Immunogenomics 2015 Helps to Shape the Future of Human Health

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will host the 3rd annual Immunogenomics 2015 Conference on September 28 – 30, 2015 on the HudsonAlpha campus in Huntsville, Alabama. Leading researchers from around the world will gather to explore the application of genomic technologies to understand the immune system and development of disease. The focus of this annual conference is to encourage scientific dialog between leading researchers that will help shape the future of human health and revolutionize the way we view and treat disease.  

Immunogenomics lies at the intersection of two important medical fields, immunology and genomics, and is an area of research that explores the ways in which the human genome interacts with disease. This approach has already helped doctors diagnose a form of cancer a year earlier than previously possible.

“There has been a growing interest in this field, as it helps researchers better determine susceptibility to disease,” said Kristen Mueller, a senior editor at Science and a committee chair for Immunogenomics. “In the last decade, technology has helped researchers better understand the genome—and during the past three to five years, that knowledge has been applied to understanding the immune system because various immune-cell populations of interest are relatively easy to isolate.”

“Immunogenomics, in my opinion, is an approach to use genomics technology to better understand the immune system and its role in infections and autoimmune diseases,” said S. Louis Bridges, Jr., a Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and also a committee chair for Immunogenomics. Bridges studies the connections between genomics and the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. “We are looking at specific populations, such as African-Americans, to determine what clues we can find from the genome that may impact immunity and autoimmunity.”

Discovering the links between the genome and the immune system is important because people with autoimmune diseases are currently treated with drugs that suppress immunity, and as a result, are vulnerable to infection with other diseases.  Immunogenomics could lead to the production of new medicines that can treat diseases in specific ways based on a person’s genome.

One of the pioneers in the field of immunogenomics, HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Jian Han, will discuss new discoveries in his research related to the Repertoire 10,000, or R10K project, an international collaborative effort to identify T and B-cell receptor sequences that can serve as biomarkers for disease diagnoses. The group is looking at 10,000 samples, collected from 100 patients in each of the represented 100 diseases, in the hopes of diagnosing diseases earlier, developing new and better therapy options, and identifying opportunities for new vaccines.

View the Immunogenomics 2015 program, speaker bios, abstracts and more at http://hudsonalpha.org/immunogenomicsconference/. If you would like to engage in this multi-day program of science talks and network with the key players in the immunogenomics field, register at https://support.hudsonalpha.org/igc.