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Letter from the Editors
We are pleased to bring you the Summer 2018 edition of the NPHR. Dr. James Watson once said that the discovery of DNA is a “giant resource that will change mankind, much like the printing press”. Sixty-five years later and genetics, genomics, and metabolomics have very much revolutionized the way we view and use medicine to heal. Precision medicine, or the use of genetic information to tailor treatment and prevention is only in its infancy. The plethora of data becoming available about the core of what makes us “us” is exciting, but understanding how to use, interpret and evaluate the consequences of that information is equally important.
In this issue we explore the complex and often contradictory world of genetic health data. First, Makda Zwede takes us through the recently launched ambitious nation-wide precision medicine ‘All of Us’ program being conducted at five major health systems across Illinois and Chicagoland, including Northwestern. Grace Bellinger, in an interview with Debra Duquette the Associate Director of Northwestern’s graduate program in genetic counseling, deep dives into the world of genetic counselors. Duquette explains the challenges facing the genetic counseling profession and the key role they play in communicating the implications of genomic data to clients and patients. Finally, Dr. Paul Burridge explores how precision medicine is being used to predict drug efficacy and toxicity to fight diseases such as cancer. Through these varied perspectives, we seek to understand the ever-changing landscape of ‘big’ genetic data and how it affects our everyday lives.
We wish to thank all of our contributors and a special thank you to the students of the University of Illinois, Chicago Biomedical Visualization program for their beautiful illustrations to accompany the pieces throughout this issue.
The NPHR Editors-in-Chief
Nelly Papalambros & Simona Morochnik