Systems Genetics and Precision Health at the Steinmetz Lab
One of the most daunting obstacles in biomedicine is the complex nature of most phenotypes (including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of rare disease) due to interactions between multiple genetic variants and environmental influences. A central challenge is to understand how genetic (e.g. SNPs and indels) and environmental (e.g. drug) perturbations affect health, wellness and disease. Our research is directed at understanding such complex traits; to do so, we develop novel genomic approaches to investigate the molecular processes that link genotype to phenotype, identify the causal underlying factors, and quantify their contributions. We investigate inter-individual variation at the level of the genome, transcriptome, and proteome, which we integrate with higher-level phenotypes. We also use the resulting molecular networks to predict and evaluate intervention points that enable modulation of phenotype.
We place a strong emphasis on the development of new technologies, leveraging the Stanford Genome Technology Center’s strengths in this area. Some engineering applications we aim to develop include novel biosensors for detection of minute quantities of biological material, and single-cell approaches to investigate genome and transcriptome complexity. Through developing such technologies, we will work with the Center to reduce the cost and increase the accuracy and throughput of biomedical research and health care. Ultimately, we strive to develop approaches that will enable personalized, preventative medicine.
A description of our current projects can be found here.
Pictures: Copyright EMBL, Credits Petra Riedinger, 1. EMBL Conference Omics and Personalized Health