Thursday, December 01, 2016

When One Size No Longer Fits All: Genomics & Precision Healthcare

with USC Dean Emeritus Hal Slavkin & Pablo Bringas
Beginning Wednesday January 4, 12:00 – 1:30pm

As we peek into the future, personalized health care is on the horizon and is being called “precision healthcare” by some.  Hal Slavkin, Professor and Dean Emeritus from USC returns to Crowell Library, offering a class about the recent advances in health care based new understanding of the human genome.  In six sessions, participants will explore evolution, healthcare and biotechnology, with a focus on the new personalized healthcare options.   Advances in human, animal, plant and microbial genomics is rapidly enhancing the understanding of genes, allowing innovations in designing new organisms for specific approaches to diagnosis and drug treatments. The mantra “faster, cheaper and better” is rapidly advancing genomics, especially with drug designs for specific individualized cancers.

It was not that long ago when physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other health care professionals had only a few treatment options for patients with seemingly similar diagnosis for illnesses or disorders. The result was that some patients responded well to treatment while others did not.  The different outcomes were due to the patients’ different physiologies and immune systems, complications with other biological and external factors and even misdiagnoses. 

In addition to lectures and discussion, this course will feature a few hands-on experiences to demonstrate how phenotype connects with genotype; the principles underlying the development and evolutionary process of how an organism grows, and how novel and innovative gene editing techniques can address major human diseases and disorders such as malaria, birth defects, and cancers. The key goal of this course is to enable the curious non-scientist or healthcare professional to appreciate and understand regularities and irregularities in patterns of inheritance and diseases in all living organisms.  No reservations are required for these classes.

Professor Hal Slavkin, Dean Emeritus, University of Southern California School of Dentistry retired in June 2014 after 46 years on the full-time faculty. During his academic career he served as Chair of Biochemistry, Dean of the School of Dentistry, and served as the Director for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Professor Slavkin lives in Marina Del Rey.