$8 million awarded to landmark genetic research project


Landmark genetic research could allow doctors to accurately predict whether a patient is at risk of developing common diseases, decades before any symptoms would become evident.

Snow Medical Research Foundation has awarded University of Queensland (UQ) researchers $8 million to dramatically advance the use of genomics to prevent chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Associate Professor Loic Yengo from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience said the study would analyse DNA sequences from millions of participants, with a unique focus on increasing participation of people with diverse ancestries.

“The Snow Fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity to do this work at the necessary scale, and this will include a 10-fold increase in the representation of people with non-European ancestries in genetic health data around the world,” Dr Yengo said.

Snow Medical Research Foundation chair Tom Snow congratulated Dr Yengo, the first Snow Fellow from UQ: “Loic Yengo is a serious talent who we are proud to support. He’s going to accelerate personalised medicine based on an individual’s genome. His research focuses on people from diverse backgrounds to ensure life-saving medical advances are accessible to everyone – a key issue for Snow Medical.

“The Snow Fellowship funding and its resulting discoveries will reinforce the important role of both UQ and Australia in cutting edge genomics data science, attract new talent and allow breakthroughs that will make health care more cost-effective and equitable.”

Dr Yengo joins Professor Lara Malins from the Australian National University as 2024 Snow Fellows.

The eight-year Snow Fellowship, funding at up to $1 million per year, provides outstanding biomedical researchers the independence to focus on building ambitious multidisciplinary research programmes and teams capable of changing the face of healthcare in Australia and globally.

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