Alex Brown, an internationally leading Indigenous researcher and clinician, will lead a National Indigenous Genomics Consortium for the Future of Indigenous Australian Health.
Professor Brown was recently appointed Professor of Indigenous Genomics by the Australian National University (ANU) and the Telethon Kids Institute. He also leads the Indigenous Health Equity Theme at the South Australian Health Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).
The Consortium received a prestigious $ 5 million Synergy grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to drive the establishment of Australia’s first large-scale efforts in the area of â€‹â€‹indigenous genomics.
Researchers from the ANU National Center for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG), Ms Azure Hermes, Professor Graham Mann, Professor Simon Easteal and Dr Sharon Huebner will join Professor Brown and five experts from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, University of Adelaide, University of New South Wales and University of Western Australia as lead researchers.
Genomics, the study of genes encoded in an individual’s set of instructions written in DNA, is seen as a unique opportunity for the advancement of health care.
â€œAustralia is on the cusp of a new era of personalized medicine that will bring deeper insight into the architecture of rare diseases in children and common diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancerâ€, said Professor Brown.
â€œUnfortunately, Indigenous Australians have not had access to the benefits of genomics and clinical care due to their exclusion from national genomics efforts.â€
To ensure equitable access to the life-changing potential of genomic medicine in diverse populations, the Consortium brings together national leaders in the fields of Indigenous health, data science, genomics, ethics and research. population genetics and clinical.
â€œThis is a tremendous vote of confidence in the plans that Professor Brown, the NCIG and our partners across the country have developed – we are all very happy to bring our various skills to the goal of medicine. indigenous genomics, â€said John Curtin School of Medical Research director Professor Graham Mann, acting director of NCIG.
â€œThis work is particularly important in how it brings together, in a culturally appropriate way, indigenous priorities and outstanding science and in so doing creates a whole new level of meaning and impact,â€ Dean of ANU College of Health and Medicine, said Professor Russell Gruen.
Together, the team describes their goal as enshrining the sovereign rights of Indigenous peoples to define, direct and fulfill their own destiny in a rapidly changing genomic landscape.
To this end, the Consortium plans to collaboratively develop Indigenous-led governance and administration mechanisms over the coming months.
The massive venture will create jobs for an Indigenous and non-Indigenous genomics workforce and strengthen ties between the health industry and Indigenous communities.
It will also define and communicate policies, target the main causes of inequality experienced by Indigenous Australians and reduce the time it takes for Indigenous children to be diagnosed with rare diseases.
Synergy Grants provide $ 5 million over five years to support exceptional multidisciplinary teams of researchers collaborating to find answers to major questions that cannot be answered by a single researcher. Successful recipients are typically teams with a diversity of gender, career stage and cultural background, who work together to address key human health issues.