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Elaine Ostrander

National Institutes of Health

Dr. Elaine Ostrander is Chief and a Distinguished Investigator in the Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Head of the Section on Comparative Genetics. She received her Ph. D. from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1987 and did postdoctoral training at Harvard and UC Berkeley. She pioneered the use of the domestic dogs as a system for genetic studies of variation, formally initiating the canine genome project in 1993. Her initial studies included building physical and genetic maps to navigate the dog genome and identifying disease-associated genetic variants. In 1993 she joined the faculty of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, where her lab of students and postdoctoral fellows focused their studies on both genome navigation and identification of variants controlling canine disorders that reflect similar diseases in humans, particularly cancer. She also began new studies aimed at understanding how and when each of the existing 450 dog breeds were developed. Dr. Ostrander moved to NIH in 2004 where she established the Cancer Genetic Branch. Her lab has worked to understand how the morphologic variation which characterizes each of the 450 dog breeds is controlled. Dr. Ostrander has published over 350 papers, edited multiple books, and won several awards including the Burroughs Welcome Award for Functional Genomics, International Canine Health Lifetime Achievement Award, 2013 Genetics Society of America Medal and in 2019 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.