Note that several local researchers were cited by the White House today as one of its Open Science “Champions of Change.” Among those chosen Broad Institute geneticist David Altshuler and John Quackenbush of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The award was “to honor leaders and organizations promoting and using open scientific data and publications to accelerate progress and improve our world.”
Here’s the blurb on Quackenbush.
Since the Human Genome Project began in the 1990s, new technologies, producing previously unimaginable quantities of data on human health and disease, have been driving a revolution in medicine and biomedical research. Dr. Quackenbush has been a pioneer in ensuring that these data, and the tools needed to access them, are available, accessible, and useful. In 2011, he and colleague Mick Correll founded GenoSpace, a company that develops advanced software tools for collecting, interpreting, and sharing clinical and genomic data to further biomedical research and facilitate personalized medicine. To support the Multiple MyelomaResearch Foundation’s groundbreaking CoMMpass study, GenoSpace has created software portals that both engage patients as partners in defeating the disease and provide advanced analytical tools to make the invaluable study data open to scientists everywhere who are interested in finding cures.
Thursday’s speaker was John Quackenbush, who runs The Computational Biology and Functional Genomics Laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center . He talked on, “The Advent of Personalized Genomic Medicine.”
Although Quackenbush worked on the effort to sequence the humane genome, he said that finding disease-linked genes is “extraordinarily difficult…Having that reference genome has not changed medicine.”
But, new sequencing technology is allowing scientists “to classify human cancers in a clinically relevant ways.“ And, that is allowing doctors to successfully tailor treatments for breast and skin cancer, he said.
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