Identified as a priority research team at Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie’s Genomics in Medicine group is made up of over 50 researchers and clinicians working together to improve the diagnosis and treatment of inherited genetic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, inherited diseases in children like FEVR, Crohn’s disease and the most prevalent genetic disease of all, cancer. The group is working to not only pinpoint the genes that cause diseases, but also develop genetic tests to screen for these diseases at the earliest stages, and to come up with new, and more effective treatments. The group’s work spans genetic disease diagnosis, drug development and trials, and ethics and policy.

An Area Of Expertise: Gene Therapies For Inherited Orphan Diseases

While inherited orphan diseases are rare, including diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Lou Gehrig's disease and Fabry disease, when taken together, they affect a total of three million Canadians. 95 per cent of these orphan diseases have no treatment, and one third of affected children will die before their fifth birthday.

Using cutting edge genomics technologies, the Genomics in Medicine team is working to uncover new genes that cause orphan diseases, and to develop novel ways of treating them, including recent clinical trials with enzyme replacement and gene transfer therapies. Continued funding in this area can help orphan disease patients manage and mitigate their symptoms, and deliver a better quality of life for patients and their families.

“Genome science is becoming increasingly central to the study and treatment of human diseases, and there is an urgent need for young scientists who are trained in both the computational and biological aspects of genomics." 
- Dr. John Archibald
Director, Centre for Comparative Genomics & Evolutionary Bioinformatics, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University