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The Genetics Podcast
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The Genetics Podcast

Author: Sano Genetics

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Exploring all things genetics. Cambridge University Alumnus and current CEO of Sano Genetics Dr Patrick Short analyses the science, interviews the experts and helps share the stories of people who have been personally affected by genetic conditions. To take part in the latest research studies mentioned in this podcast please visit
61 Episodes
On this episode of the podcast, Patrick is joined by Josh Friedman, Senior Director of Research at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Alnylam works on the discovery and development of RNA interference therapeutics; treatments for genetic diseases which work by ‘switching off’ the specific genes associated with a given condition. In this fifth episode of our precision pioneers miniseries, we explore how RNA interference can be applied to treat common and rare genetic diseases, and dive deep into the genetics of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and NASH.
On this episode of the podcast Patrick is joined by Robert Green, a geneticist, Professor of Medicine at Harvard, and Director of the Preventive Genomics Clinic at Brigham Health, whose work centers around accelerating evidence based implementation of genomic medicine. Through the Genomes2People ( research programme, Robert has led numerous randomised control trials of genetic sequencing in adults and newborns. Patrick and Robert discuss topics including testing for common complex disease risks in healthy adults, genetic testing for newborns, and what major barriers need to be overcome to realise the full potential of personalised medicine.
Continuing with our mini series of Precision Pioneers, Patrick is joined by Phil Vickers, President and CEO at Faze Medicines. Phil discusses his career, including his time with companies such as Merck and Shire Pharmaceuticals. Topics discussed include: * The differences between drug development in common and rare disease * The unique and patient-centric approach to rare disease research at Shire * How genomics has impacted drug development in the past 20 years * How to balance affordability of new medicines with company profitability and continued R&D investment * The role of 'platforms' in drug development, including both technology platforms and 'knowledge' platforms
This week Patrick talks to Nihar Bhakta as part of our series of ‘Precision Pioneers’. Dr Bhakta is the Chief Medical Officer at Aristea Therapeutics, a clinical-stage drug development company developing novel therapies to treat serious inflammatory diseases. Dr Bhakta specialises in precision medicine and in this episode they focus on his work developing precision medicines for both common and rare diseases. This is the second episode in a mini-series on ‘Precision Pioneers’ - stay tuned for more episodes in this area and find previous episodes by searching for The Genetics Podcast on any podcast provider.
This week Patrick is joined by Dr Kaja Wasik, CSO and co-founder of Variant Bio. Prior to Variant Bio, Kaja co-founded Gencove, a spin-out from the New York Genome Center and an innovator in low-pass whole genome sequencing and imputation. In this episode Patrick and Kaja discuss Variant Bio's approach to using human genetic data for novel drug development and their model for engaging deeply with communities who donate genetic samples and offer a share in the companies revenues. This is the first episode in a mini-series on 'Precision Pioneers' - stay tuned for more episodes in this area.
On this episode, Patrick is joined by Jason Mellad, CEO and Co-Founder at Start Codon, a healthcare startup accelerator that helps develop healthcare startups. Patrick and Jason discuss how Start Codon identifies new technologies and businesses that have a potential to make an impact, Jason's approach to mentorship, diversity and inclusion, and even The LAB, a science-themed cocktail bar in Cambridge that Jason co-owns.
This week we talk to ‘The Girl With MS’, Caroline Craven. A Multiple Sclerosis patient advocate, Caroline has written thousands of blog posts about her journey with the condition to help others manage MS as well. They discuss options for treatment, what it’s like being a patient advocate in this space for over 10 years, and the importance of a good neurologist.
In this episode of the Genetics Podcast we’re joined by Daniel Barvin, an ALS advocate whose family is affected by Familial ALS. Daniel has a genetic variant in the gene called C9orf72 that predisposes him to develop this neurodegenerative disease, and he talks about his experience getting genetic testing and decision with his wife to undergo IVF and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to ensure that their child did not inherit the genetic variant. Daniel joins Patrick to discuss the lack of availability of genetic testing in ALS, how to make genetic testing more accessible, breaking down stigmas in hereditary disease, and his work with the non-profit 'I AM ALS’. Patrick also mentions the upcoming Festival Genomics with over 100 great speakers. You can find out more here:
This first episode of 2021 sees host Patrick Short talk to three insightful guests about their predictions for research and medicine in the year ahead. In this compilation episode, Patrick talks to Jane Theaker, Phillip Beer and Jason Mellad, each experts in their field. Our guests are: Jane Theaker, the CEO of Kinomica Limited, a company at the fore of precision medicine that’s providing disruptive cell signalling technology. Jason Mellad, the CEO and Co-Founder of Start Codon a healthcare accelerator working to seed-fund truly disruptive healthcare start ups. Our final guest is Phillip Beer, a Physician scientist with expertise in clinical cancer genomics, early phase therapeutic development and biomarker discovery. Holds leadership roles in the commercial, healthcare and academic sectors.
