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Joint Research Seminar (1 Jun 2016)


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Joint Research Seminar

Strategic Research Theme on Genomics
Strategic Research Theme on Development and Reproduction
TRS programme: Functional genomics, genetic variation and skeletal disorders
School of Biomedical Sciences
Centre for Genomic Sciences

The Race to 1 Million Genomes: Adventures
in Large Scale Precision Medicine

Dr Barry Merriman
VP, Global Technology Assessment
Human Longevity, Inc

1 June 2016 (Wed)
11:00 – 12:00 noon

Lecture Theatre 2, G/F, William M W Mong Block
Faculty of Medicine Building, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong


Genome Sequencing is a cornerstone of the rapidly emerging area of Precision Medicine. Globally, national-scale efforts have put forth the goal of sequencing at the million-genome scale, and integrating this with other health data to develop a knowledgebase for Precision Medicine. Dr Craig Venter, who sequenced the first human genome in 2001, has recently launched a major private initiative at Human Longevity, Inc (HLI) to sequence 1 Million Genomes and realize Big Data driven Precision Medicine. In this talk, I will summarize these global efforts, as well as the status of the “$1000 genome” and sequencing technology. I will then focus on the work underway at HLI, including sequencing 25,000+ genomes at the largest genome sequencing facility in the world, and how this Big Data can provide new insights into the human genome. I will also show how we are integrating this data to realize a comprehensive vision for Precision Medicine and Precision Oncology.


Dr Merriman’s academic research has been focused in genomics, both sequencing technology development and applications to solving for the genetic causes of human disease. His work in industry has focused on developing advanced genome sequencing technology, and applying it in national scale genomic medicine projects. Currently, at Human Longevity, Inc, he is working on integrating genome sequencing with other health information technologies, for large-scale efforts to prevent the common diseases of aging, and he leads the program in cancer genome sequencing. Prior, from 2010—2014, at Life Technologies, Inc he was the Lead Architect of their Advanced Sequencing Technology program, and the Chief Science Officer of their Enterprise Genomics unit. This work included leading the development of the Ion Torrent semiconductor chip-based technology, the largest DNA sequencing technology development program in history, and leading the largest global and US efforts to deploy this technology for national-scale translational programs. Prior, from 1989—2010, he was a research professor in the departments of Math, Nuclear Engineering, and Human Genetics at UCLA, working across diverse areas of science and technology. Dr Merriman has recently been a visiting professor in Human Genetics at UCLA, and also at King Faisal Hospital Research Center in Saudi Arabia; he has over 95 scientific publications spanning the disciplines of math, computer science, physics, engineering, molecular biology and human genetics, with over 12,000 citations, and an H-index of 43. Dr Merriman has BS degrees in Math and Physics, University of Washington, Seattle (1984), and a PhD in Applied Math, University of Chicago (1989).