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Alliance’s work shines on global stage

Melbourne Genomics’ global influence and connections were evident at recent international meetings: the 5th Plenary Meeting of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), and the World Congress of Genetic Counselling.

Evaluation data from Melbourne Genomics was highlighted by Professor Kathryn North at the GA4GH’s international plenary, held in Florida. Vice-Chair of the Global Alliance’s Steering Committee and Director of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Professor North drew comparisons with country-wide initiatives from around the globe, commenting: ‘This data is gaining international attention because right now Melbourne Genomics is leading way in the evaluation of genomics’ impact on healthcare.’

Melburnians with leading roles in genomics and our Alliance are notable players in the next five-year strategy of the Global Alliance, which was officially launched at the plenary meeting.

Dr David Hansen, Director of CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre, and Chair of Melbourne Genomics' Information Management Project Control Group, is co-leading the Global Alliance's Clinical and Phenotypic Data Capture work program. Associate Professor Oliver Hofmann from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Cancer Research, is co-leading the Large Scale Genomics work program. Professor North (a member of Melbourne Genomics’ Board) and Melbourne Genomics Executive Director, Associate Professor Clara Gaff, are Champions for the Global Alliance Driver Project with Australian Genomics Health Alliance, one of only 15 selected projects internationally. Melbourne Genomics’ Data & Technology Program Manager, Kate Birch, is involved in the Global Alliance’s Data Security work program.

At the first-ever World Congress for Genetic Counselling held earlier this month at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge (UK), Associate Professor Clara Gaff was an invited keynote speaker. Rounding out the congress, Clara presented on priorities for research in genomic counselling, proposing a greater focus on post-test counselling and implementation research. She also participated in a lively panel discussion, debating the future of the genetic counselling profession.

Other congress presenters included Professor Sylvia Metcalfe (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne), who presented on Australian public attitudes to personal genomics, and Victorian Clinical Genetics Services' Principal Genetic Counsellor, Ivan Macciocca, whose poster highlighted a recent Melbourne Genomics’ initiative to upskill genetic counsellors in dealing with ‘additional’ genomic findings.

[Image: Professor Kathryn North presenting at the 5th Plenary Meeting of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health in Orlando, Florida.]