Gail Jarvik, head of the Division of Medical Genetics, is PI of a new grant to develop techniques for translating the products of gene sequencing into patient care. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Cancer Institute will provide the UW project with $2.3 million for each of 4 years. The project is part of a broad initiative by the NHGRI to carry forward the knowledge acquired through the monumental Human Genome Project and advance its application to clinical medicine. The $416 million effort includes further support of three existing Large-Scale Genome Sequencing Centers. In addition, three Mendelian Disorders Genome Centers will be funded, including the UW Center for Mendelian Genomics (PIs Deborah Nickerson, Michael Bamshad, Mark Rieder, and Jay Shendure), which was awarded $5.2 million per year for 4 years.
Dr. Jarvik's project is one of five Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research Projects that will investigate ways to incorporate genomic data into medical practice and address related ethical and social issues. Others involved include DOM members Fuki Hisama, Robin Bennett, Arno Motulsky, Wendy Raskind, Virginia Sybert, and Peter Byers, as well as Wylie Burke (Bioethics), S. Malia Fullerton (Bioethics), David Veenstra (Pharm), and Mark Rieder (Gen Sci). Other projects are funded at Baylor, Brigham and Women's, Children's Philadelphia, and the University of North Carolina.
Dr. Jarvik holds the Arno G. Motulsky Endowed Chair in Medicine and is founding head of the Northwest Institute for Genetic Medicine. She said of the project, "This is very exciting because we will actually be piloting using sequencing of the entire coding regions of the genome on UW Medicine patients. We will use a randomized controlled design to look at the health care outcomes of this promising new technology. I would like to point out that of the five clinical sequencing awards, three of the lead investigators were UW Medical Genetics fellows - Jim Evans [UNC], Sharon Plon [Baylor], and myself. Now that is an impact on training the next generation!"
The 3rd Annual Arno & Gretel Motulsky lecture was held on Wednesday July 27th 2011; our speaker was genetics pioneer and Nobel Laureate James D. Watson. Dr. Watson, together with the late Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA in 1953 and, with Crick and Maurice Wilkins, received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Today he is chancellor emeritus of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The lecture honors Emeritus Professor Arno G. Motulsky, founder of the Division of Medical Genetics, and the late Mrs. Motulsky.