BME Seminar - Wed., January 15

Event Date: January 15, 2014
Hosted By: Pedro Irazoqui
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: MJIS 1001
Edison T. Liu, M.D., President and CEO, The Jackson Laboratory will present a seminar entitled "Systems Genomics in Cancer Medicine" on Wednesday, January 15th at 9:30 a.m. in MJIS 1001.

Genomic medicine involves the provision of medical care that uses the power of genomic knowledge and technologies to resolve complex problems. This means knowing any or all mutations in the genes of an individual or an individual's cancer. The fundamental difference between this and older strategies in medicine research is the comprehensiveness and the precision afforded by new genomic technologies such as in sequencing, cloning, and genotyping. The new challenge will be the assembly and management of this high volume of data with high dimensional complexity. Genomic medicine therefore means computational medicine and modeling of entire biological systems. There is no field more suitable for genomic strategies in clinical care than cancer. The precision and the completeness of the genomic analysis will allow for the stratification of patients at risk for cancer, for therapeutic resistance, and for drug side effects. This will not only improve care, but also reduce the cost of health care at the systems level.


The availability of genome sequences will change the face of biomedical research and of medicine. Individual genomes that do not change in life can be assessed at one time. Therefore one’s complete genetic profile is accessible potentially as a clinical test. As with other technologies, genome sequencing of this magnitude raises clear legal and social challenges. In the same way that personal computers and the internet has changed our social activities and redefined privacy, the same will be true of personal genomic information.


We will describe how genomic approaches are changing our understanding of cancer, as a model system. Our work, at The Jackson Laboratory, in genomic complexity in cancer formation and maintenance has led us to some organizing principles beyond nucleotide changes. We employ a strategy of using genomic data to reconstruct systems maps of critical regulatory networks. This integrative approach permits modeling of complex interactions and allowed us to quickly uncover complex mechanisms of drug action. Coupled with the dramatic expansion of disease gene discovery, we now find that rather than a few genes, hundreds of genes may be involved in the genesis of a single complex disease. Harnessing complexity will be our next great challenge.


Short Bio:
Dr. Liu is the President and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory. Previously, he was the founding executive director of the Genome Institute of Singapore (2001-2011), and has been the President of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) from 2007-2013. Before 2001, Dr. Liu held leadership positions as the Scientific Director of the National Cancer Institute's Division of Clinic Sciences (1996-2001), the director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center's Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Breast Cancer, the director of the Laboratory of Molecular Epidemiology at UNC's School of Public Health, chief of medical genetics, and chair of the Correlative Science Committee of the national cooperative clinical trials group, CALGB. Dr. Liu is an international expert in cancer biology, genomics, human genetics, molecular epidemiology, and translational medicine. Dr. Liu’s current scientific research is focused on the functional genomics of human cancers, particularly breast cancer, uncovering new oncogenes, and deciphering the dynamics of gene regulation on a genomic scale that modulate cancer biology. He has authored over 300 scientific papers and reviews, and coauthored two books.