#142 Barbara Fortini on Genomic Data Analytics

03.05.2021 - By DNA Today: A Genetics Podcast

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Dr. Barbara Fortini joins our host Kira Dineen, to discuss the growing career opportunities in Genomic Data Analytics. She is the Program Director for the Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics program at the Keck Graduate Institute. She also teaches their genetic counseling students.

Her research interests focus on colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in the US. Genome-wide association studies have now identified dozens of common genomic variants linked to small increases in colorectal cancer risk. Her research group seeks to identify the functional variants responsible for the increased cancer risk at GWAS-identified loci and to understand the role of these variants in cancer etiology. Previous work has shown that many functional variants lie in gene enhancer elements, leading to allele-specific gene expression of both known cancer-associated genes and novel genes. By comprehensively characterizing risk loci, her team hopes to identify additional novel genes involved in colorectal cancer and better understand the role of enhancers in gene expression in healthy and cancer cells.

On This Episode We Discuss:

Career paths in genetics outside of genetic counseling
Defining big data in a genetic context
Area of research impacted by data analytics
Career opportunities in the healthcare industry
Challenges in labs and pharma companies addressed by genomic data analytics
Genome wide association studies (GWAS)
Colorectal cancer research via GWAS
Genomic data analytics vs bioinformatics master’s degrees
In-demand skills for data analysts
Pre-requisites to apply to master’s programs, epscally KGI
Advice for students applying to programs
Content and skills taught in the data analytics program
Employers of alumni of the data analytics program

Check out the article we mention in the episode about what you can do with a degree in data analytics. Here you can find further information about KGI’s genomic data analytics program.

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