Center for Genomic Medicine celebrates five years, plans for the future at annual symposium

The Center for Genomic Medicine (CGM) marked its five-year anniversary at CGM’s annual symposium on the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology campus. The partnership between HudsonAlpha and the University of Alabama at Birmingham has already enabled progress on major projects like the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI). At this year’s symposium, researchers discussed the future of the Center’s work.

Keynote speaker Marc S. Williams, MD, spoke from his experience as the director of the Geisinger Genomic Medicine Institute in Danville, Pennsylvania. He told the group of gathered scientists about Geisinger’s efforts to develop patient-centered precision health. He encouraged researchers from the Center to focus on what it could do better than anyone else. A panel on CGM’s opportunities for 2019 noted that through AGHI, the Center had unique opportunities to study and develop outreach for traditionally underserved communities as well as the chance to work on patient engagement.

Over the course of the day, researchers received updates from a number of CGM participants. UAB’s Jim Cimino, who heads the Informatics Institute at the university, outlined efforts to combine datasets where possible through a system called U-BRITE. Other scientists discussed specific research into everything from Ras pathway genes to exon skipping as a way to treat Neurofibromatosis. Researchers also went through a number of data-centric projects related to AGHI, including a pipeline for analysis for genome-wide association data and a method to estimate genetic ancestry through AGHI datasets.

Scientists had plenty of progress to parse for the Center’s five-year anniversary, and researchers at the symposium looked forward to an even brighter future.

Written by David Kumbroch, HudsonAlpha dkumbroch@hudsonalpha.org