Ep.15: Genetics, Genomics, and Big Data in Medicine with Eric Schadt


Episode Summary for Genetics, Genomics, and Big Data in Medicine

In this episode of Hidden Forces, host Demetri Kofinas speaks with Dr. Eric Schadt. Eric Schadt is founder and CEO of Sema4, as well as Dean of Precision Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. During the course of his 20-year career, Dr. Eric Schadt has built genetics and systems biology groups at Merck. He built the computational biology group at Rosetta. He has served as co-founder of Sage Bionetworks and as Chief Science Officer of Pacific Biosciences. He now serves as the founder and CEO of Sema4. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals, and he has contributed to a number of discoveries relating to the genetic basis of common human diseases such as diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s.

In this episode, we explore the information technology of biology: DNA. In other words, we explore the world of genomics. This is where big data looms large. We begin by mapping the territory of the human genome and exploring the pathways of disease. We look to understand the ways in which complex genetic combinations express themselves as phenotypes such as height, bone structure, intelligence, and personality. How are these traits coded for? What are the instructions our body uses to repair a damaged cell? What blueprint does it consult before trying to grow new arteries? How does it know to regulate our appetite or when start us down the path of puberty? What happens when these instructions are damaged? How can the smallest difference in the order of life’s code make all the difference for our success, our happiness, and even our survival?

50 years have passed, between the discovery of the double-helix and the mapping of the first human genome. What progress have we made in the 15 years since? How has our ability to sequence new genomes created a paradigm shift in medicine? What is the role of big data and artificial intelligence in finding the correlations needed in order to treat malignancies and prevent diseases? What is the promise of genomics? What are the perils of big data in medicine? And what stands in the way of us and this incredible future of human genetics?

Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @hiddenforcespod

Reading List for Genetics, Genomics, and Big Data in Medicine

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Machinery of Life by David S. Goodsell
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes from an Uncertain Science by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter
A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life by J. Craig Venter
Epigenetics: The Death of the Genetic Theory of Disease Transmission by Joel D. Wallach D.V.M, Ma Lan M.D., Gerhard N. Schrauzer Ph.D.
The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carey
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane
Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity, One Gene at a Time by Juan Enriquez
Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves by George M. Church
Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech (Synthesis) by Sally Smith Hughes
Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things by M.R. O’Connor
How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction by Beth Shapiro
The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human by Adam Piore
The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids by Bonnie Rochman
A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg