Today we begin the series of interviews about Personal Genome Projects and this interview is with Professor Stephan Beck who is leading Personal Genome Project: UK. Please introduce yourself. What is PGP in general and how is PGP-UK different? I am a Professor of Medical Genomics at the UCL Cancer Institute and the Director of Personal Genome Project: UK (PGP-UK). My academic group is involved in projects investigating genomics and epigenomics of phenotypic plasticity in health and disease. We are a systems epigenomics group that is interested broadly in all aspects of it. PGP-UK is a member of the Global PGP Network which currently includes four PGPs. The first one was founded by George Church in 2005 at Harvard University, then in 2012 Stephen Scherer started PGP-Canada in Toronto. In 2013, we launched PGP-UK at UCL. In 2014, PGP-Austria was launched by Christoph Bock in Vienna. These are the four projects that are currently active. There is a number of projects that are being planned and some of them are very close to actually launching as well but that will be announced when they are ready. What was the motivation to start the very first one? What was the aim […]
This is a guest blog post written by KT Pickard (@kthomaspickard) and Kimberly Pickard (@kimberlypickard), Co-founders of StartCodon. Amazingly, the cost of whole genome sequencing is now 100,000 times less expensive than it was a dozen years ago. If the Tesla Model S followed this trajectory, you could buy one today for less than $1 USD. This super logarithmic decline puts genomics on par with desktop publishing or 3D printing—it has become something that you can affordably do yourself. My wife, Kimberly, and I were excited about the prospect of having our genomes sequenced. Our daughter has autism, and like many parents of special needs children, we were eager to explore the underlying causes of her condition. We “got genomed” last year by enrolling in Illumina’s Understand Your Genome program. We received our whole genome sequencing (WGS) data, as well as limited predisposition and carrier screening for a number of Mendelian traits. As many DNAdigest readers know, the cost of WGS continues to drop in price, almost to the $1,000 genome that Illumina announced last year. Kimberly and I were intrigued to learn that we were both carriers of some rare genetic variants. Could our genetic idiosyncrasies be contributing to our […]
This is a guest blog post writen by Mahsa Shabani (@Mahsashabani). Genomic data sharing has become an ethical and scientific imperative in the recent years. Funding organizations, research institutes and journals among others, endorsed the significance of data sharing practices to the progress of research and an optimal use of community resources. Consequently, researchers all around the world are extensively involved in the data sharing process, ranging from data production to data use. As sharing practices do involve individuals’ data, the associated ethical and legal concerns should receive thorough attention in order to respect individuals’ rights and maintain public trust. Sharing data via controlled-access public databases has been seen as an answer to the identified concerns at the moment. Data Access Committees (DACs) constructed locally or in a central fashion control access to these datasets according to defined criteria. Evaluating the qualification/eligibility of data users, ethical and scientific grounds of proposed uses and oversight on downstream data uses are considered as the main responsibilities of DACs. While the structure, membership and procedure of access review vary across DACs, some similarities in approaches and mechanisms are observed. A requirement of preparing a summary of data use and signing a data access agreement […]
Guest post by Dr Anna Middleton, Senior Staff Scientist, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. This blog post was originally published by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. The blog post is based on the talk Dr Middleton gave at the launch of the Council’s report: The collection, linking and use of data in biomedical research and health care: ethical issues. My career has explored, from multiple different perspectives, the impact of genomics on people. Genomics refers to the study of a person’s 20,000 or so genes. Given the almost infinite ways that people can be genetically different to each other, genomic research often needs to be done on a very large scale in order to be able to interpret the significance of findings, particularly a rare genetic change. So, Big Data and Genomics go hand in hand. To give you an example, I’m currently part of the Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD) project at the Sanger Institute which seeks to offer cutting edge genomic testing to 12,000 children from the NHS with severe, complex, physical and/or intellectual disability. These children have exceptionally rare conditions that their doctors may never have seen before. Using an online database that contains large sets of health and biological […]
President Barack Obama used some of his State of the Union oratory to lay out a grand vision for “precision medicine” and announce an initiative to realize it. I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine—one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. This initiative is aiming to provide US citizens with access to the personalized information to direct treatments and healthcare, including genomic medicine. The announcement brought up lots of discussions among professionals interested in the topic.Colin Hill, co-founder and CEO of GNS Healthcare, a company specializing in precision analytics commented: It’s “about time” for the government to push precision medicine. But there is a risk. Money does a lot of things in spurring research and development. But genomics data needs to be married to real-world impact data. There’s more data sharing that needs to happen! You can take a closer look at the press release article here.
