DNAdigest interviews Genomic Medicine Alliance – Part 1

As the year goes over, so does our full schedule with interviews. This week, we would like to introduce you to Professor George P. Patrinos. As a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Genomic Medicine Alliance (GMA) he introduced us to the background and workings of the GMA.

Genomic Medicine Alliance

1. Could you please give us a short introduction to the Genomic Medicine Alliance (goals, interests, mission)?

The Genomic Medicine Alliance (GMA) is a global academic research network. It aims to build and strengthen collaborative ties between academics, researchers, regulators and those members of the general public who are interested in genomic medicine. The GMA focuses particularly on the translation of new research findings into clinical practice in developed, but most importantly, in developing countries.
The GMA aims to:

  • Encourage and catalyze multidisciplinary collaborative research between partner institutions and scientists, particularly from developing countries,
  • Liaise between research organizations, clinical entities and regulatory agencies in areas related to genomic medicine,
  • Facilitate the introduction of pharmacogenomics and advanced omics technologies into mainstream clinical practice,
  • Propose guidelines and draw up recommendations in all areas pertaining to genomic medicine, in close collaboration with other scientific academic entities, agencies and regulatory bodies, and,
  • Develop independently and coordinate, in close collaboration with partner institutions, educational activities in the area of genomic medicine.

The main goal of the GMA is to encourage stronger collaboration between genomics research in developed and developing/low resourced countries. Such a strengthening of collaboration is likely to create benefits for all parties. Developing countries will undoubtedly benefit from training opportunities, knowledge exchange, and expanding transnational networks. Developed countries are likely to benefit through comparative work on families with rare diseases or unique clinical features. Further, a key requirement for the global success of GMA will be to prepare the path from genomics research to Genomic Medicine, by encouraging and undertaking multicenter research projects in key sub-disciplines. To this end, GMA activities aim to contribute to the transition from genomics and pharmacogenomics research to Genomic Medicine, namely Public Health Genomics, Ethics in Genomics (or ‘genethics’), Genome Informatics, the genetics education of healthcare professionals, genetics awareness of general public and health economic evaluation in relation to genomic medicine.
GMA research activities are accompanied by an International Scientific Advisory Committee comprising 16 internationally renowned scientists in the field, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and the United States. Administrative assistance is provided by the Golden Helix Foundation (a registered UK Charity) staff.

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2. Would you let our audience know how can one become a member of the GMA community?

Registration with the GMA is free-of-charge, to encourage the participation of researchers from developing and low-income countries. Upon registration, members specify their research interests so that they can be directed to research projects and training opportunities that suit their needs. So far, the GMA membership includes more than 350 junior colleagues and senior scientists from more than 70 countries worldwide.

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3. What are the benefits of joining the Alliance?

The GMA consists of a wide membership basis from graduate students to senior faculty members, healthcare professionals working in the biotech sector and regulators. By joining the GMA, one has access to a broad network of scientists with research interests in Genomic Medicine. Also, young researchers can be informed about various training opportunities in collaborating laboratories and Institutes, such as short-term visits, new training positions (e.g. PhD, post-doc, etc), job announcements, while members are informed about educational activities and scientific meetings organized by GMA members. As such, young researchers, particularly from developing countries, have the opportunity to devote part of their training in a research Center of Excellence abroad, hence expanding their knowledge and/or technical skills, gaining experience and catalyzing knowledge transfer back to their countries. Also, the affiliation with Public Health Genomics, the official journal of GMA, offers additional benefits to GMA members, such as significant discounts not only to the journal’s subscription and open access fees but also to Karger’s books.

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This is a Part 1 of two part interview!

If you would like to read more about Genomic Medicine Alliance activities follow us on Twitter (@DNAdigest), Facebook and Google+ or sign up for our newsletter and be the first one to know when Part 2 is published.

Are you part of a project that facilitates data sharing for genomics research? Would you like to be featured on our blog? We would love to hear from you. Drop us an email at info@dnadigest.org or use our contact page to get in touch.

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