New center established to study human genome regulation

A $15 million grant was awarded by the National Human Genome Research Institute to establish the Center for the Personal Dynamic Regulomes at Stanford.

Howard Chang

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded $15 million to the School of Medicine to establish a Center of Excellence in Genomic Science.

The new center, called the Center for Personal Dynamic Regulomes, brings together an interdisciplinary team of Stanford researchers to create better ways of understanding genome regulation. Each gene has a system of switches that controls when and where a gene will turn on. The regulome is the complete set of switches for all genes.

“People have spent a lot of time making a catalog of sequences, or genetic variants, of genetic switches,” said Howard Chang, MD, PhD, professor of dermatology and principal investigator of the center. “When it comes to actually understanding them, to use them to address a biological problem or make a clinical decision, there’s a final gap that needs to be bridged.”

The center’s goal is to develop new technologies to pinpoint the relevant switches for disease-causing genes in real time using small, human clinical samples, equivalent to a standard blood draw.

Other Stanford investigators involved in the center include Will Greenleaf, PhD, assistant professor of genetics; Michael Snyder, MD, professor and chair of genetics; Wing Wong, PhD, professor of statistics and of health research and policy; and Alex Urban, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. 

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