On this episode of the podcast Patrick is joined by returning guest Dr Jeff Barrett. Jeff is the the lead statistical geneticist for The COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK). Patrick and Jeff discuss COG-UK's sequencing operation that is tracking viral spread around the UK, how to identify super spreader events from virus data, what is known about re-infection from COVID19, and results from the vaccine trials and what the next year may hold.
On this episode of the podcast Patrick is joined by Dr Jennifer Vena the Scientific Director of Alberta’s Tomorrow Project. Although Jennifer joined ‘ATP’ in 2018, the project itself has been running for over twenty years with research plans that extend through the next fifty years. Patrick and Jennifer discuss the history of the ‘ATP’, its goals for the future, and the role Covid will continue to play including with research studies that are not directly associated with the disease.
Dr Barry Singer is a neurologist who specialises in multiple sclerosis, he is also the host of MS Living Well, a podcast that deals with living with multiple sclerosis. In 2007 Dr Singer created the website MS living well as a resource centre for patients looking to find information about the disease. In this episode, Patrick and Dr Singer talk about how advancements in technology have not only produced advancements from a scientific perspective but also in the doctor patient relationship. For example, Dr Singer reaches thousands of patients through his website, blog, and podcasts providing high-quality information to everyone, regardless of whether they live near a specialist center. Dr Singer also uses voice-to-text technology in his appointments, leaving him free to speak with his patients rather than typing on a keyboard the whole time. From the genetics of MS to trying to understand why women are affected more by auto-immune diseases, this episode draws on Dr Singer’s experience in the field.
Patrick interviews Dr Daphne Martschenko, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University. Daphne’s work has focused on genomics and the American education system. She has published extensively in scholarly journals and mainstream outlets on the topic of education inequity, particularly among young people of color. Patrick and Daphne discuss the history of IQ testing, how genome-wide association analysis and polygenic risk scores are being applied to education, and the ethical issues surrounding gene editing technologies.
Seb Tucknott is an author and patient advocate who was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2008. In 2015 he founded IBD relief, an online community of others with the condition that also provides resources. Seb joins the podcast to discuss how to view the healthcare system from an outsider's perspective, making lifestyle changes, and his 2019 book 'Tipping the Balance'.
Chief Executive Officer of Health Data Research UK Caroline Cake joins Patrick to talk about accelerating medical research through health data science. The two discuss the potential for research and innovation as well as the complexities of issues like patient privacy. Caroline gives Patrick some insight into the history and goals of HDR UK, one of the world’s top institutions for health data science.
Kat Arney returns to the podcast to discuss her new book ‘Rebel Cell’, which takes an evolutionary look at cancer. Kat talks about the book beginning as an idea while working on her PhD at Cancer Research UK to spending the last few years researching, conducting interviews and undertaking the book writing process. Patrick and Kat also discuss the narrative of a ‘war on cancer’ and the messaging of ‘beating cancer’ rather than managing it. You can find more information about 'Rebel Cell' and buy it here:
This week we talk to Steff Di Pardo, a patient advocate and writer who has Ankylosing Spondylitis - which is a chronic autoimmune disease. She talks about the long road to diagnosis, how she started opening up about her condition to friends and family on Facebook, and her decision to bring her refreshing honesty to a wider audience with her blog, Totally Chronic. Steff Di Pardo opens up about her experiences with how her chronic condition has impacted her mental health, being a part of online support networks (on platforms like Instagram) and her new book ‘Just Breathe’ which features short essays on living with a chronic condition.
We talk to Peter about Nightingale Health's work with the UK Biobank, including recent research that shows their blood test could be used predict severe COVID19 well before onset of symptoms. The company's vision includes not just population-scale research like the UKBiobank, but creating a system that is focused on prevention and early detection rather than treatment.
Sonya Abraham is a clinical senior lecturer in rheumatology and a research physician at Imperial College London. We talk to her about BAME representation in clinical research and about her rheumatology research, including the role of the microbiome, and what COVID19 researchers can learn from existing rheumatology research. We talk about why diversity is important in clinical trials, and the COVID19 pandemic's impact in the BAME community. We also discuss with Sonya how people with immune conditions, like Ankylosing Spondylitis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and others are at greater risk from COVID19, and uncertainties around the impact of common drugs on COVID19 severity. Finally, we discuss why drugs that were originally used in rheumatology are now providing effective for COVID19 treatment.
Tapoka Mkandawire is a PhD student in parasitology & genomics at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. She studies neglected tropical diseases, which affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide but aren't that well known in the UK. Tapoka talks about what’s causing the reducing rates of these diseases, and what role the gut microbiome plays in parasite life-cycle. From researchers who self-infect themselves with whipworms, to citizen science projects, and the crucial role the gut microbiome plays in everyone’s life.
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