Dr. Peter W. Laird is a Professor at the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned his B.S. and his M.S., Cum Laude, from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. He trained for his Ph.D. with Dr. Piet Borst, Netherlands Cancer Institute, and as a postdoc with Dr. Anton Berns, Netherlands Cancer Institute, and with Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He joined the faculty at the University of Southern California in 1996, where he served as the Founding Director of the USC Epigenome Center and as Leader of the Epigenetics and Regulation Program of the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. He relocated to VARI in 2014. Dr. Laird published the first demonstration of a causal role for DNA methylation in oncogenesis (Cell,1995). He developed two widely used DNA methylation analysis techniques, COmbined Bisulfite Restriction Analysis (COBRA) and MethyLight. He contributed new insights into the origins of DNA methylation abnormalities in cancer. Dr. Laird oversaw all DNA methylation data production for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and was an active contributor to numerous TCGA analysis working groups, including as co-Chair of the Gastric, Esophageal, Gastrointestinal and Cell-Of-Origin Analysis Working Groups.
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