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2018 North Dakota INBRE Annual Symposium Speaker Biographies

Dr. Don Sens is a Professor in the Department of Pathology.  He received his Ph.D. degree in 1976 from the Department of Chemistry at the University of South Carolina in the area of gene regulation of the arginine operon in E. coli.  Postdoctoral training was with Dr. Harold Amos in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the Harvard Medical School.  In recognition of Dr. Amos’s contribution to health disparity and under-served populations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation established the “Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award” to increase the number of faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.  Dr. Sens joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1979 and attained the rank of full professor and director of pathology research in 1989.  The principal investigator joined the faculty at the University of North Dakota in September of 2002 as a professor.  Dr. Sens has maintained active research support throughout his career, is a frequent reviewer of grants and manuscripts, and an active member of the Society of Toxicology.  Dr. Sens has been the principal investigator of the P20 INBRE program since July of 2005.  Recently, Dr. Sens became the program coordinator for the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) grant awarded to Cankdeska Cikana Community College in September of 2014.  As the PI of the ND INBRE and PC of the Cankdeska Cikana NARCH, every day is a mentoring day, be it, beginning new faculty, established faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduates, or K-12 students.  Dr. Sens’s research is anchored by the use of human tissues and derived cell cultures in biomedical research.  The major theme of the applicant’s research is to prove the hypothesis that environmental agents which elicit human disease cause cellular alterations in cell structure and function that can be identified as predictive biomarkers of disease development and progression.  Within this theme, it is further hypothesized that the identification of such biomarkers can be translated to the diagnostic laboratory to improve the treatment of patients through enhanced diagnosis of the disease process.  These hypotheses are pursued under studies designed to show that environmental exposure to arsenic and cadmium are involved in the development and progression of human bladder, breast, prostate and renal disease and that such exposure produces biomarkers predictive of the disease process. 

Marc D. Basson, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., is the Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  He earned his degree in medicine from the University of Michigan in 1981 and his PhD in Experimental Pathology from Yale in 1992. Following a variety of clinical and academic appointments at places like Yale, Wayne State University, and Michigan State University, Dr Basson joined the faculty at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2015. He is an award-winning and widely published scholar and editor who has won millions of dollars worth of research grants for the institutions he has served, including his latest award - a five-year, $20 million award from the National Institutes of Health to support the Dakota Cancer Collaborative on Translational Activity (DaCCoTA) project, which looks to bring clinicians and non-clinicians together to develop novel treatments for cancer cooperatively and, ultimately, get those treatments to patients sooner.