Principal Investigator: Dr Aaron Day-Williams
Department: Flagship Labs 60, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USATags: 55647, biomarkers, GWAS, Mendelian randomisation, PheWAS, pleiotropy
The human genome encodes all of the genes that carry out the vast number of different biological processes that happen in the body. These different biological processes are carried out by a myriad of different cell-types, and despite the different functions/shapes of all the cells in the body they all have the same underlying genome. The fact that every cell has the same underlying genome explains why the same gene or genetic variant can have an effect on multiple different cell-types and diseases. This ability of a genetic variant to impact many different biological processes is called pleiotropy, and understanding pleiotropy is fundamental to understanding both healthy and disease biology. In order to fully understand pleiotropy, you need to study individuals that have a large number of phenotypes measured and their genome-wide genetic variation measured. The UK Biobank is one of the only data resources that has the scale and type of data allowing a detailed understanding of pleiotropy and its impact on disease. Flagship Labs 60, Inc. (FL60) is a biotechnology company performing research and development in order to create new therapeutics to modulate disease biology. FL60 is utilizing the UK Biobank to fully interrogate pleiotropy, patient symptom heterogeneity and progression heterogeneity in order to generate better therapeutic hypotheses and select better targets to develop new therapies. This understanding of biological pleiotropy and patient heterogeneity will allow the development of therapies that work better and have fewer side effects.