DUBAI, UAE, Dec. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — MGI, a company committed to building core tools and technology to lead life science, recently concluded its inaugural The Future of Omics Research Summit, the global event focused on the field of population genomics, metagenomics research and precision medicine, which took place in Dubai on Dec 4th and 5th 2023.
“We were delighted to convene global key opinion leaders from across the genomics and healthcare ecosystems at the inaugural The Future of Omics Research Summit,” said Duncan Yu, President at MGI. “At MGI, we believe the era of genomics, particularly metagenomics, is prompting the most important human health transformation of our generation. By supporting ground-breaking research and knowledge exchange, we will continue to expand access to the potential of genomics and push the boundaries of life science and technology.”
Under the theme of “Leading Life Science Innovation”, the invite-only event brought together over 100 of the brightest minds in life science, to discuss and exchange ideas around expanding the reach of genomics and facilitating “omics for all”. Over 25 top scientists and entrepreneurs from around the world joined as speakers, sharing their achievements and insights into the future of population genomics, metagenomics research and precision medicine.
The two-day event witnessed presentations and sharing from experts on the impact of life science research and technologies in areas ranging from precision medicine to pediatric rare genetic diseases, gut disorders, oncology, viral diseases, unknown infections, and many more.
As the first speaker, H.E Dr Maryam Matar, Founder of Sheikh Zayed Research Centre and Founder of Chairperson of UAE Genetic Diseases Association highlighted the need of credible and scientific Knowledge for better quality of life for the UAE population. Dr Matar said: “I am privileged to share my scientific research, and the potential of advancements in regenerative medicine with the scientific community in the summit. In line with the healthcare vision of the UAE, the summit is serving the community by fostering innovation in the field of omics. Collectively, we all strive to work towards personalized healthcare and better data-driven treatments, which will create better healthcare systems.”
Great Potential in Population Genomics
Population genomics has the potential to greatly contribute by facilitating the accurate categorization of individuals based on shared genetic backgrounds. During his speech, Prof. Patrick Tan, Executive Director of PRECISE in Singapore detailed the progress of the National Precision Medicine Programme, a 10-year research roadmap to accelerate biomedical research and improve health outcomes. “In the first phase, we generated the world’s largest multi-ethnic Asian reference database (SG10K Health),” said Prof. Tan. “Phase 2 is currently underway to scale this genomic-phenotypic database to 100,000 Singaporeans (PRECISE-SG100K) to address key questions about Asian health and disease linking genomic, phenotypic, and clinical outcome data.”
On the other hand, Prof. Stephen T.S. Lam from Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital examined in his presentation how “omics” can contribute to the health of the population. “In addition to genomics, more recent developments in the other disciplines of biological science, such as proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, have increasingly been incorporated in disease management and health promotion,” said Prof. Lam. “Their efforts are helping to characterize and quantify the biological molecules that contribute to the structure and functions of human cells, tissues and organs, both in health and disease.”
In understanding diseases in the context of genomic diversity, Prof. Shuhua Xu from China’s Fudan University offered an overview of the recent progresses in human population genetics studies in China based on large-scale whole-genome sequencing. “Identifying and prioritizing disease-associated causal variants is based on an understanding of the distribution of genetic variation within and between populations,” Prof. Xu added. “Population genetics and genomics thus play a vital role in dissecting genetic architecture of diseases and complex traits.”
Metagenomics Enables Robust Treatment
Metagenomics plays a crucial role in understanding the genetic diversity and functional potential of microbial communities, providing valuable insights into ecosystem dynamics, human health, and biotechnological applications. With a key focus of the summit on metagenomics, scientists from across the globe shared the progress and fruits of their relevant research and clinical applications.
Prof. Mahir Al Hilali from Mediclinic Middle East in UAE gave an update on topics relating to the role of metagenomics in gut disorders and oncology. “Rapid and comprehensive profiling of the gut microbiome through shotgun metagenomic sequencing, along with molecular and cell biology studies, have indicated that gut microbiota can be utilized for disease prevention as well as to modulate the efficacy of different treatments, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy,” said Prof. Al Hilali.
Meanwhile, Dr. Maike Seifert, from Karolinska Institute and AmbioGen, Sweden, shared a comprehensive snapshot of the current landscape of large-scale population-based metagenomics and insights into innovative approaches, cutting-edge methods, and the formidable challenges encountered from past projects. “As metagenomics increasingly move towards broader population samples, the need for more robust research methodologies is becoming paramount,” Dr. Seifert remarked.
Advancing Precision Medicine for Health Promotion
Precision medicine is a groundbreaking approach that considers the unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors of individual patients. On advancing precision medicine with genomics and proteomics, Prof. Zhengming Chen, University of Oxford in the UK highlighted recent large-scale applications of proteomics technologies in biobank research and key novel findings. “The exposure and health outcome data are now being complemented by large-scale assays of stored biological samples, including genomics and proteomics.,” Prof. Chen noted. “Together with proteomics dataand genetic data, we will enable important discoveries relevant to risk prediction, early diagnosis, drug target identification, and better understanding of disease aetiology, ageing and biology.”
Through the summit, MGI provided a dynamic platform for unfettered discussion and cross-discipline collaborations, inspiring innovation and new real-world applications around life sciences and technology. In light of the success of the summit, MGI will be hosting the summit again with a different focus in the future. Rooted in the mission to deliver accurate, efficient, and accessible DNBSEQ technology, MGI strives to enable more scientific breakthroughs and discoveries and empower global researchers and scientists in the collective journey of advancing the positive impact of omics.