The Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics (CEHG) was launched in 2012 by the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Medicine at Stanford University. Directed by Marcus Feldman, the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Carlos D. Bustamante, Professor of Genetics, the Center works at the forefront of the information age of genomics to improve human well-being. Faculty and students from Stanford’s seven schools collaborate on interdisciplinary research projects that support this mission and the computational analysis of genomic data.
Researchers have access to vast amounts of information today but interpreting even the simplest genomes remains a daunting challenge. Ethical and legal questions also come into play. Addressing such issues will allow scientists to translate genomic data into scientific advances that can help promote global health, agriculture and biotechnology. The world desperately requires novel approaches for the collection, analysis and interpretation of genomic data.
“We want everyone to benefit from advances in genomics technology and big data sciences,” Founding Director Bustamante says. “This requires us to push the boundaries of genomics and to train people in analyzing large-scale data sets in medicine, agriculture and conservation biology.” Innovative partnerships are already under way, connecting CEHG lab members working in diverse fields. Archaeologists, anthropologists and historians are joining mathematicians, statisticians and geneticists to catalyze discovery in the information age of genomics. Statisticians use computational analysis to understand gene interaction and identify risk factors for coronary heart disease while other CEHG researchers harness big data to analyze how climate change will affect crops and to develop new strains that will be less vulnerable. And since the study of human genomics involves 'the genes, the bones and the languages,' says Founding Director Feldman, the history of human behavior will play a key role in ongoing Center research.