The human genome is our complete DNA sequence of 3 billion letters specifying all of our hereditary information. The determination of this sequence – completed in the last few years – will have a tremendous impact on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. The UW Department of Genome Sciences is one of the leading centers where the genome is being interpreted and where new technologies for this analysis are being developed.
Wednesday Evenings at the Genome was a series of five presentations on the implications of the Human Genome Project and its impact on breast cancer, drug responses, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. The speakers – faculty in the Department of Genome Sciences – are internationally acclaimed experts in genome studies. These exciting discussions assumed no background knowledge in genetics or other biological subjects and provided opportunities to chat with our presenters.
These weekly talks took place between July 11 and August 8, 2007 and were held in the auditorium of the Foege Building on 15th Avenue NE and NE Pacific St.
The Human Genome Project
Bob Waterston holds the William Gates III Endowed Chair in Biomedical Sciences. Through his leadership of the project to sequence the genome of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, Dr. Waterston was the first to make complete sequencing of animal genomes a reality. In the years that followed, his contributions to large-scale DNA sequencing were central to the success of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Waterston has also had a long interest in the development of muscle, and has used the worm to study muscle formation.
more about Dr. Waterston's research:http://www.gs.washington.edu/faculty/waterston.htm
The Genetics of Breast Cancer
Mary-Claire King is an American Cancer Society professor in the Department of Genome Sciences and Department of Medicine. Dr. King proved the existence of the first gene for hereditary breast cancer and has long promoted the application of genetics to benefit humanity. Dr. King’s groundbreaking insights led to the discovery that mutations in a single gene, BRCA1, cause breast cancer in many high-risk families. The discovery permanently changed thinking about the genetics of common diseases and has been emulated by researchers studying many other serious diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and prostate cancer.
more about Dr. King's research: http://www.gs.washington.edu/faculty/king.htm
The Genetics of Drug Responses
Debbie Nickerson is professor of Genome Sciences and adjunct professor of Bioengineering. Dr. Nickerson is an expert in the study of human genetic variation. For example, her laboratory collaborated with others to show that a large fraction of the variation required in dosage for warfarin, a commonly used blood thinner, is due to small differences in one specific human gene.
more about Dr. Nickerson's research: http://www.gs.washington.edu/faculty/nickerson.htm
Genes and Heart Disease
Gail Jarvik holds the Arno G. Motulsky Endowed Professorship of Medicine and is an adjunct professor of Genome Sciences and of Epidemiology. She is also head of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Jarvik is a distinguished investigator of the genetics of complex disease, and was designated a "Local Legend from Washington" by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in association with the American Medical Women's Association and the National Library of Medicine.
more about Dr. Jarvik's research: http://www.gs.washington.edu/faculty/jarvik.htm
Analyzing Parkinson's Disease
Leo Pallanck is associate professor of Genome Sciences. Dr. Pallanck's laboratory uses genetic and molecular approaches to elucidate mechanisms of synapse formation and function and to identify genetic pathways leading to pathology in heritable forms of neurodegenerative disorders. They study genes involved in Parkinson’s disease and the pediatric neurodegerative disorder, Niemann Pick Type C disease.
more about Dr. Pallanck's research:http://www.gs.washington.edu/faculty/pallanck.htm