Iowa Institute of Human Genetics

A new institute

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The Iowa Institute of Human Genetics (IIHG) is a statewide resource to promote clinical care, research, and education that focuses on the medical and scientific advances around the human genome. Established in August 2012, we seek to integrate activities in human genetics through multi-disciplinary research, education, and clinical care that is focused on the medical and scientific significance of variations in the human genome.

The University of Iowa is home to landmark research in human genetics, crossing boundaries between divisions, departments, and colleges. At the University of Iowa, human genetics research is furthered in the Carver College of Medicine, as well as the colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Education, Law, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Dentistry.

Advances in genomic medicine, coupled with those in computational biology and informatics, are pushing personalized medicine to the mainstream. The IIHG seeks to advance these findings by expanding the area of human genetics as applied to personalized medicine by integrating genome-driven advances with large-scale analytic platforms, computational biology, and informatics.

The IIHG promotes research into inherited and acquired variations in genome sequences, as well as methods to change or add DNA sequences to human cells for therapeutic purposes (‘gene therapy’). We are a state-wide resource for outreach about issues related to understanding the extent and meaning of human DNA sequence variation. The IIHG supports and contributes to these goals by sponsoring pilot grants, symposia and workshops, teaching classes, and advising staff who run core facilities or control resources that are integral to human genetics research.

The IIHG builds on existing strengths in genetics, research on human genetics and human genome, and the integration into clinical medicine by blending the research strengths of the University of Iowa with the clinical strengths of Carver College of Medicine and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. By providing scientists and clinicians with a state-of-the-art, high-throughput genetic analysis facility we seek to support research and clinical activities focused on human genetics and personalized genomic medicine. Our expertise and resources allow us to coordinate large-scale gene discovery, targeted gene-based and disease-based clinical diagnostics to improve disease-specific treatment and pharmacogenomic-based prescribing to optimize drug-patient outcomes.

With the growth of personalized medicine, students must understand how law, communications, risk assessment and public policy impact prevention and treatment of common disease. Second, genetics plays a unique role in our knowledge and practice of public health and clinical care. Third, the IIHG will be integral to the healthy life initiative for Iowans by promoting the use of personalized genomic medicine for more effective and personalized care.