HUNTSVILLE, Ala., April 7, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit research institute focusing on research-driven discovery, education, and economic development to improve human health, today announced the appointment of renowned clinical genomics expert Howard Jacob, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President for Medical Genomics and Chief Medical Genomics Officer. Jacob's 25 years of genetic sequencing experience bolsters HudsonAlpha's roster of expert researchers and supports the Institute's mission to bridge laboratory discoveries to medical improvements for patients. Jacob brings specific expertise in using clinical genomics to discover undiagnosed disorders.
"I am very pleased to be joining HudsonAlpha's strong faculty of genomics researchers to advance the Institute's mission of creating a healthier, more sustainable world through genomics," said Jacob. "I believe strongly in the work HudsonAlpha has done and see great potential to harness the technology and expertise within the Institute to deliver better treatments and more preventative medicines for patients."
Jacob added, "One of my goals at HudsonAlpha will be to establish a scalable whole genome sequencing process that will allow doctors to use the technology for the millions of patients it could benefit. My team and I have reduced the genome sequencing interpretation process time from two weeks to four hours, and eventually we want to analyze and interpret a whole human genome sequence in 10 minutes or less to make the technology truly scalable."
According to Richard M. Myers, Ph.D., HudsonAlpha's president and science director, "Our CLIA-certified Genomic Services Lab, headed by Shawn Levy, Ph.D., is an established leader in ultra-high-throughput genetic sequencing. Since its founding in 2009, the GSL has supported more than 2,100 projects and sequenced more than 100,000 samples, improving the lives of patients and providing diagnoses that have led to better, more accurate care. We expect Howard's world-renowned expertise will boost HudsonAlpha's ability to turn laboratory discoveries into real-world medical improvements for patients."
Jacob brings a core team with him to HudsonAlpha. Working together, this team was the first in the world to use genomic sequencing to save a child's life. Efforts to diagnose the child's life-threatening disorder based on his symptoms had failed. Using genomic analysis, they identified a single gene mutation that led to the disease diagnosis and a successful course of treatment. The team went on to contribute to the diagnosis of several other genetic diseases by sequencing more than 500 children's genomes.
"Howard Jacob is an established leader, and I am honored to welcome him to the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the state of Alabama," Gov. Robert Bentley said. "Since its launch, HudsonAlpha has proven to be one of the best research institutions in Alabama. The clinical genomics initiatives will continue to propel HudsonAlpha forward to treat some of the most debilitating diseases."
"HudsonAlpha has always been dedicated to developing the talent and technology that make genomic advances possible," said HudsonAlpha co-founder James R. Hudson Jr. "Adding Howard and his team to our impressive group of genomics experts and GSL capabilities speaks to our commitment to creating an unprecedented synergy that we believe will help define the future of genomic medicine, not only in Alabama, but globally."
About Howard Jacob
Throughout the course of nearly two decades at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Howard Jacob, Ph.D., served as Founding Director of the Human and Molecular Genetics Center and Professor of Physiology, and was awarded the Warren P. Knowles Chair of Genetics. Previously, he was on the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Jacob received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Iowa, and he completed post-doctoral fellowships in functional genomics and molecular genetics/genomics at Harvard Medical School, Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a genomic science and applications nonprofit organization. It is both a high-volume genomic data producer serving thousands of academic, clinical, and commercial clients' needs and a global scientific collaborator valued for its genomic data analysis and interpretation to solve some of the most pressing questions in cancer, undiagnosed childhood genetic disorders, neuro-psychiatric disorders, immune-mediated disease, agriculture, and public health. Its unique 152-acre campus melds the boundaries between nonprofit scientists, educators, and commercial business people so that collaboration sparks innovation and growth. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit: http://hudsonalpha.org/.