Monday, May 6, 2013

Penn Genomics Retreat 2013

Today I attended the Institute for Biomedical Informatics Genomics and Computational Biology (GCB) Graduate Group 2013 Annual Retreat, through the University of Pennsylvania, here at the beautiful College of Physicians of Philadelphia (also home of the Mutter Museum).  I tried to take a picture of the beautiful auditorium but I don’t think my camera did it justice.  The retreat highlighted talks from past and present members of GCB, as well as some great guests.  Overall it was a great symposium with many interesting presentations, posters, and discussions.

One of the highlights for me was the keynote speaker Michael Snyder, PhD, from Stanford.  The main point I took away from his presentation was that there is currently a huge potential for incorporating omics technology into medicine.  He promoted the idea of integrative Personal Omics Profiling (iPOP), which is the integration of multiple high-throughput analysis techniques with other clinical approaches to provide a better treatment approach for patients.  The omics technologies included in iPOP are the whole genome (collection of personal genome DNA sequences), the transcriptome (collection of your mRNA sequences, which shows what genes are expressed), the proteome (collection of proteins present, which shows what proteins are being produced from the expressed genes), the metabolome (collection of the metabolites), and probably the microbiome in the future (collection of the microbes associated with the body).

Dr. Snyder gave an example in which the genomic data of a subject (over time) suggested an increased genetic risk for type 2 diabetes, although he lacked many clinical risk factors for the disease.  Partially through the study, the subject began to show signs of diabetes and this was fortunately addressed with lifestyle changes.  There were also other fascinating implications of this clinical integration of omic technology, and I suggest you read more about it in reference [1].  Overall this was a great keynote talk, and a wonderful retreat, all filled with really cool science!

Works Cited

1     Chen, R. et al. Personal omics profiling reveals dynamic molecular and medical phenotypes. Cell 148, 1293-1307, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.02.009 (2012).

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