In the last issue of The Genomics Landscape, I described the launching of a new multi-year NHGRI strategic planning process. To keep you regularly informed about this 'Genomics 2020' planning effort, a new section has been added to The Genomics Landscape (see below) that will highlight items of interest. I encourage you to review that section each month to learn about the latest events and developments associated with this important process.
One strategic planning event worthy of immediate note is the first 'Genomics 2020' Town Hall, which will be held on Friday, May 4, 2018, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern. This first Town Hall will be 'virtual' - available by webcast and audioconference - and will emphasize soliciting input about the plans for the strategic planning process itself. Please join us on May 4 and help us craft the next two-plus years of strategic planning!
All the best,
This month's The Genomics Landscape features stories about:
On April 25, NHGRI and the genomics community will celebrate a yearly highlight - National DNA Day. On this day, students, teachers, and the public are engaged and encouraged to learn more about how advances in genetics and genomics are changing people's lives and what the future holds. This year's National DNA Day features an exciting assortment of online and in-person events, all of which are open to the general community. These activities include a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) Series on April 20-27 (from 1:00 to 3:00 PM Eastern Time); a Facebook Live broadcast of NHGRI's National DNA Day speaker, Dr. Olivier Noel (CEO of DNA Simple) on April 25 from 4:00 to 5:30 PM Eastern Time; and a HOT Topic Lecture on the human microbiome, given by Dr. Lita Proctor from NHGRI's Extramural Research Program on April 27 (from 4:00 to 5:00 PM Eastern Time).
The first AMA on April 20 will feature NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, who will be discussing the history of the Human Genome Project and precision medicine.
2018 is a special year for genomics, marking the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project. To mark this occasion, the 2018 National DNA Day will be associated with a novel element - called the '15 for 15' Celebration. This electronic celebration showcases 15 topics that illustrate key genomic advances that have occurred over the past 15 years and the increasing importance of genetics and genomics in peoples' lives. Starting today and on each weekday through National DNA Day, NHGRI will reveal 1 of the 15 topics in the '15 for 15' Celebration. Each topic will be featured through written, graphic, video, and other educational modalities - all freely available for review and use.
Kicking off the '15 for 15' Celebration is the first topic, which was revealed today: DNA Sequencing. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies have reduced the cost of sequencing a human genome by a million-fold, transforming almost all aspects of genomics. To learn more about this and the other '15 for 15' Celebration topics, check out the '15 for 15' Celebration webpage.
National DNA Day and the '15 for 15' Celebration are each part of broader NHGRI's programs that aim to enhance genomic literacy and to help prepare members of the public for their genomics-enabled future. These efforts are also designed to spark conversations about how genomic advances are affecting everyday lives.
Related to the above efforts to enhance genomic literacy, NHGRI will also participate later this month in the USA Science and Engineering Festival, a celebration of STEM education. This is the fifth time that NHGRI will participate in the festival, which takes place in downtown Washington, DC. NIH as a whole will have a very large "footprint" at the festival, with 21 booths designed to engage visitors and convey amazing science. Attendance is expected to top 300,000 people, making this one of the largest events to ever occur at the Washington, DC Convention Center. NHGRI's booth will feature opportunities to learn about genetic traits and to extract DNA from strawberries. In previous years, over 500 strawberries provided their DNA for these demonstrations!
To see our Public Service Announcement about National DNA Day, visit our GenomeTV YouTube channel. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #DNADay and #15for15. Remember to sign up for the National DNA Day Newsletter and to visit the National DNA Day webpage to register your events on the National DNA Day Network Map. The map helps to promote the great work being done across the country. Also, you can sign up for the National DNA Day Newsletter to receive the daily updates about the '15 for 15' Celebration. For more information about the '15 for 15' Celebration, visit the '15 for 15' Celebration webpage.
Another important anniversary relates to the heavily used GWAS Catalog, which celebrates its 10th birthday on April 28. The GWAS Catalog is a curated resource containing published data from studies on single-nucleotide polymorphism (or SNP) associations related to human health and disease. It is maintained through a partnership between NHGRI and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), with the goal of providing researchers a tool to investigate the role of common genomic variants on traits of interest, including complex diseases. The catalog contains information about 4,971 published studies and 67,857 SNP-trait associations.
Dr. Bettie Graham, Director of NHGRI's Division of Extramural Operations, was recently honored by her alma mater, Baylor College of Medicine. To commemorate Black History Month, Dr. Graham was featured in Baylor College of Medicine's Momentum blog, focusing on her work as a doctoral student in the Department of Virology and Epidemiology, and her experiences as Baylor's first African American Ph.D. graduate (earning her degree in 1971). She also participated in a panel discussion on the "African American Journey in Science: Accomplishments, Struggles and Perseverance" geared towards graduate students. Panelists provided insights about their own individual journeys and challenges as African Americans in science, offering advice and encouragement to students as they continue down their career paths.
The Inter-Society Coordinating Committee for Practitioner Education in Genomics (or ISCC) held its seventh in-person meeting earlier this year. The ISCC formed in February 2013 based on recommendations from the Genomic Medicine IV meeting, which called for improving genomic literacy of physicians and other practitioners and enhancing the practice of genomic medicine through sharing of educational approaches and joint identification of educational needs.Components of this most recent meeting included a discussion of the current ISCC work products and plans, reports about ongoing projects, and strategizing about future opportunities for the ISCC.
In addition, Dr. Hannah Valantine, NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, discussed diversity in the biomedical research workforce and the importance of considering race and ethnicity in genomics research. For more details, see the meeting minutes.
Last month, the genomics community lost a true pioneer and legend. Sir John Sulston, founder of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom, passed away at age 75. Dr. Sulston received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Drs. Sydney Brenner and Robert Horvitz, for mapping out the cellular development of Caenorhabditis elegans, a nematode flatworm. A key leader of the Human Genome Project, he staunchly advocated for open and rapid data sharing. He can be heard here, along with his close collaborator (Dr. Bob Waterson), as they spoke about the importance of aggressive data release and scientific collaboration in the early days of the Human Genome Project.
CRISPR Helps Find New Genetic Suspects Behind ALS/FTD
NIH Scientists Search for the Clocks Behind Aging Brain Disorders
NIH-Supported International Team Confirms New Genetic Mutation Link to ALS
Notable Accomplishments in Genomic Medicine
Soon to be Issued Funding Announcement for All of Us Genome Centers (OT2)
International Bioethics Research Training Program
Investigator-Initiated Genomic Medicine Research (R01)
Investigator-Initiated Genomic Medicine Research (R21)
NIH Director's Early Independence Award
Help Us! Support the 2018 DNA Day Thunderclap
Remembering a Genomics Champion, Rep. Louise Slaughter
Crowdsourcing 600 Years of Human History
A Tribute to Two Amazing Scientists
Kids First: Genomic Studies of Orofacial Cleft Birth Defects Data Now Available
Unlocking Life's Code: March 2018 Newsletter
The Genome: Unlocking Life's Code exhibition is currently touring North America.
Current: January 28 - April 24, 2018
Rochester Museum and Science Center
Rochester, New York
Next: June 23 - September 15, 2018