#150 Euan Ashley and Stephen Quake on The Genome Odyssey


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This marks the 150th episode of DNA Today! Our guests to celebrate this landmark episode of DNA Today are Dr. Euan Ashley, a medical geneticist and cardiologist. And Dr. Stephen Quake, a physics professor, bioengineer and pioneer in microfluidics.

A Scotland native, Dr. Euan Ashley graduated with degrees in Physiology and Medicine from the University of Glasgow. He completed medical residency and a PhD in molecular physiology at the University of Oxford before moving to Stanford University where he trained in cardiology and advanced heart failure, joining the faculty in 2006. In 2010, he led the team that carried out the first clinical interpretation of a human genome. The paper published in the Lancet was the focus of over 300 news stories, and became one of the most cited articles in clinical medicine that year. The team extended the approach in 2011 to a family of four and now routinely applies genome sequencing to the diagnosis of patients at Stanford hospital where Dr. Ashley directs the Clinical Genome Service and the Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease. In 2014, Dr Ashley became co-chair of the steering committee of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network.

Stephen Quake is a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Stanford University and is co-President of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. He holds a B.S. in Physics and M.S. in Mathematics from Stanford University and a doctorate in Theoretical Physics from the University of Oxford. Dr. Quake has invented many measurement tools for biology, including new DNA sequencing technologies that have enabled rapid analysis of the human genome and microfluidic automation that allows scientists to efficiently isolate individual cells and decipher their genetic code. Dr. Quake is also well known for inventing new diagnostic tools, including the first non-invasive prenatal test for Down syndrome and other aneuploidies. His test is rapidly replacing risky invasive approaches such as amniocentesis, and millions of women each year now benefit from this approach. He was also the fifth person in the world to have their genome sequences and his genome was the subject of clinical annotation by a large team at Stanford Hospital led by Dr. Ashley.

On This Episode We Discuss:

The first clinical interpretation of a human genome

Genome sequencing technologies

The cost of sequencing a genome

Understanding the genomic code

The future of precision medicine

Dr. Ashley’s book, The Genome Odyssey

Want to read the Genome Odyssey? Enter to win your own copy! Head over to our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to enter to win a free book!

Be sure to follow Dr. Ashley and Dr. Quake on Twitter!

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Want to become a genetic counselor? Looking for ways to engage with the field and boost your resume for grad school applications? Then you should check out Sarah Lawrence’s “Why Genetic Counseling Wednesday Summer Series”! Every Wednesday this June Sarah Lawrence is hosting this series where you can interact through Zoom with genetic counselors from different specialties for an hour and a half. You can sign up at SLC.edu/DNAtoday to register to level up your resume for applications in the fall.

Stay tuned for the next new episode of DNA Today on July 2nd, 2021! We’ll be joined by Dr. Richard Michelmore and Dr. Brad Pollock who will be discussing COVID-19 variants. New episodes are released on the first and third Friday of the month. In the meantime, you can binge over 150 other episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, streaming on the website, or any other podcast player by searching, “DNA Today”. All episodes in 2021 are also recorded with video which you can watch on our YouTube channel.

See what else we are up to on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and our website, DNApodcast.com. Questions/inquiries can be sent to info@DNApodcast.com.

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