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2017 North Dakota INBRE Annual Symposium Speaker Biographies

Thomas M. Hyde, M.D., Ph.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Institute. Dr. Hyde is also the Director of the Section on Neuropathology, managing the Institute’s postmortem human brain repository. This repository, containing over 2000 cases and growing, is the world’s largest collection of human brains dedicated to the study of neuropsychiatric disorders. He is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Hyde is also on the board of directors for the Sheppard-Pratt Lieber Research Institute, a clinical research center focused on understanding the biology of schizophrenia, autism, and other developmental neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Hyde researches GABA signaling across the stages of normal development and in major psychiatric diseases. He has co-authored more than 190 peer-reviewed research publications, with a focus on the postmortem human brain and complex developmental behavioral disorders. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a B.A. in Biology in 1978, graduating summa cum laude. He received a joint M.D.-Ph.D. in 1984, with a Ph.D. from the Department of Anatomy. While at Penn, he was the recipient of a University Scholars Award, and an NIH Medical Scientist Training Program Scholarship. He served a general medical internship at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center from 1984-1985, followed by a neurology residency at Stanford University from 1985-1988. He served as Chief Resident in Neurology the final year of his residency. After leaving California, Dr. Hyde worked in the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch (CBDB) of the intramural program of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He ran the Neurology Consultation Clinics at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital under the auspices of the NIMH from 1988-1996.

From 1996-2010, he worked full-time in the Section on Neuropathology in the CBDB, developing an extensive collection of postmortem human brains dedicated to neuropsychiatric disease in general, and schizophrenia in particular. At the Lieber Institute, he has continued and expanded upon this effort, establishing one of the world’s largest and most extensively curated brain tissue collections for research. Under his supervision and leadership, the Lieber Institute has established brain donation collection sites in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland, the University of Western Michigan Department of Pathology, and the University of Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria.


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.