FEB 22, 2017 10:30 AM PST

Beyond the hype: the evidence behind the role of genetics in drug response

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  • Head, Genetics at GlaxoSmithKline
      Matt Nelson is the head of Genetics at GSK, working in Philadelphia, PA, leading a group of scientists to bring genetic evidence into both drug discovery and drug development decisions. Research activities of interest include investigating the role of growing body genome-wide association studies to inform drug target selection and validation, improving pharmacogenetics experiment design and developing methods and strategies for drawing inferences from both small- and large-scale genetic association studies. Other recent activities include analysis of deep resequence data for target validation, development of the POPRES genetic resource for pharmacogenetics research and co-chair of the scientific management committee of the cross-industry International Serious Adverse Event Consortium (iSAEC). Matt's path to research in the pharmaceutical industry began at the University of Michigan, where he received degrees in statistics and human genetics with an emphasis on novel combinatorial strategies for identifying gene-by-gene interaction. Upon graduation, he worked with start-up biopharmaceutical company Esperion Therapeutics for three years. At Esperion, his activities included cheminformatics, preclinical and clinical study design and analysis, development of online analysis and reporting tools, and leading the information systems group. Matt joined Sequenom, a San Diego-based biotechnology company, in early 2002 as director of biostatistics, where he was involved in some of the earliest attempts at genome-wide association studies. Matt has been with GSK since 2005 with prior roles as researcher and head of Statistical Genetics.


    Much has been made in the popular press about importance of our "genes" in everything from our weight, intelligence, and our risk of disease.  While there is a scientific basis for many of these claims, the truth is generally far more nuanced and the medical implications far less obvious than the headlines, or even the back page story details, tend to acknowledge.  This holds true for the genetics of drug response.  That is, how our genes impact how well we respond to a particular drug, or how likely we are to have an adverse outcome.  In this presentation, we will delve into some of the science underlying these claims and hopefully come away with a clearer idea of the role, revealed to date, that genetics plays and potential implications for medical care.

    Learning Objective 1: Learn how we study the effect of genetics on drug response

    Learning Objective 2: Understand the role that genetics has been shown to have on drug response

    Learning Objective 3: Learn how genetic studies of drug response are expected to change

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