Brenda Andrews – Mapping the Wiring Diagram of Cellular Life

bj-andrews-sm“Mapping the Wiring Diagram of Cellular Life”
Brenda Andrews, University of Toronto

Friday, August 4, 2017, 8 – 9pm
Lillie Auditorium
Lectures are free and open to the public.
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INTRODUCER: Kristen Gribble, Assistant Scientist, Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, MBL

Lecture Abstract:

Over the past few years, analysis of genome sequences from many thousands of people has allowed scientists to catalogue the astonishing breadth of variation between individual genomes. In theory, we should now be able to identify all specific differences in DNA sequence that lead to inherited traits, including disease. However, the wealth of genomics data has revealed a deep void in our knowledge – while we understand that most diseases are influenced by genetic variation, we do not yet know how to properly interpret personal genome sequences. Scientists have coined the term ‘missing heritability’ to describe this challenge. In this talk, I will discuss our emerging understanding of how genetic variants interact to produce a complex ‘wiring’ diagram, which can be subverted in a variety of ways to cause disease. I will describe ongoing work aimed at contributing to the leap in our understanding of human genetics that will be required for us to realize the promise of personalized medicine.

Dr. Brenda Andrews
is the Charles H Best Chair of Medical Research, Director of the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, and University Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. She obtained her BSc and PhD from the University of Toronto, then studied at the University of California, San Francisco before returning to Toronto to start her own lab in the Department of Medical Genetics (now Molecular Genetics). She became Chair of the Department in 1999, a position she held for 5 years before assuming her position as inaugural Director of the Donnelly Centre, an interdisciplinary research facility designed to promote collaborative research at the forefront of biomedicine. Dr. Andrews was recently named a Companion of the Order of Canada for her “globally significant research in systems biology and for developing and nurturing prominent scientific communities in molecular genetics”. Dr. Andrews is also an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology. She was inaugural Director of the Genetic Networks program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and remains a Senior Fellow.