David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Department of Human Genetics

Speaker Series - Fall Quarter 2017

Mondays, 11am - 12pm, Gonda Building First Floor Conference Room, 1357

Mon, Oct 09
Causes and Consequences of Human Genomic Variation
Sohini Ramachandran, PhD; Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Associate Professor of Computer Science; Director, Center for Computational Molecular Biology; Brown University
Contact & Intro: Jazlyn Mooney
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ABSTRACT: Determining the genomic elements underlying adaptive evolution and diseases in a species is essential for connecting genetic variation to phenotypes and fitness, but current statistical methods overlook the confounding effect population histories have on the identification and localization of adaptive and disease-associated mutations. I'll discuss two methods developed in my laboratory that (i) model the complex interaction between various modes of selection and population histories; and (ii) accurately identify and localize mutations, genes, and pathways underlying adaptive traits and disease for further experimental validation. These methods can be extended and applied to existing and emerging genome-wide polymorphism and next-generation sequencing datasets for humans and a range of other organisms. Our goal is to yield new insight into the interaction between selection and dynamic population histories in generating human genetic diversity and the human phenotype.

Tue, Nov 07
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 11:00am in Gonda Building First Floor Conference Room, 1357
100 million genomes or more. The opportunity and limitations of medical human genome sequencing
Ewan Birney, PhD, Director, European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)
Contact & Intro: Bogdan Pasaniuc x 53291
Thu, Nov 16
Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 10:00am in Gonda Building First Floor Conference Room, 1357
Shared risk factors for cardiovascular disease and dementia – epidemiologic, genetic and causal aspects
Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, MD, DMSc, PhD, Chief Physician, Clinical Research Associate Professor; Department of Clinical Biochemistry KB 3-01-1; Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen
Contact & Intro: Paivi Pajukanta x 72011
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ABSTRACT: Major contributors to morbidity and disability in aging populations are cardio- and cerebrovascular disease and dementia. These disease-entities are highly interrelated, however large fractions of the underlying pathogenesis are not well understood. Robust data on epidemiologic, genetic and causal associations will increase our understanding of the interrelationship between cardio- and cerebrovascular disease and dementia, and will have the potential to make the basis for targeted preventive strategies and treatment.

Mon, Nov 27
Causes and consequences of our gut microbial differences
Federico E. Rey, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Contact & Intro: Jake Lusis, PhD x 41706
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ABSTRACT: The microbial communities that inhabit our intestines exert profound influence on metabolism and metabolic diseases. Diet and host-derived factors modulate the composition of the gut microbiome, which in turn modifies the nutritional value of the food we consume, in part by generating bioactive molecules. I will discuss our efforts aimed at (i) identifyng enviromental and genetic determinants of gut microbiome composition and (ii) understanding how differences in microbiota composition affect metabolism of nutrients and health.

Mon, Dec 04
Methods for complex trait analysis of whole genome sequence data
Suzanne M. Leal, PhD, Professor; Director, Center for Statistical Genetics Department of Molecular and Human Genetics; Baylor College of Medicine
Contact & Intro: Rita Cantor x 72487
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ABSTRACT: Rare variant aggregate linkage and association methods and their application to the analysis of late-onset Alzheimer's Disease will be presented. The drawbacks and power issues for rare variant analysis will be elucidated. Lastly, SEQSpark a software which uses parallel processing to perform data quality control, annotation and analysis of large-scale genetic epidemiological studies will be discussed.

Mon, Jan 22
Epigenetics of cancer and aging – from mechanisms to therapies
Peter D. Adams, PhD, Professor, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, San Diego
Contact & Intro: Steve Horvath, x 59299
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ABSTRACT: My lab is interested in the intersection of epigenetics, cancer and aging, and addressing fundamental questions, such as “Why does the incidence of cancer increase with age and what is the role of an altered epigenome in this process?” We are also developing novel epigenetic combination therapies to combat cancer.

Mon, Feb 05
***LOCATION: Center for Health Sciences (CHS) Room 13-105
Mechanisms of longevity and cancer resistance in long-lived mammals
Vera Gorbunova, PhD, Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Biology Co-director Rochester Aging Research Center University of Rochester
Contact & Intro: Steve Horvath, x 59299
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ABSTRACT: Animals have evolved a dramatic diversity of aging rates. Even within mammals, lifespans differ over 50-fold from four years in a mouse to 211 years in a bowhead whale. This natural diversity of lifespan can be exploited to understand the mechanisms of longevity. My laboratory is focused on the studies of rodent species within this order show almost a 10-fold difference in lifespan, with the mouse living 3-4 years and the naked mole rat for over 30 years. Our goal is to identify mechanisms that allow such exceptionally long-lived animals to live long and healthy lives and then use these mechanisms to benefit human health.

Mon, Feb 26
***LOCATION: Neuroscience Research Building (NRB) Auditorium, Room 132
Regulation of gene expression in the 3D genome
Yin Shen, PhD, Assistant Professor, UCSF Institute for Human Genetics and Department of Neurology
Contact & Intro: Jake Lusis x 41706
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ABSTRACT: One of the most striking findings from the ENCODE annotation is that putative regulatory sequences harbor a disproportionally large number of sequence variants associated with diverse human traits and diseases, leading to the theory that genetic lesions in the regulatory elements can substantially contribute to common complex human diseases. However, research on the role of these putative functional elements in disease pathogenesis has been hindered by a lack of knowledge of their biological function in relevant cell types. I will discuss our approaches to functional characterize putative cis-regulatory elements and demystify how non-coding regulatory variants could contribute to human health and disease.

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