Earlier this month, Human Variome Project International Ltd signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with WHO setting out their formal relationship. At the heart of this agreement lays their collaboration in achieving WHO’s goal: to provide the leadership in global health matters that relate to human genomics, with a particular emphasis on service delivery and safety in low- and middle-income countries. The public health implications of advances in human genetics and genomics are of increasing importance to all professionals working in the field. This Memorandum of Understanding gives a new initiative to WHO. While it has always had a small program on genetics and health, focusing mainly on genetic diseases for some time, this new program would bring a change in focus to the broader issue of human genomics and public health.The Human Variome Project‘s key contribution will be to give a voice to the various health professionals working in human genetics and genomics. The agreement sets out a number of specific areas for collaboration: Creating a co-ordinated international electronic forum to facilitate discussion and interaction between experts, including health professionals, researchers and academics, on matters related to human genomics, global health and service delivery and safety Organizing international meetings on matters related to human genomics and public […]
As promised last week, we are publishing the second part of the so intriguing interview with Sharon Terry on the Free the Data Project. Last week you learned about the aims and goals of the project and what Sharon did to support and launch it. What about the future plans? Here it is, enjoy every bit of the interview as well as all the interesting video. Did you miss the first part of the interview? Read the first part of the interview with FreeTheData Sharon F. Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance 4. Who is the intended audience for your campaign and how are you reaching out to them? Free the Data’s target audience is ultimately the public. As we move into an era of genomic medicine, it’s essential that we pool as many of our resources as possible to understand genetic variation and its effect on human health – and who has more information to offer than the men and women who have these mutations? It’s important to me that consumers understand the value of shared genetic data, and that they have the tools they need to share their data if they choose… whether this means simply knowing that a […]
DNAdigest is happy to welcome all of you, our blog readers, into the 2015 new year! We are fresh, with recharged batteries and ready to publish new interesting posts for you. In the first week of this, hopefully, very prolific year, we would like to introduce you to Sharon Terry (@sharonfterry). She kindly agreed on an interview for our series and will be telling us everything about Free the Data project (@FreeBRCA). This is only the first part of Sharon’s interview… Yes! There is more! Read the second part of the interview with FreeTheData here. Enjoy the read and in order to be the first one to know when we publish more interviews, sign up for our newsletter. 🙂 Sharon F. Terry is President and CEO of Genetic Alliance 1. Free The Data is a creation of Genetic Alliance, and still it has its own mission and goals. Could you please tell us more about this project of yours? Free the Data has two goals: first, to increase awareness about the benefits of open access to genetic data, both within the genetics community and at large, and second, to build the commons for the BRCA1/2 genes by empowering individual men and women […]
Nuffield Research Placements (previously Nuffield Science Bursaries) provide over 1,000 students each year with the opportunity to work by the side of professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. And this is exactly how our team met Hamza, a Sixth Form student at the Perse School in Cambridge, with an interest in molecular biology and genetics, studying Biology, Chemistry, Double Maths and Philosophy. Over the summer Hamza worked at DNAdigest as a part of the Nuffield Student Research Placement on the Genomic Data Sharing Project where his main task was assisting with the ongoing User Interaction Research. The aim of the project was to investigate how people working with human genetics access, use and store genetic data, how they share it or make it publicly available. During his work with our team, Hamza managed to successfully complete 9 face-to-face interviews with people that work with human genomic data from various different fields as well as help out with the completion of an online survey which was also important for the project. On the 23rd of October, Hamza presented a poster on the Genomic Data Sharing project at the Nuffield Celebration Event Gold CREST Awards, where Nuffield students report how their experience […]
As various genomics initiatives have promised to revolutionize healthcare for over 20 years, it is important to ask whether these have had the impact they were expected to make, and how we might take greater advantage of the technology available. The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance of life science companies, vendors, publishers, and academic groups that work together to lower barriers to innovation in R&D, is hosting a ‘Pistoia Alliance Debates’ webinar which will look at whether the economic, technical and regulatory barriers have been addressed, and how to overcome any that may remain. The webinar will see Gordon Baxter, CSO at Instem, chair a panel comprised of experts in the field including Abel Ureta-Vidal, CEO at Eagle Genomics, Fiona Nielsen, CEO at DNA Digest, Dan Housman, Director at ConvergeHealth by Deloitte, and Etzard Stolte, former CIO of the Jackson Laboratory. As well as exploring the remaining obstacles to greater adoption of genomics technology in healthcare, the panel will look at the success of recent genomics initiatives, the impact they have had, and will consider what future genomic innovation may bring to the industry. Following the discussion, webinar attendees will be able to ask questions of the panel. You […]
