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VCR's Distinguished Lecture Series

The VCR Distinguished Lecture Series was created in an effort to educate and help the research community stay abreast on the world’s most pressing research topics. During each of their visits, invited lecturers will meet with UTHSC administration, faculty and staff to share ideas and foster collaborative efforts centered on education, research and entrepreneurial ventures. They will also deliver a scientific lecture to the UTHSC community.




“Genomics in the Adult Clinic: Landing on Mars”

Presented by Richard A. Gibbs, PhD, Director, Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center; Wofford Cain Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics; Professor, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics; Baylor College of Medicine

When: September 6, 2018 from Noon-1pm
Where: The Freeman Auditorium (930 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor)

Lecture Abstract

The most important current endeavor in human genetic research is the discovery of alleles underlying common, complex diseases. We have developed key genome technologies and applied these methods to understand both rare, Mendelian disorders and common diseases. Greatest progress has been made in the Mendelian studies, and through whole exome sequencing we have discovered hundreds of new gene associations. Even more importantly, we have realized new aspects of Mendelian inheritance. In light of these lessons, we formulated the Clan Genomics hypothesis (PMID: 21962505), stating that the complexity of Mendelian conditions and the high frequency of disease contributing de novomutations invoked the clear importance of an individual’s immediate family background. Clan Genomics recognizes that unexplained phenotypic variability of Mendelian conditions is driven by both the complexity of the recognized inherited alleles and this family genetic background, providing a conceptual framework for understanding how rare variants can contribute to common disease.

About Dr. Gibbs

Richard Gibbs was born in Australia and graduated from Melbourne University and the Peter MaCallum Cancer Institute in 1986. Gibbs moved to Texas where he performed key work on the molecular characterization of human genetic disease and the development of methods for mutation detection. He provided an early leadership role for the Human Genome Project (HGP) and in 1997 founded the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC), one of five main groups to complete the HGP. His group has since been a major force in developing the entire field of genomics and expanding translation of genomics into medicine. The HGSC pioneered ‘personal genomes’ by sequencing and analysis of the DNA of James Watson, James Lupski and the Beery twins, showing the extent of private variation in all individuals and the power of sequencing to detect and guide treatment of genetic disease. In 2007, the HGSC developed the first targeted capture methods and in 2011 collaborated with the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at BCM to create the first Genetics Diagnostics Laboratory based on whole exome sequencing. The group has leveraged the subsequent advances in Mendelian gene discovery into insights in common, complex disease and is currently focused on the genetics of adult cardiovascular disorders. Gibbs served on the Advisory Council of the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute and has been the recipient of several awards and prizes. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2011, named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in 2011, awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2012 and recognized as one of the 400 most influential biomedical scientists in the world in 2013 (Eur J. Clin. Invest. 2014). Gibbs currently holds the rank and title of the Wofford Cain Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics and Director of the HGSC.

For more information on the upcoming Fall 2018 series, please see the Upcoming Schedule webpage. To see an archive of past presentations, please see the Recorded Lectures webpage.

Last Published: Aug 17, 2018