BAR HARBOR — Rob Burgess, a professor at The Jackson Laboratory, will discuss how genetic mutations can disrupt those important connections and how gene therapy could use to fix those mutations, during a talk at the Jesup Memorial Library on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.
Burgess, director of the lab’s Precision Genetics Center, will also speak about what precision genetics is. The Precision Genetics Center uses cutting-edge technologies and expertise to develop and disseminate new, precise animal models of incurable and genetically complex human diseases. The effort brings together an international, multi-disciplinary team — including geneticists and genetics technology experts, quantitative and computational biologists, clinical experts in specific disease areas and world leaders in the development of precision animal models of disease.
One of the diseases that Burgess researches is Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), a group of peripheral nerve disorders that cause muscle weakness and wasting in the feet, legs, hands and arms, and reduced sensation in the limbs.
For each patient the symptoms are caused by different fundamental processes and those differences are underscored by distinct mutations that give rise to the disease. So while one patient might be helped by a therapy affecting the rate at which proteins are made, that same therapy would be useless in another patient. For diseases like this precision genetics can help researchers create therapies by creating mouse models with the same genetic markers.
This talk is part of the Primary Source speaker series, an annual collaboration between the Jesup Memorial Library and The Jackson Laboratory, featuring programs about genetics for a lay audience. This year’s theme is “How Your Genes are Shaping the Future of Healthcare.”