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It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Iowa Institute of Human Genetics (IIHG).
Exponential growth in human genetics research is driving the ever-increasing application of genetics in day-to-day medical practice and making personalized genomic medicine – or precision medicine - possible. Certainly, the unique environment of the IIHG at the University of Iowa provides unprecedented opportunities to make progress in the discovery and translational phases of human genetics, and in so doing, to improve clinical care at UIHC.
The IIHG is also focal point for the vast array of talent at our institution and throughout the state. By integrating state-wide activities in human genetics, we are able to promote clinical care, research and education focused on the medical and scientific significance of variation in the human genome. For example, although we were only recognized by the Iowa State Board of Regents in August, 2012, we have made important progress in multiple areas. The Clinical Division of the IIHG has developed and established the infrastructure for pharmacogenomic testing of Plavix and is now expanding the testing platform to increase its utility. The Research Division has developed two targeted disease panels, a research exome program, and a bioinformatics pipeline for both clinical and research use. We are currently expanding the pipeline to increase functionality by including haplotype reconstruction. In parallel with the generation of genomic data, we are developing robust phenome-genome integration protocols to enhance our ability to mine genomic data and evaluate identified variations for possible phenotypic relevance.
All of these efforts require focused educational outreach – for healthcare providers, patients and the general public. For healthcare providers we offer the Clinician-identified Exome Analysis for Rare Diseases (EARD) program, an annual bioinformatics short course, the IIHG seminar series, and a pilot grant program that supports human genetic research. For patients and the general public, we have developed a number of educational brochures and we offer mini-medical school lectures and career days in human genetics. Undergraduates can participate in the IIHG summer internship program in genetic counseling and bioinformatics, and in the summer course in human genetics.
The theme of innovation is integral to all of our work and we reach an international constituency through our activities. Our IIHG map shows all of our interactions with worldwide partners.
As a resource, the IIHG is open to all faculty, trainees, and staff in the University of Iowa’s 11 Colleges, as well as Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. Please visit our website to learn more about our goals, programs and services, and let us know how we can be of help to you.
Best, Richard Smith Director
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