Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
Genetic epidemiology is a relatively new medical discipline that seeks to understand how genetic factors interact with the environment in the context of disease in populations. Areas of study include the causes of inherited disease and its distribution and control.
Genetic epidemiology... It's a relatively new field. Epidemiology itself is not. Epidemiology refers in general to the study of populations and characteristics of populations, but the addition of genetic to the word epidemiology in recent years connotes the influence that genetic factors have on disease incidence or other traits that characterize individuals in a population, whether those are people or other individuals in a population; most often people. Importantly, because what we're studying in genetic epidemiology is people in an environment, what one observes in genetic epidemiology is not simply the genetic characteristics of the individuals across the population, but also the environmental influences that those populations are subject to in the area in which they live.
Name: Christopher P. Austin, M.D.
Occupation: Director, NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC); Senior Advisor for Translational Research, Office of the Director
Biography: Dr. Austin's research focuses on development of reagents and technologies to translate genome sequence into functional insights. As director of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), part of a network of screening centers that produce chemical probes for use in biological research and drug development, Dr. Austin is spearheading a chemical genomics program that brings the power of small-molecule chemistry and informatics to the elucidation of gene function. Just as the Human Genome Project accelerated gene identification, this initiative promises to speed discoveries on gene function and lead to the development of new therapies for human disease.