UPDATE: only few tickets left – do not forget to register https://dnadigestsym2014.eventbrite.co.uk This November 22nd, DNAdigest is organizing a collaborative symposium. The topic of the event will be “Open Science in human genomics research – challenges and inspirations”. It will take place at the Future Business Centre, Cambridge. You can take a look at this map for directions. At this upcoming collaborative symposium, we will introduce topics like open science, access to sequencing data, privacy concerns around human genomic data, etc., and the schedule of the day will be prepared as a combination of short presentations from invited speakers followed by interactive discussion groups. Join us at the Symposium by signing up here. You can look forward to inspirational talks to spur excitement and discussions: Manuel Corpas, will talk about how he as a citizen scientist has crowdfunded and crowdsourced the analysis of his personal genome. Linda Briceno, will share her thoughts on legal and ethical implications of data sharing in genomics. Nick Sireau, will talk about how scientists and patients can engage in collaborations, and how Open Science may be either beneficial or challenging in this context. Tim Hubbard, will present how Genomics England is engaging the research community in the 100k […]
As you may already know, DNAdigest has recently spun-out Repositive (formerly knows as Nucleobase), the social enterprise to develop Open Source software tools for researchers. Not long ago, Adrian Alexa, our CTO, gave an interview for Cambridge News explaining more in depth what lays behind the idea of Repositive. Take a look: That bit in Jurassic Park where Dickie Attenborough explains about Dinosaur DNA (“and bingo… Dino DNA!”) – and then the insect rolls down the tree covered in sap – is, sadly, the total extent of many people’s knowledge of genomic data. You won’t be shocked to hear that there’s quite a lot more to it and, as usual, Cambridge is leading the way. Repositive Ltd (a social enterprise and part of the Social Incubator East programme) is a spin-out of the Cambridge-based charity DNAdigest, fronted by founder Fiona Nielsen and her colleague Adrian Alexa who are both former employees of Illumina (the world leaders in genomic research with a UK office in Saffron Walden). Their mission statement is to ‘empower efficient access and the sharing of genomic data’. Adrian explains: The current practice for sharing and accessing genomic data is very poor. Typically, when a clinic sequences an individual, they will […]
The DNAdigest team is very happy to announce that our paper ‘The need to redefine genomic data sharing: A focus on data accessibility‘ has been published in the special issue of the Journal of Applied and Translational Genomics as an open access publication. At DNAdigest, we are aiming to improve the shared amount of genomic data which current state is far from sufficient. Believing is not enough in this case so it was important for us to get some real numbers! We interviewed genetics researchers and ran an online survey in order to find out how much and in what way genomic data is being shared. Through those in-depth contextual interviews along the online survey, we have managed to assess the state of genomic data sharing. Our finding showed that, although the procedures that researchers follow differ among universities, industry and clinics, there are still many common steps in their workflows. Unsurprisingly, most of the researchers agreed that they do not share enough data and would like this situation to change. If you want to take a look at what else we have discovered, be welcome to read the whole article: T v Schaik et al, The need to […]
This past weekend, our fourth Hack Day brought together some very enthusiastic people along with the DNAdigest team in the Future Business Centre in Cambridge to discuss the development of the Data Discovery Tool we are working on. We are very excited to say that the day turned out to be very productive. Fiona Nielsen, our CEO, started with a short presentation explaining who we are and what we have done so far. Through the course of the day our attendees divided into three groups each discussing different topics while our team integrated a member into each group so that we could follow up with everyone. Interesting discussions on what exactly can be done to improve the existing prototype on data discovery spread around fast and people were really keen on brainstorming new ideas. Hamza, our Nuffield research student, was going around interviewing. He managed to learn about the workflows and the various online repositories used to access genetic data of three Hack Day participants who use human genomic data in their work. The text mining group explored the options for automatically analysing data set descriptions and labelling them with appropriate ontology tags. One very active contributor was Peter Murray-Rust who […]
Canadian Open Genetics Repository (COGR) is the creation of a unified, open-access, clinical-grade genetic database. The project is to last three years and is funded by the government of Canada through Genome Canada and the Ontario Genomics Institute. It is great to see data access issues in genetics research being addressed by national governments.
