Category Archives: Big picture

To Find a Killer Variant: Successes and Challenges on the Journey to Mass Adoption of NGS in the Clinic

         October 22, 2012

Recently, I have been spending some time analyzing real patient data. I’m preparing for a webcast I’ll be giving in which I will walk through the process of replicating the findings of Dr. Gholson Lyon‘s study on the novel disease diagnosis he named Ogden Syndrome. Being so close to data that comes directly from clinical settings got me thinking about… Read more »

Learning vs. Doing (or why that Ph.D. took 10 years)

         August 15, 2012

What prevents scientists from being more productive and if we knew, could we do anything about it? I’d like to look at an often overlooked, but huge productivity inhibitor — bad multitasking. Many people put “excellent multitasker” on their resume as a badge of honor. We laud the efficiency of a good multitasker — they are rarely idle — someone… Read more »

Have We Wasted 7 Years and $100 Million Dollars on GWAS Studies?

         June 21, 2012

Type 2 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Obesity, Chrohn’s Diseases and Coronary Heart Disease are examples of common, chronic diseases that have a significant genetic component. It should be no surprise that these diseases have been the target of much genetic research. Yet over the past decade, the tools of our research efforts have failed to unravel the complete biological architecture of… Read more »

Is Free Software Really Free?

         May 23, 2012

The prevalence of open-source bioinformatic tools in the genetic research space is enormous. According to The North Shore LIJ Research Institute, there are over 500 genetic analysis software packages – the great majority of which are free – as of August 2010. Open-source tools are incredibly important in genetics. They allow new methodologies to be created and expanded. They tie… Read more »

Learning From Our GWAS Mistakes: From experimental design to scientific method

         March 7, 2012

This month Biostatistics published online an open access article I co-authored with Dr. Laura Black from Montana State University: “Learning From Our GWAS Mistakes: From Experimental Design To Scientific Method.” The paper version is expected to come out in the April 2012 issue. I’m hoping that you will take the time to read it. And I’m hoping you will violently… Read more »

Leaky Sprinklers and “The Future of NGS Market Study 2011”

         November 23, 2011

Have you ever chosen to do something yourself instead of paying money for the alternative, when, in the long run, the alternative is not really that expensive? We all have, as we all have limited budgets. One particular example comes to mind in my own life. My boyfriend, Ben, and I bought a house in April. Unfortunately, it wasn’t properly… Read more »

Is NGS the Answer?

         November 9, 2011

While there is a lot of excitement in the industry about Next-Generation Sequencing, questions remain as to whether it will be “the answer” to the ails of the genetic research industry. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with three of Golden Helix’s thought leaders and ask a few questions about NGS – Gabe Rudy, Vice President of Product… Read more »

Influencing the Global Dialog on Healthcare

         September 28, 2011

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5CUPMD0Agk On September 16-17th, I attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC) Health Systems Innovation Policy Dialog in San Francisco. It was a stimulating opportunity to look at global healthcare concerns from the perspective of developing and developed economies. There was much opportunity to  dialog and frame the issues around transforming healthcare systems to meet pressing problems such as aging populations,… Read more »

“Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a bioinformatician!”

         May 12, 2011

Academic Software, Productivity, and Reproducible Research httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGMLCxKPMSE&NR=1 Do you ever feel like Dr. McCoy on Star Trek, where your job and expertise is to do x, but to achieve your goals you also have to do y and z, which you either don’t want to do or don’t have the skills to do? Genetic researchers are faced with this every… Read more »

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Next Generation Sequencing – Part 3

         January 19, 2011

The advances in DNA sequencing are another magnificent technological revolution that we’re all excited to be a part of. Similar to how the technology of microprocessors enabled the personalization of computers, or how the new paradigms of web 2.0 redefined how we use the internet, high-throughput sequencing machines are defining and driving a new era of biology. Biologists, geneticists, clinicians,… Read more »

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Next Generation Sequencing – Part 2

         December 9, 2010

When you think about the cost of doing genetic research, it’s no secret that the complexity of bioinformatics has been making data analysis a larger and larger portion of the total cost of a given project or study. With next-gen sequencing data, this reality is rapidly setting in. In fact, if it hasn’t already, it’s been commonly suggested that the… Read more »

Stop Ignoring Experimental Design (or my head will explode)

         September 29, 2010
Stop Ignoring Experimental Design (or my head will explode)

Over the past 3 years, Golden Helix has analyzed dozens of public and customer whole-genome and candidate gene datasets for a host of studies.  Though genetic research certainly has a number of complexities and challenges, the number one problem we encounter, which also has the greatest repercussions, is born of problematic experimental design. In fact, about 95% of the studies… Read more »

Missing Heritability and the Future of GWAS

         August 26, 2010

“Where is the missing heritability?” is a question asked frequently in genetic research, usually in the context of diseases that have large heritability estimates, say 60-80%, and yet where only perhaps 5-10% of that heritability has been found. The difficulty seems to come down to the common disease/common variant hypothesis not holding up. Or perhaps more accurately, that the frequency… Read more »

Rising Above Uncertainty; Increasing Clinical Yield in Array-Based Cytogenetics

         July 27, 2010

As Andy Ferrin and I drove the five-hour car ride home from a cytogenetics conference, we had a lot of time to reflect on the persistent themes we heard in presentations and dialog among conference attendees. Taking somewhat of an outsider view, we traced each complaint, each sigh of frustration, and the unverbalized assumptions behind opposing viewpoints, and they all… Read more »