genomics


Cutting through the Hype in Healthcare Innovation with David Shaywitz and Lisa Suennen

In today’s special studio interview, the health tech duo, David Shaywitz and Lisa Suennen, walk us through the changing paradigms around healthcare. They offer their thoughts on some of the new digital health and peer-to-peer social platforms which are becoming integrated in daily clinical care.

Lisa grew up in Silicon Valley and is an investor in the health tech space. David is a newcomer to the Valley and is currently the Chief Medical Officer at DNAnexus, a company that provides cloud based genomics data storage and analytics. They are both avid bloggers and recently compiled much of their written work together into a book, "TechTonics: Can Passionate Entrepreneurs Heal Healthcare with Technology?" They also co-host a new podcast by the same name.

A Call to Consumers to Lead the Shift in Healthcare: Sharon Terry, Genetic Alliance

One of those attending the recent White House gathering where Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative was a woman who has worked tirelessly as a patient advocate for over twenty years. She’s an award winning scientist and the CEO of the Genetic Alliance: Sharon Terry joins us to kick off a new series, Personalized Medicine and the Consumerization of Healthcare.

Sharon was advocating for the sharing of patient data long before it became fashionable. Recently chairing the Institute of Medicine’s workshop and consensus study on data sharing and clinical trials, Sharon says that there has been a shift on the topic and that we are finally saying how do we share, not do we share.

“My desire is that we consumers—patients, participants, public—whatever word you want to use—that we understand how much power we have to shift the paradigm. Other industries have shifted—music, publishing, banking—because consumers demanded certain things,” she says in today’s interview. "I think we may have to be in the same position in health and medicine. It may have to come from us more than anywhere else. And then economies will be built around that sharing that right now don’t exist."

A Dangerous Book? Science Historian Nathaniel Comfort Discusses “A Troublesome Inheritance”

Guest:

Comfort, Nathaniel, PhD, Author, Professor, History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

Bio and Contact Info

Listen (4:20) Debate about race and genetics is really about social justice

Listen (2:32) The radical middle

Listen (4:45) How to define race when genetic variation is continuum

Listen (6:03) As a society are we trusting science more as the ultimate source of knowledge?

Listen (6:04) Does Wade's book help free scientists and clinicians?

Listen (2:04) On blogging

Is race biological, or is it a cultural construct?

This question lies at the heart of a debate sparked by this year’s publication of “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History.” Writing that race is biological, former New York Times science journalist, Nicholas Wade, ignited a furor in the life science community, with many scientists denouncing the book and the misrepresentation of their research. Science writer, David Dobbs, called it a “dangerous book.”

Joining us today to work through some of the tough questions in this debate is Nathaniel Comfort, a science historian at Johns Hopkins University. Comfort describes his position in the debate as the “radical middle”, accepting some of Wade’s arguments but insisting that science is always in a context, that it’s always political.

“The debate over race and genetics is really about social justice,” Comfort says in today’s show.

Comfort argues that Wade is not honest about the book’s agenda and uses science as a proxy argument for his own preconceptions. Comfort warns that genetic explanations, such as the one Wade makes for race, usually tend to reinforce the status quo.

So what about using race as phenotype for treating various diseases? For example, some racial groups are more likely to get certain diseases than other groups. Working at a major medical research facility, Comfort has the opportunity to talk to clinicians on a regular basis about whether, in today’s world of personalized medicine, race is still relevant as a phenotypic marker.

For more, visit Comfort’s blog on the topic.

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Are We Driving Innovation without the Quality? Pete Kissinger, Purdue

Guest:

Pete Kissinger, Chemist, Purdue University
Bio and Contact Info

Listen (4:43) Many problems in life science traced back to poor measurements

Listen (2:50) Innovation without quality

Listen (4:37) Metabolome closer to reality than genome

Listen (7:46) Too focused on questions of reimbursement and regulation

Listen (3:34) Smartphone bio sample collection not there yet

Listen (10:35) Does the new Emerald Cloud Lab have a future?

Pete Kissinger is one of those who can discuss just about any area in the life sciences, often with humor. Pete's a professor of analytical chemistry at Purdue and founder of a drug development company, Bioanalytical Systems.

When I first chatted with Pete, our discussion went to every corner of the industry and back again. If Pete were a football player, he'd be comfortable in any position from quarterback to front linesman to safety.
For today's show, Pete and I tried to stick to a common theme--the importance of quality measurements.

Pete ties many of the problems we have in the life sciences--issues of reproducibility, failed clinical trials, an over emphasis on genomics--to low quality measurements. When asked why that is, Pete turns to funding, arguing that we are prioritizing the new over the reproducible.

"Often there isn't the funding to validate sufficient numbers of samples . . . We fund innovative academic science. We don't fund the routine blocking and tackling required to get quality data from a sufficient number of subjects," he says in today's interview.

At the end, I ask Pete what he thinks about the new Emerald Cloud Lab, a remote lab offering basic biology experiments accessible to anyone through the cloud. Will this impact the integrity of the scientific method?

But often we get off track. Pete is too fun a guest not to loosen the reins a bit.

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Join Us Next Week for a Discussion about the Challenges of Data Visualization and Reporting in Genomic Medicine

Next Thursday, June 5th, Mendelspod teams up again with Chempetitive Group to bring you an evening of networking and a special panel discussion.

"Delivering Genomic Medicine: Challenges in Data Visualization and Reporting"

When:  Thursday, June 5th

   Networking:  5 30 pm

   Panel Discussion:  6 15 pm

Where:  Omicia Inc, 1625 Clay St, Oakland, CA  94612

Why Scientists Should Study Philosophy

Since the first human genome was sequenced, there has been disappointment in and with the life science community over the fact that we haven’t figured out more of the big biology problems.  Cancer, for instance.  Oh, there’s been rapid technological progress.  Illumina announced this year that the human genome that cost $3 billion to sequence originally can now be done for the cost of a root canal, or $1,000.  

So why the disappointment?  Why were scientific expectations so high?  

Stalking the Fourth Domain with Jonathan Eisen, Ph D

Podcast Sponsors: IDT - Free Guide to Mutagenesis

MOBIO Laboratories - Makers of PowerBioFilm

Guest: Jonathan Eisen, Ph D, UC Davis Genome Center, Bio and Contact Info

Today we have a special show. In our first video production, we’re coming to you from the UC Davis Genome Center where we’re joined by evolutionary biologist, Dr. Jonathan Esien. Jonathan and his lab here are becoming better known since the release of a paper in February which suggested evidence of a fourth domain to the basic tree of life. What do we mean by 4th domain? We’ll be asking Jonathan that soon. He is this year’s recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award, and we’re pleased he had us to his lab.



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