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Welcome to the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Institute for Computational Biology (ICB) North Coast Conference on Precision Medicine series!  This year, we are discussing the challenges and scientific advantages of including diverse populations in the study and implementation of precision medicine.  Precision or personalized medicine is the incorporation of ‘omic data into clinical practice to better predict, prevent, and treat disease at the individual level.  The White House-led Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) is ramping up, and the first projects are being awarded to ascertain and follow 1 million Americans in a study of  genetics, environment, and lifestyle to better understand their influence on human health.  

Despite the excitement surrounding these research developments, patient enrollment is a tricky business.  There are many factors - personal, statistical, ethical, social, demographic, and otherwise - that may make it difficult to ensure that all populations are represented in research studies, and that all populations stand to benefit from research findings.  We have seven local and national speakers scheduled to present the latest research related to

  • The need for diversity in precision medicine research;
  • Public attitudes toward the use of genetics to address health disparities;
  • Outreach and experiences in Cleveland;
  • Use of electronic health records to identify potential participants for precision medicine research;
  • Biorepositories, data collection and data analysis in U.S. territories;
  • Statistical and computational approaches to studying diverse populations; and
  • Pharmacogenomics (and its challenges) in diverse populations.

The lunch break will feature a poster session and a presentation from Dr. Patrick Raber from Adaptive Biotechnologies, a biotechnology company that specializes in combining high-throughput sequencing and expert bioinformatics to profile T-cell and B-cell receptors. 

We will close the symposium with special guests Veronica Robinson and Shirley Lacks, great-granddaughter and daughter-in-law of Henrietta Lacks, respectively.  Henrietta Lacks was a cervical cancer patient whose biospecimens were used without her consent to create immortal cell lines, now known as HeLa cells. Since the publication of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the Lacks family has spoken to audiences about their family’s experience both as research participants and their role in informing and directing research and policy.

Please register and join us in September 29, 2016 for this one-day event on the CWRU campus at the Tinkham Veale University Center

Attendance at this year's symposium will be awarded six Continuing Research Education Credits (CRECs).