The mission of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute is to promote genomic discovery and advance understanding of the human genome. Application of new discoveries will ultimately translate into improved patient care through better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human disease.
The Vanderbilt Genetics Institute (VGI) was established in January 2015 to foster scientific interactions at the clinical, molecular, and analytical levels by providing state-of-the-art resources to Vanderbilt scientists involved in genetic and genomic research. In essence, the VGI serves as the hub around which the highest caliber genomic scientists, staff, and trainees coalesce to collaborate, interact, and exchange ideas. The major goals of the VGI are to
- encourage innovative, multi-disciplinary collaborations and enhance current research efforts that either focus on genomic science or would benefit significantly from the addition of a genetic component;
- leverage existing resources and expertise at Vanderbilt to develop a world-class program that continues to attract the highest caliber of faculty, staff, and trainees working in genomic science;
- provide support and infrastructure for implementing emerging technologies and novel discoveries at the cutting edge of genomic science;
- create and sustain a continuous pipeline of investigators by training the next generation of genomic scientists.
The VGI founding Director, Dr. Nancy Cox, was recruited to lead the VGI initiative in early 2015. Dr. Cox is a quantitative human geneticist with a long-standing research program in identifying and characterizing the genetic component of common human diseases. Her current research is focused on large-scale integration of genomics with other “-omics” data, as well as biobank and electronic medical records data. The unparalleled resources at Vanderbilt provide the optimal foundation for advancing this work.
Researchers in the VGI are working to decipher the genetic basis of both rare and common human traits by adapting traditional genetics approaches to establish new paradigms for genomic science. These new paradigms will enable widespread application of novel findings to precision medicine and personalized healthcare.
By developing and applying state-of-the-art methods to a large and diverse set of traits implicated in disease – neurological, cardiovascular, ophthalmological, endocrine, and cancer – our efforts to probe the complexities of the human genome will translate into increasingly straightforward medical determinations and clinical decision-making tailored to the individual patient and his/her subset of unique genetic predictors, thus optimizing the effectiveness of disease treatment and prevention. Using genomic information to predict a patient’s response to treatment is the future of therapeutic intervention, and the VGI is uniquely positioned to lead the way.