On December 11th, the Boston Bangalore Biosciences Beginnings (B4) program formally inaugurated the Workshop on Genomic Applications in Healthcare & Translational Research, co-hosted by the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University and Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB).
In her inaugural address, Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Founder-Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon India Pvt Ltd) described Boston and Bangalore as cities that naturally gravitate towards innovation and science. Dr. Shaw discussed the need for scientists and doctors to incorporate big data in the development of clinical trials as well as new therapeutic approaches.
The 25 selected candidates are from all over India and represent research backgrounds ranging from pharmacology to rice genomics. The intensive two-week workshop includes daily lectures and hands-on sessions, culminating in a valedictory event featuring a key note by Dr. VijayRaghavan (Secretary of Department of Biotechnology, India.)
For the first week, students will learn about introductory genomics, cancer genomics, clinical genomics and the genomics of non-coding RNA. The students’ first hands on session was on computing with Linux, led by Dr. Subhashini Srinivasan (IBAB) and Dr. Jian Carrot Zhang (Broad Institute). The session ended with a discussion about how much about the human genome is still unknown. Another session will explore how to apply what they are learning to newborn hearing screenings.
Information from a patient’s genome is increasingly useful for diagnosis and therapy as a critical part of clinical care. Organizations such as The Human Genome Project, ENCODE (Encyclopedia of Human Elements), and the Human Epigenome Consortium have advanced our understanding of the etiology of disease and its progression. This has spurred a great deal of excitement in personalized medicine, which uses genomic and epigenomic information to guide diagnosis and therapy. Gene panel-based diagnosis, genomic markers for disease screening, and newborn screenings have created avenues for therapy and early diagnosis.
Genomics and next-generation sequencing technologies have influenced scientific research and medicine significantly, which has made a striking impact on healthcare and translational medicine over the last decade. The capability to sequence DNA at higher speeds with precision and resolution unravels several dimensions of the complex genome and enhances the applicability of genomic information in personalized medicine.
The workshop is sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.