The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program has named the Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC) at Baylor College of Medicine as a participant in a groundbreaking half-billion dollar program to bring whole genome sequencing and other –omic technologies that monitor the expression of the genome in response to the environment, to the forefront of clinical research.
Through its TOPMed program, NHLBI is expanding its dedication to advancing the understanding of the underpinnings of complex diseases and how they develop. Previously, the HGSC was awarded funding by NHLBI to sequence whole genomes for TOPMed studies such as sickle cell disease, and venous thromboembolism and will continue to expand this effort in the next phase of the program. The new contract will span five years. In addition to the whole genome sequencing component, the TOPMed program will also provide analysis of other datatypes over the course of the contract period, including RNA transcription sequencing, DNA methylation, metabolomics profiles, and other –omics, including analysis of the microbiome. The initial award from NHLBI supports the whole genome sequencing of 20,000 samples at the HGSC in the first year of the program.
“There is a significant need for large sample sizes; a need that goes beyond the research setting and into the clinic,” said Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the HGSC and professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor. “We are grateful to be a part of the TOPMed program which will allow us to access this large sample number and obtain valuable insights into adult heart disease, sickle cell disease, atrial fibrillation and other heart, lung and hematologic disorders.”