Source: The HAND Foundation
Since PARSA Community Foundation granted $250,000 to Stanford University’s Iranian Genome Project in 2010, the project has grown significantly. The Iranian Genome Project aims to provide knowledge to both the scientific and Iranian community by studying and understanding the genetic background of Iranians representing all ethnicities in Iran, including Armenians, Kurds, and Turks. Based on the emerging field of genomics, where scientists map the genetic code, this project allows for research on how variations in the genetic code lead to differences in health and disease across and within populations.
The Iranian Genome Project believes that furthering the knowledge of the Iranian genetic code will enable the community to gain a better understanding of how certain “Iranian” genes affect health in the population. This may one day allow for the creation of tailored treatments and drugs. This is important as most genetic research has been conducted on people of European descent. As the age of personalized medicine begins, knowledge of genetic variation will be key in making sure that everyone’s unique needs are met.
The research is being done by the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University, lead by the Principal Investigator Russ Altman, Chairman of Department and Director of Biomedical Informatics Training Program. The lead researcher is Roxana Daneshjou, a medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine and a Ph.D. candidate in Genetics. The team also has two consultants who are leaders in the field of genentics: Mostafa Ronaghi, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President at Illumina and a former principal investigator and senior research associate at the Stanford Genome Technology Center; and Pardis Sabeti, Assistant Professor at the Center for Systems Biology at Harvard, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard.
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