AIT Grid News
HACKING THE HUMAN GENOME
AIT Alumni Club in collaboration with the Alumni Clubs of MIT and Columbia, are organizing a presentation by Niki Award 2011 recepient Dr. Manolis Kellis (Kamvysselis), MIT Associate Professor with tenure, on HACKING THE HUMAN GENOME (Comparative genomics, Epigenomics, Genome regulation, Human disease)
The event will be held on Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 19.30 in the Golden Room of Great Bretagne hotel, Syntagma Square, Athens.
Dr. Kellis has received the White House Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) for his NIH R01 work in Computational Genomics. He has also received the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Van Tassel and Distinguished Alumnus chairs, and the Spira Teaching Award.
The Niki Award 2011 will be presented to Dr. Kellis, during a formal ceremony, on December 16, for his distinguished contribution to science and his research into the human genome at the MIT Computational Biology Group. The Niki Award is presented annually to honor prominent Greeks, or personalities of Greek descent, who are internationally recognized for their contribution to science and technology.
All event proceeds will be allocated to the AIT Scholarships, Awards, and Financial Aid Fund.
1st Professional Event of the AIT Alumni Club, December 13, 2009
On Sunday, December 13, 2009, the AIT Alumni Club was successfully inaugurated in the presence of 80 alumni and students at the Hellenic American Union in Athens.
Dr. Jared Cohon, President of Carnegie Mellon University, was the guest speaker at this momentous event – the first milestone of the AIT Alumni Club. The event began with the Alumni Club representative, Mr. Yiannis Tsirilakis welcoming the alumni and students, and followed by Professor Lazaros Polymenakos, Director of the MSIN programinAthens, Dr. Cohon, and the NIKI 2009 award honoree, Dr. Thanasis Economou. After thanking everyone for making this first official event such a success, Mr. Tsirilakis stressed the importance of the Alumni Club and reminded them of the value of their contribution to AIT’s and the Club’s future efforts.
Prof. Lazaros Polymenakos began by saying that when the first students applied to the first MSIN program in 2002, AIT professors said “Well these are some smart students. Let’s enrol them in the program” - however, they were wrong … these students proved to be VERY smart! He then reminded them that alumni are not only members of a club but mainly members of AIT.
Dr. Cohon began his speech by stressing the important role of the alumni and how universities worldwide define their success by their alumni success stories. Based on alumni job positions, universities become known in a specific area, for instance, many of Yale University’s graduates went into politics and international relations and several became presidents. Another example is CMU, which is known not only for its studies in advanced technology but also for the number of its graduates who have entered the arts and theatre. He also talked about the powerful network that AIT alumni have created, both for themselves and for AIT as an educational institution. He asked all alumni to act as mentors for future students and emphasized their obligation to engage in fundraising and contribute either individually or though the companies in which they are employed. Ms. Dena Tsamitis, Director of the MSIN program at Carnegie Mellon, was unable to attend and sent her best wishes for the Alumni Club’s success. Dr. Cohon congratulated all alumni on their success.
Dr. Thanasis Economou, scientific collaborator of NASA and professor of astrophysics at the University of Chicago, talked enthusiastically about private efforts, such as the one by Mr. Socrates Kokkalis, which gives young students academic opportunities, just as he was given when he went to the USA.
Dr. Thanasis Economou was presented with the NIKI 2009 Award on December 14 at a reception organized by the Friends of AIT, honoring his contribution to the sciences as a Greek from abroad. Dr. Economou has been developing new techniques and building instruments for interplanetary spacecraft since the mid-1960s. Currently he is associated with three of NASA’s robotic missions: the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Cassini mission to Saturn, and the now-complete Stardust mission to Comet Wild-2, which has been redirected and will arrive to another comet in 2011. Economou also built the Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer that successfully performed the first chemical analysis of Martian rocks aboard the Mars Pathfinder rover in 1997.
The inauguration continued with participants mingling and catching up with fellow alumni, accompanied by food and drinks. AIT professors and staff were also present to congratulate the alumni and encourage the closeness of the AIT family. The evening concluded under the lights of Acropolis as everyone relaxed and enjoyed themselves.
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