Dr. Elissa Chesler and Dr. Vivek Kumar

Dr. Elissa Chesler is an associate professor at the Jackson Laboratory and an interdisciplinary scientist who studies disease complexity in behavioral science, with a specific emphasis on the genetic and genomic analysis of alcohol and substance use disorders. She received a B.S. from the University of Connecticut and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she applied data mining algorithms to the study of the influence of the laboratory environment on genetic studies of behavior, an important aspect of research reproducibility. She then performed one of the first studies of gene-expression genetics and designed many of the features of the widely used systems genetics platform, GeneNetwork.org as a post doc. Dr. Chesler served as the group leader for Mammalian Genetics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Chesler leads the GeneWeaver project for cross species integrative functional genomics at JAX and continues her research on systems genetics and genomics of behavior.

Dr. Vivek Kumar is an assistant professor at the Jackson Laboratory and studies the genetics of addiction. His laboratory studies neural circuits in the brain whose misregulation leads to behavioral abnormalities including addiction. He is an advocate for evidence based treatment approaches to addiction, a chronic brain disease. He has given TEDxDirigo talk and published extensively on this topic. He is also a trustee of the Acadia Family Center, a nonprofit addiction treatment and family counseling facility on Mount Desert Island. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the University of California, San Diego. He carried out postdoctoral research at Northwestern University and The University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center.