Dr. Neal Copeland, NDC Meeting 8/15/2011
Neal Copeland received his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of Utah; Nancy Jenkins received her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Indiana University. They met and carried out postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School before becoming Associate Staff Scientists at The Jackson Laboratory. They eventually moved on and spent 22 years at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick as Senior Investigators. Neal headed the Molecular Genetics of Oncogenesis Section and also served as Director of the Mouse Cancer Genetics Program. Nancy headed the Molecular Genetics of Development Section. For many years, they have modeled many different types of human disease in the mouse but the focus of their current research is exclusively cancer where they are using Sleeping Beauty transposable element system to tag and clone genes involved in the initiation, progression and metastasis of cancer. To fully exploit this technology, they moved to the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore in 2006, where Neal served as Director and Nancy as Deputy Director for most of their stay. A massive forward genetic screen for genes involved in 16 different types of cancer affecting 11 organ systems was performed in Singapore. With a collection of hundreds of candidate cancer genes in hand, Neal and Nancy have recently returned to the US to The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston, Texas to validate the role of these genes in human cancer with the hope that a better understanding of the genetics of cancer will lead to the development of additional targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer. Neal and Nancy have worked together for more than 30 years and have published more than 780 papers together. They have served on numerous scientific advisory and editorial boards and have consulted for several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. They are both members of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.