The celebration kicks off with a seminar series that starts this month, followed by a day-long symposium in April and the opening of an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in June.
Six prominent biomedical researchers, including one Nobel laureate, will participate in a commemorative seminar series. In three 2-hour seminars—scheduled in February, March and May—pairs of speakers will focus on a key theme in genomics at Lipsett Amphitheater in Bldg. 10.
Above, from l: In three 2-hour seminars, pairs of speakers will focus on a current theme in genomics. The first paired talk, Conceptualization of the Human Genome Project and Development of Data Release Principles, features Dr. Robert Waterston of the University of Washington School of Medicine and Nobel laureate Sir John Sulston of the University of Manchester. The second paired lecture, Genomic Data Privacy and Risk, includes Dr. Isaac Kohane of Boston Children’s Hospital and Dr. George Church of Harvard Medical School.
The first set of paired lectures, Conceptualization of the Human Genome Project and Development of Data Release Principles, features Dr. Robert Waterston and Nobel laureate Sir John Sulston. It will take place on Feb. 14 from 9 to 11 a.m.
Waterston is professor and chair of the department of genome sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Sulston is chair of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. The two collaborated during the HGP on sequencing both the genome of the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, and the human genome. The worm genome sequence, published in 1998, was the first sequenced animal genome; the project demonstrated the feasibility of moving on to sequence the human genome.
The second set of paired lectures, Genomic Data Privacy and Risk, will be held on Mar. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. One speaker will be Dr. Isaac Kohane, chair of the informatics program at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is a pediatrician and a genetic epidemiologist who has implemented computer-based biomedical decision-support systems and has developed systems to protect the privacy of health information and automated personal health records. He will be joined by Dr. George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. For many years, Church has developed and advanced methods for sequencing genomes. He is also a leading voice in discussions about research interests and the privacy and protection of genomic information. He directs the Personal Genome Project, a study that is sequencing the genomes of thousands of volunteers and exploring the privacy risks for participants.
|The final paired lecture will feature Dr. Caryn Lerman (l) of the University of
Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and Dr. Alexandra Shields of the
Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital Center on Genomics, Vulnerable
Populations and Health Disparities.
The final set of paired lectures, Translating Pharmacogenetics Research to Practice: The Case Example of Smoking Cessation, is scheduled for May 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. The two speakers will be Dr. Caryn Lerman, professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, and Dr. Alexandra Shields, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School and director, Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations and Health Disparities.
Lerman studies the genetics of nicotine’s stimulant effect. Shields is a health policy expert who focuses on the challenges of clinical integration of genomics into clinical practice, particularly the impact of these challenges on minority and underserved populations. Both speakers will address the problems of nicotine addiction and the role that the drug plays in how individuals meet the challenge to stop smoking.
A commemorative all-day symposium, planned for Apr. 25 in Kirschstein Auditorium, Natcher Conference Center, will feature a group of speakers. The event, The Genomics Landscape a Decade after the Human Genome Project, will look at the accomplishments of the decade with an eye to what is on the horizon. The date of the symposium is significant,
occurring in the month that the HGP was announced 10 years ago
and coinciding with the date 60 years ago when James Watson and Francis
Crick’s article describing DNA’s double-helical structure was published.
This year’s symposium is timed with both historic achievements in mind.
National DNA Day Student Observation
Select area high school students will learn about a number of prominent
areas of genomics during a day spent with NHGRI experts and staff of
the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The National DNA
Day event, planned for Apr. 19, will include museum tours, hands-on
activities, a scavenger hunt and an IMAX film.
“We are planning activities for DNA Day that will instill in these teens
a sense of wonder and interest in the field of genomics,” said Dr. Carla
Easter, deputy director of NHGRI’s Education and Community Involvement
In mid-June, the National Museum of Natural History in collaboration
with NHGRI will unveil a high-tech, high-intensity exhibition that celebrates
the 10th anniversary the HGP’s completion. The exhibition will be
organized around several themes including the genome and you, the natural
world and health and humanity. It will provide visitors with new ways
to look at themselves as individuals, as members of a family and as a species
that is part of the diversity of life on the planet.
Visitors will also discover how scientists use genomics to establish links
between genes and specific diseases and traits as well as the latest advances
in genomic medicine, prenatal testing and genomically guided drug
therapy. The exhibition will attempt to dispel common misconceptions
about genetics and genomics and challenge visitors to think more deeply
about the complex ethical, legal, social and environmental issues raised by
“The completed sequence of the human genome gave us the first glimpse
of the massive instruction book that orchestrates all the complexities
of human biology,” said Green. “We want to help the public see how the
Human Genome Project has and will continue to expand our knowledge
of the human body in health and disease and in the biodiversity of the
More information about these 10th anniversary celebrations, including
the seminar series starting this month, can be found at www.genome.gov/HGP10.