Leslie G. Biesecker, M.D., chief of NHGRI's Medical Genomics and Metabolic Genetics Branch, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Dr. Biesecker is a clinical and molecular geneticist who studies the cause of rare disorders, such as Proteus syndrome, to improve medical treatment for affected individuals. NAM recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of medical science, health care and public health.
In this issue of The Genomics Landscape, we feature an overview of NHGRI's impressive technology development programs and the many accomplishments and goals those programs have achieved. There's also a story on an NHGRI training program that "turns docs into researchers," a review of a recent workshop that focused on family health history tools and a welcome to two new policy and education fellows.
NHGRI is pushing beyond current capabilities in genome sequencing. New funding awards, totaling approximately $6.7 million, are part of a technology investment that began in 2004. The aim is to advance the development of genome sequencing technologies that are faster, cheaper, and more accurate and sensitive than those we already have.
The Physician-Scientist Development Program (PSDP) at the National Human Genome Research Institute helps physicians develop research programs dedicated to the disorders they specialize in. The program trains fellows to use the tools that unlock information in the human genome for real world applications, such as finding cures for genetic diseases. Armed with training from the PSDP, Dr. Peter McGuire joins the Division of Intramural Research as its newest faculty member.
Researchers have begun identifying genetic mutations that evolved over thousands of years to protect Africans from disease pathogens. NHGRI Researcher Charles Rotimi, Ph.D., calls for comprehensive DNA sampling and genetic characterization of Africans and the people of the African Diaspora in an opinion article in the journal Current Opinion in Genetics & Development.