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Cox To Give Director's Lecture

Dr. David R. Cox, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Perlegen Sciences, Inc., will present the NIH Director's Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 3 p.m. in the Clinical Center's Masur Auditorium. His talk, "Human Genetic Variation and Common Diseases: A Short-Term Approach for Improving Human Health," will discuss Perlegen's approach to using genetic information to explain and predict individual responses to drug treatments and as the basis for new drugs and diagnostic tests.

Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and founded in late 2000, Perlegen is a genomics company that uses whole-genome scanning to compare genetic variations across the entire genome in groups of individuals. Scientists are looking for specific areas that are different among individuals, known as SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, that result from an error in DNA replication. SNPs are the major source of genetic variation among humans; over time, SNPs are passed on to successive generations through inheritance.

Dr. David R. Cox
Common human ailments such as heart disease and mental illness are caused by a variety of environmental and genetic factors. Using association studies together with genomic scanning, researchers are now able to identify the major genetic risk factors associated with a variety of human diseases and conditions. Cox will discuss an approach to identifying these factors for disease using case-control studies. These studies suggest that many different genes contribute to a particular trait or disease. Genetic variations also can be used to identify individuals who may have an adverse response to a specific drug treatment and to match existing treatments to individual patients. Perlegen is currently collaborating with a number of academic, government, pharmaceutical and consumer product partners.

Prior to Perlegen, Cox was co-director of the Stanford Genome Center and professor of genetics and pediatrics at Stanford University. He received his A.B. and M.S. degrees from Brown University, and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington. He completed a pediatric residency at the Yale-New Haven Hospital and was a fellow in both genetics and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Cox is certified by both the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Medical Genetics. He participated in the large-scale mapping and sequencing efforts of the Human Genome Project while carrying out research involving the molecular basis of human genetic disease. He has received NIH funding for more than 25 years.

He has also been a member of several commissions and boards, including the national bioethics advisory commission and the health sciences policy board of the Institute of Medicine. He has served on a number of international committees, including the Council of the Human Genome Organization. Cox has written more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has served on numerous editorial boards. In 2001, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

For information or to request reasonable accommodation, contact Hilda Madine, (301) 594-5595.

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