The Patient was another one of the key themes explored by the Genetics Clinic of the Future. The session was lead by Cor Oosterwijk, Ralf Sudbrak, Francesco Lescai and Maud Radstake. All have distinguished careers in healthcare policy, bioinformatics and areas relating to genetics. Their diverse expertise provided an informed and engaging starting point for the interactive session. This fourth poster explores the ways which patients can be actively involved in concrete proposals. Ideas such as establishing a DNA databank governed by patients were put forward during the workshop (run by UMC Utrecht and The Responsible Innovation Collective). DNA Digest is excited to be able to show you the full graphic (©Ruben Maalman Illustrations) investigating the changing role of the patient in the Genetics Clinic of the Future. Openness in healthcare science and access to data is obviously something which we are passionate about. Initiatives that will provide greater trust in this area are of great interest and importance. Increased patient involvement in these areas is something that could provide many benefits. Indeed the patient is ‘the main entrance’ to the Genetics Clinic of the Future. Take a look at the full poster and see what you think on the topic.
This weeks poster from the Genetics Clinic of the Future is on the theme of the laboratory and the development of technology. As with the previous posters, which you can take a look at here and here, this graphic is part of the output from the interdisciplinary workshop run by UMC Utrecht and The Responsible Innovation Collective. The workshop focused on exploring the changing face of genetic clinics with the introduction of Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS). Take a look at the poster to gain an insight into the effects of NGS in the laboratory. With the advancing of gene technologies genetics in the laboratory is set to change. It is not just outside the laboratory but on an immediate level that NGS will have an impact. Xavier Estivill, from the Centre for Genomic Revelation and Dexeus Woman’s Health, lead the presentation on this part of the workshop.
We are pleased to launch our first essay competition, we are looking for entries of 800 words in answer to one of our questions in the theme of data sharing in research. The winner will receive a £200 cash prize and finalists will have their work published on the DNA digest website, as well as honourable mentions. Please choose from one of these questions more information and helpful tips for the questions are on the essay competition page. 1) What is the current state of data sharing in 2014 and how can we encourage best practices for ethical and efficient data sharing? 2) Describe a time in your research when data sharing had a positive impact or when lack of data sharing had a negative impact on your research. 3) Describe a time when data sharing has had a negative impact on your research? 4) How do you imagine the future of data sharing in healthcare or research? The judging panel includes Dr Adam Harman-Clarke from Geneix, Dauda Bappa Project Manager from StoreGene and Amy Marquis curator at the Fitzwilliam Who will be looking for articles with the best written style, insight of content and the societal relevance of the writing. Prize: £200 Entries […]
As part of sharing best practices and encouraging world wide discussion DNA Digest is launching it’s first Data Sharing competition please see below for more details: DNA Digest Tweet for Data Sharing – Open for entries 10th – 23rd of February 2014 140 characters for the chance to win £50 of Amazon vouchers, the competition is open internationally from the 10th to the 23rd of February 2014. To enter tweet @DNADigest your #tools, #database or #challenges for sharing genetic data! You can tweet as many times as you like however we will only consider your latest tweet as your entry. We will announce the winner through twitter so please remember to follow us @DNADigest For more details and terms and conditions please head to our competitions page.
DNAdigest will be organising a workshop entitled “Translational genomics – from bioinformatics to medical informatics” at the International Conference on Systems Biology 2013 in Copenhagen. The workshop will be held on Thursday August 29th at DTU, Lyngby. In this workshop we will present the current challenges in translational genomics. We will discuss how research findings in genomics can be linked to and have an impact for medical diagnostics. Four presentations will cover the views from bioinformatics to medical genetics. There will be time set aside for Q&A with our presenters, and we will encourage you to participate in the discussion. Søren Brunak, Professor, Center for Biological Sequence Analysis: Data mining medical records for new insights for diagnostics Jennifer Becq, Bioinformatics Scientist, illumina Cambridge: From sequencing a tumour sample to finding actionable variants Mette Nyegaard, Associate Professor Human Genetics, Aarhus University: A novel deafness locus and gene mutation on chromosome 6q15-q21 identified using linkage analysis and next generation sequencing Fiona Nielsen, DNAdigest.org: Protecting data and sharing knowledge – Enabling secure data access for advancement of genomics research See the complete workshop program on the ICSB13 homepage. And register for the workshop along with your conference registration. Looking forward to seeing you in Copenhagen! — […]