Sara Pulit | Bringing genetics to drug discovery: What computational biology can (and can’t do – yet) to help find new medicines
from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, San Diego: Sara has been working in Utrecht, with a strong emphasis on genetic association studies to unravel genetic predispositions for different diseases. She has recently moved to Vertex Pharmaceuticals where she continues to apply genetics and bioinformatics in an industrial setting.
Abstract: The mapping of the human genome nearly two decades ago has resulted in a tidal wave of genetic discoveries. Linkage analyses revealed the underpinnings of rare diseases, genome-wide association studies yielded insights into common diseases, and sequencing continues to uncover the genetic keys to an array of syndromes and disorders. With this veritable mountain of discoveries before us, a primary aim of genetics (and computational biology more broadly) is to discover if and how these findings can lead us to transformative medicines for serious diseases. In my talk, I will describe how genetic studies – performed even before the human genome had been mapped – paved the way to our understanding of cystic fibrosis (CF) and in turn informed existing therapeutics for the treatment of CF. I will also discuss how genetics and computational biology has transformed and continues to transform the drug discovery process.