Nathan Pearson, Genomicist; Founder, Root Deep Insight
00:00 Roots of Root
08:51 Inscrutable HLA data
13:08 23andMe for MHC?
21:21 HLA offers different ancestry results
29:35 How does the modern genomicist look at the rest of us?
33:28 How does the lay public view genomics?
42:32 What about the new block chain companies?
55:31 A look ahead
You know him, but do you know what he does for a day job?
Over the past two years, Nathan Pearson has dazzled us with his broad knowledge of the genomics space on our regular monthly reviews. Today we’re talking to Nathan about his new company that he soft launched last December, Root Deep Insight, a venture into what he calls “direct-to-lay folk genetics.”
Nathan had a not undramatic debut in our field on the TEDMED stage with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne interpreting their genome when he was at Knome. He would go on to become a lead scientist at Ingenuity and then a director of public outreach for the New York Genome Center.
In our show today, Nathan traces back his passion for unleashing the power of the genome to his childhood when he lost his mother to leukemia. He feels that had his mother had access to the greatly expanded bone marrow donor registries and involved patient data sharing options that we see today, the possibilities for her would have been much different. He’s driven by those possibilities for other patients.
Nathan is a bone marrow donor volunteer. And he found a few years back that he can ask for his genomic data back from the registry. Particularly his HLA data. All bone marrow donors can. But this data comes back undecipherable. Enter Root Deep Insight. Their vision is to make all this free data not only available but readable and valuable to the donors, or those who might volunteer to be donors.
Is this DTC? Yes, a new kind. First of all, it’s free.
“We’re learning the lessons from consumer genomics. HLA can already tell you really fun things, not just about your ancestry—and it really goes quite deep there—but important things about potential drug responses, for example.”
We get to other questions. What role does the genomicist play in society today? Do they look at the rest of us as just walking data points? And what are Nathan’s thoughts on the new generation of block chain companies such as Nebula and Luna?
It’s Nathan Pearson for an hour.