The Qatar Genome Programme (QGP) will host its inaugural ‘Handling Genomic Data Symposium’ in collaboration with Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) from 17th to 18th April.
This year’s symposium will bring together industry experts and renowned geneticists to discuss the clinical interpretation of genomic data, governance, and responsible sharing.
This symposium follows the 2014 Human Genomics and Personalised Medicine Conference, which provided a platform for over 150 scientists and researchers to exchange knowledge and expertise on the latest regional and global genome programmes as well as discuss the ethical, social, and legal implications of the development of genome programmes.
Genomics is a rapidly developing branch of research on the study of the structure and function of our genomes. The QGP aims to establish a reference genome map for the local population, where unique features of a person’s genetic makeup are identified and analysed.
Dr Asmaa Al Thani, Chairperson of the Qatar Genome Committee, said: “The Qatar Genome Programme has made great strides in the recent launch of its pilot phase, an initiative which draws on the collective efforts of the biomedical research community in Qatar to provide an integrated collaborative work environment.”
“The study of genomics will give our community easy access to personalised healthcare at a reasonable cost. The time has come to shift our focus from research to implementation,” she added.
Dr Rashid Al Ali, a member of the Qatar Genome Committee and Deputy Chief Research Officer at Sidra, commented: “The QGP is a landmark for the future of science in Qatar and a gateway to nationwide personalised medicine. At Sidra, we have been very privileged to take part in sequencing the thousands of subjects involved, as well as storing the data and building analytical tools to allow bioinformatics analysis by scientists.”
He added: “At Sidra, we have state-of-the-art infrastructure and an integrated informatics platform to foster scientific and clinical research both internally and nationwide. To support this vision, we are organising this vibrant forum to discuss key challenges and opportunities for the productive sharing and governance of genetic and clinical data. We believe that sharing this data should be in a secure and responsible manner, respecting patient autonomy and privacy whilst unlocking discovery and allowing for scientific growth.”
The Qatar Genome Programme supports Qatar Foundation’s mission to enhance national innovation and technology through medical research regarding prevalent health issues in Qatar.
Managed by the Qatar Genome Committee and incubated by Qatar Biobank, the Qatar Genome Programme uses a collection of samples and information from Qatar Biobank contributors to identify individual genome coding.
For more information on how to register to attend, please visit: http://www.qatarbiobank.org.qa/qatar-genome/symposium/registration