Atlanta, Ga. – University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medicine and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology were recognized for their groundbreaking collaboration in genomics at the annual Health Connect South symposium in Atlanta, Ga.
The Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI) was one of several collaborations aimed at improving health to be recognized at the event.
AGHI is aimed at preventing and treating disease, including certain types of cancer, heart problems, and genetic disorders. In collaboration with HudsonAlpha in Huntsville, UAB Medicine is providing genomic testing, interpretation, and counseling free of charge to residents in each of Alabama’s 67 counties. For some, the results will indicate an increased risk of a disease for which preventive or treatment strategies exist. Those participants will receive genetic counseling and be linked to appropriate medical care.
The initiative also features a public education campaign about genomic medicine and will create a DNA biobank for research, through which data from test results will be used to advance scientific understanding of the role that genes play in health and disease.
“This project will result in immediate health benefits to some participants, and in the long term will help to address problems of chronic disease and rising healthcare costs in the state. It will also position Alabama as a leader at the forefront of 21st-century medicine,” said Bruce R. Korf, MD, PhD, chair of the UAB Department of Genetics and co-director of the AGHI.
“This initiative advances the tremendous work already being done in genomics at HudsonAlpha and at UAB,” said Rick Myers, PhD, president and science director of HudsonAlpha. “We are grateful for the recognition of this important initiative by Health Connect South.”
The program is believed to be the first state initiative of this type.
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological challenges. Opened in 2008, its mission is four-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; bringing genomic medicine into clinical care; fostering life sciences entrepreneurship and business growth; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus encourage collaborations that produce advances in medicine and agriculture. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and includes more than 30 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit: http://hudsonalpha.org/.
About UAB Medicine: UAB Medicine comprises the School of Medicine and the $3 billion UAB Health System that includes all of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s patient-care activities and 2,300 licensed beds in six hospitals, one of which is UAB Hospital — the third-largest public hospital in the United States, winner of the Women’s Choice award, and one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. UAB is the state of Alabama’s largest single employer and an internationally renowned research university and academic health center; its professional schools and specialty patient-care programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 50. UAB is the largest academic medical center in Alabama and one of the top four largest academic medical centers in the United States. UAB’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science is advancing innovative discoveries for better health as a two-time recipient of the prestigious Center for Translational Science Award. Find more information at www.uab.edu and www.uabmedicine.org.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. Please use University of Alabama at Birmingham on first reference and UABon subsequent references.