UGI has been established to create a world-leading centre to develop and apply biostatistical and bio-informatics approaches to genetic research. Its major, although not exclusive, remit is to focus on clinical and human population genetics. This will form a platform from which we can address major challenges to the use of genetics in healthcare. Genetic technologies are in routine use at UCL in fundamental and applied research in plant, animal and human studies. By invigorating statistical genetics and bioinformatics we hope to enable the translation of genetic science into understanding human health and the pathological mechanisms of human disease, and translating this knowledge into clinically relevant interventions and treatments.
The challenges that genetics must meet if it is to fulfil its potential in contributing to the improvement of healthcare include:
- Capturing all genomic information and interpreting it, including developing and applying sufficiently powerful methods in bioinformatics and biostatistics
- Improving the phenotypic definition of health and diseases
- Elucidating the metabolic processes involved in the normal and diseased states
- Timely translation of basic research into clinical practice
The UGI will address these challenges through four strands of activity:
- Develop and establish strong basic and translational research through newly established professorial units
- Training postgraduates through taught masters and research degree programmes
- Provide outreach service for core support in bioinformatics and statistical genetics available to UCL and its partners
- Developing on-site outsourcing through commercial partnerships to service the existing sequencing and genotyping needs within UCL whilst developing ‘next-generation’ technologies to accommodate future service need
UGI has a major focus on application to three disease areas, chosen based on the clinical strengths at UCL and their relevance to society, of Cardiovascular, Neurological Disease and Cancer, with an additional major activity in the Pharmacogenetics of these diseases. Genetic variants influencing susceptibility to these diseases and which determine an individual’s response to therapeutic agents used in their treatment are already known (and many more will be identified), and multi-disciplinary strategies for coping with this information are urgently needed. These go far beyond the expertise of geneticists and clinicians, and the strength of UCL in other disciplines will allow the immediate involvement and engagement of the necessary expertise.
Page last modified on 06 aug 12 14:22