HudsonAlpha, UAB host Center for Genomic Medicine Symposium

More than 100 researchers, students and postdocs gathered at the Jackson Center May 8, 2017, for the third annual Center for Genomic Medicine Symposium presented by HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Established in 2014, the Center for Genomic Medicine (CGM) is a collaboration between HudsonAlpha and the UAB School of Medicine and aims to accelerate discoveries in genomics and propel those discoveries into clinical practice.

The one-day Symposium gave attendees the opportunity to collaborate with specialists from both institutions and addressed the latest genomic research advancements and initiatives such as the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI). AGHI will provide genomic testing, interpretation, and counseling free of charge to Alabama residents.

“We wanted to highlight this new program because it represents a really exciting opportunity for us and the state,” said Bruce Korf, MD, PhD, chair of the UAB Department of Genetics, co-director of the CGM and AGHI. “The goal is ultimately to provide genomic analysis to 10,000 individuals across the state representing a broad array of backgrounds and eventually reach a point to where we can offer this to every county in Alabama.”

Attendees also had the chance to hear from recipients of the National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award – known as a T32 grant – which trains postdocs fellows who have earned an MD and/or a PhD. HudsonAlpha postdoctoral fellow Nicholas Cochran, PhD, a postdoc in the Myers lab at HudsonAlpha, was selected as a trainee in the first year. Miranda Burnette, PhD, who works with Christopher Klug, PhD, at UAB, was also nominated for the training program. The focus of her work will be using next-generation genomics and comprehensive drug screening both to discover novel therapeutic strategies and to understand mechanisms of drug resistance in triple-negative breast cancer and serous ovarian cancer.

Speakers also included:

  • Donald Buchsbaum, PhD, Department of Radiation Oncology, UAB
  • Greg Cooper, PhD, Faculty Investigator, HudsonAlpha
  • Sara Cooper, PhD, Faculty Investigator, HudsonAlpha
  • Devin Absher, PhD, Faculty Investigator, HudsonAlpha
  • Robert Kimberly, MD, Department of Medicine, UAB, 2016 CGM Grant Awardee
  • John Parant, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, UAB, 2016 CGM Grant Awardee
  • Randy Cron, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, UAB, 2016 CGM Grant Awardee


The day wrapped up with working sessions, where attendees broke into groups to discuss collaborative systematic approaches in certain areas of interests.

“The Center for Genomic Medicine brings together teams comprised of clinicians, biotechnologists, geneticists, informaticists and other specialists from both institutions to achieve our vision to improve human health through advances in genomic medicine,” said Rick Myers, HudsonAlpha president and science director and co-director of the CGM. “We were excited to share this year’s success stories today and trust that the Symposium will initiate new collaborations among colleagues across institutions and research fields.”

To learn more about presentations from the Symposium, download the agenda.