Connecting the dots between academics and industry
" From Genomics to Precision Medicine "

The Mochtar Riady Institute for Nanotechnology (MRIN) held a public seminar on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022, in collaboration with Variant Bio, a biotechnology company based in Seattle, United States. This seminar, “Connecting the Dots Between Academics and Industry: From Genomics to Precision Medicine”, covered the topics about the current efforts for studying the genome diversity of Indonesian communities, the importance of community consultation and benefit sharing in population-based health research, and how a partnership with industry propels innovation towards the era of precision medicine. Variant Bio’s founders, Kaja Wasik, Ph.D., and Stephane Castel, Ph.D., gave the lectures along with MRIN’s senior researcher, Prof. Herawati Sudoyo, MD, Ph.D.

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This seminar emphasized precision medicine as the future of targeted health prevention, diagnostics, and treatments. Precision medicine can be achieved with the integration of Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS), Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS), multi-omics data, and clinical data of an individual. However, a global precision medicine model can only be actualized with an ethnically diverse global genome database that captures the genetic variations, population structure, and disease associations of different populations in the world. The main challenge with the current human genome database is that it is predominantly composed of individuals with European ancestry. Therefore, the Indonesian Genome Diversity Project (IGDP) aims to fill in those missing pieces in the global genome database by collecting the genomics data of Indonesia’s vastly varied ethnic populations. MRIN’s Genome Diversity and Diseases division (GDD) joined forces with Variant Bio to study Indonesia’s diverse ethnic populations. This partnership aspires to bolster a more comprehensive, multicultural human genome database of the global population towards the era of precision medicine. On top of that, all of the speakers insisted on the significance of collaboration, conducting studies that are ethical and provide benefit for the participating communities, as well as develop capacity of local researchers in Indonesia.

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