee.


Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Chief Health Improvement Officer, MaineHealth
Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP, since 2018 has served as the chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, Maine’s largest health system. She previously served as the Maine CDC director for 15 years under Governors Angus King and John Baldacci, overseeing many efforts, including the development of a statewide public health infrastructure, Maine’s response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the implementation of a system for chronic disease prevention, and addressing a number of environmental health issues. She also served simultaneously as the State Epidemiologist during part of this time. For seven years she served as the vice president for clinical affairs and the director of the Center for Health Innovation at the University of New England. Earlier in her career, she practiced medicine in her hometown of Farmington. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the highest honors by the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Public Health Association, and the Nathan Davis Award by the American Medical Association. Graduating from Bowdoin College, UVM College of Medicine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Dr. Mills also lived and worked in Tanzania as well as volunteered for shorter stints in Ivory Coast, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic. She lives in Portland and Farmington, and is the mother of a young adult and teenager.


Dr. Norman Moore, Director of Scientific Affairs, Infectious Disease, Abbott
Dr. Moore received his Bachelor’s Degree in biology and philosophy from Dartmouth College and his PhD in microbiology from the University of New Hampshire.  Among other assays, he developed the first ever rapid tests for Legionella and S. pneumoniae, both of which are now recommended by the Infectious Disease Society of America.  After being an R&D director for many years, he took the role of Director of Scientific Affairs where he works with the medical community.  He has served on multiple NIAID grant committees, the CDC guideline group for rapid influenza testing, the College of American Pathology’s and Clinical Laboratory Standards point-of care committees, and CLSI’s infectious disease guideline writing committee.   He currently has six patents and numerous publications and presentations.


Dr. Douglas Sawyer, Interim Director, Maine Medical Center Research Institute (moderator)
Dr. Sawyer is the Interim Director of the Maine Medical Center Research Institute and Co-Director of the Myocardial Biology & Heart Failure Research Lab. Dr. Sawyer joined Maine Medical Center in 2014 as Chief of Cardiac Services and Physician Leader of the Cardiovascular Services line before assuming his current role of Chief Academic Officer in 2019. As Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Sawyer oversees all aspects of the academic and research missions of Maine Medical Center, and serves as Academic Dean for the Maine Track program at Tufts University School of Medicine. Prior to joining Maine Medical Center, Dr. Sawyer held clinical and leadership positions at Vanderbilt University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. He received his MD and PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from Cornell University and completed his Internal Medicine residency and Cardiovascular fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Sawyer continues to serve his Greater Portland community as a practicing physician at Maine Medical Partners Cardiology.