Harnessing African Genomic Variation to Improve Health Globally
Ambroise Wonkam, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, McKusick-Nathans Institute, and Department of Genetic Medicine; Professor of Genetic Medicine
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Prof Ambroise Wonkam is a professor of Genetic Medicine, and Director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute, and Department of Genetic Medicine. After an MD training from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon), he completed a thesis in Medical Sciences, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a Ph.D. in Human Genetics (University of Cape Town, South Africa). Other salient aspects of Prof Wonkam’s background include his education as a medical geneticist at a highly reputable genetics department in Geneva (Switzerland). He subsequently practices medical genetics in both European and African contexts.
African genomes harbor millions of uncaptured variants accumulated over 300,000 years of modern humans' evolutionary history, with successive waves of admixture, migration, and natural selection combining with extensive ecological diversity to create a broad and exceptional genomic complexity. Therefore to embrace the prospects of accurately diagnosing thousands of monogenic conditions, predicting disease risks for complex traits or diseases, tailoring treatment to individuals' pharmacogenetic profiles, and potentially curing some diseases, research into African genomic variation is a scientific imperative.
• To share experience and lessons learned from genetic medicine practice in Africa and related global implications;
• To explain why improved knowledge of African genomic variation will enhance health in all populations;
• To showcase examples of recent genomic discoveries in African populations and explain their globally relevance;
• To discuss a global research agenda for African genomic research within the next decade.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 13, 2022