Real World Futures

Unlocking The Human Genome

Date: 20 July 2017

THE rapid growth in understanding the human genome and the characteristics behind many diseases was the focus of the Real World Conversation, Unlocking The Human Genome on July 18.

The speakers explained both how genomics medicine works but also the forces behind its growth to the breakfast at QUT’s Gardens Point Theatre.

QUT’s Director of Genomics, Professor Matt Brown, suggested genomics was one of two great medical breakthroughs of the past 50 years - the other being MRI technology. The director of QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Professor Lyn Griffiths, described her work to isolate the gene mutations behind a lot of migraine headaches.

And former genetic counsellor, now QUT researcher Dr Aideen McInerney-Leo, talked about the ethical and legal issues of genomic medicine, including the protections patients could have from discrimination. And she introduced a Brisbane mother, Julie Wheatley, who told of her family’s co-operation to help understand a mutation that had limited the mobility of her two sons, Harrison and Max.

Tom Berkovits of the medical company Illumina described the commercial applications and partnerships emerging.

Videos of the speaker’s presentations will go live to the Real World Futures site next week and their slides are here.  Pictures from the day are here.

The overall takeout was that digital technology is making genomics faster and cheaper. And the mass of data accumulated is adding to human knowledge of disease at a rapid pace. This can help with both developing and testing treatments by better selecting trial patients.

This was the 17th Real World Futures event since the series commenced in 2015 with a presentation by Oxford University’s Professor Michael Osborne describing the risk to employment from technology.  Other Real World Futures events have looked at future ways of thinking, driverless cars, social media, disruption in the food industry and wearable health.

The next Real World Conversation will be on the theme, Connected Cities, Connected People on Wednesday 30 August 2017.

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.

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