Prestigious human genome conference comes to Abertay
A prestigious biotechnology conference about advances in sequencing the human genome will be held at Abertay University this Wednesday and Thursday (May 7 and 8).
'Exomes, Genomes and Transcriptomes in Clinical Diagnostics' will see experts from the Universities of Cambridge, Milan, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Southampton, Dundee and Abertay gather to exchange ideas about - and discuss novel applications for - Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).
NGS is a new technology that is being used to investigate, diagnose and develop treatments for human diseases, such as cancer.
Its application enables scientists to understand the mechanisms that underlie specific cancers, makes it possible for them to identify new biomarkers and drug targets, and it is even being used to design personalised therapies.
Abertay has world-class expertise in Medical Biotechnology and Cancer Systems Biology, where NGS is of particular importance in research.
Professor Nikolai Zhelev from Abertay University - Chair of the conference’s organising committee - explains NGS’s significance:
"Back in 2003 when the first human genome was published, it had taken 10 years to sequence it and an additional three years to finish the analysis, at a cost of almost $3 billion.
"With NGS, researchers can now sequence more than five human genomes simultaneously in just one week, at a cost of less than $5,000 per genome.
"This quick turn around is fantastic because it means we can now compare thousands of genes to identify the mutations that cause diseases in humans, and also investigate ways to stop these mutations in their tracks. For example, at Abertay, we are part of a European consortium which aims to develop new non-invasive breast cancer detection methods through the analysis of a large number of micro RNAs present in the serum of patients in order to identify cancer signatures.
"So there are exciting times ahead for this technology and we are delighted to be hosting this conference here at Abertay, where we will hear from both those carrying out research within academia and from those working in clinical genetics labs that provide diagnostic services to patients."
The conference will take place in the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University on May 7 and May 8.
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