SANTA CLARA, Calif — Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced that Peter Robinson, MD, MSC, has received an Agilent Thought Leader Award in recognition of his contributions to clinical genomics and computational biology.
The award includes funding that will enable Dr. Robinson to extend his research efforts to identify non-coding regions of the genome involved in gene regulation and disease. Of particular interest are those regions located far away from the genes they regulate or ‘enhancer’ regions that typically escape exome sequencing analysis.
“Dr. Robinson focuses on the identification of enhancer mutations involved in various human diseases and conditions. His research will increase our understanding of the disease relevance of regulatory regions in the genome, as well as demonstrate the utility of targeted sequence capture for such studies," said Herman Verrelst, Agilent vice president and general manager, Genomics and Clinical Applications Division, and the executive sponsor of this award. "We are pleased to support Dr. Robinson’s work in this important area,” added Verrelst.
“I’m very grateful for this award as it will allow us to examine the influence of DNA variation and dysregulation of gene regulation in immune cells, as well as cohorts of patients with diseases of the immune system, in order to address the hypothesis that alterations of enhancer-promoter looping interactions may underlie some forms of immunological disease,” said Dr. Robinson. “The work will involve genomics investigations in which relevant regulatory regions of the genome are enriched and subjected to next-generation sequencing. We will also develop bioinformatics pipelines and algorithms in order to process and analyze the resulting data, as well as software methods for biological and medical interpretation, with the goal of establishing robust methods for the use of this kind of genomics to investigate the disease relevance of non-coding regions of our genome,” he added.
Dr. Robinson is well known for the development of the human phenotype ontology—a standardized vocabulary of phenotypic abnormalities encountered in human disease—and he has also created methods to identify a number of novel disease genes. He studied mathematics and computer science at Columbia University and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed training as a pediatrician at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany where he has conducted most of his research. He serves as a professor of computational biology at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut.
The Agilent Thought Leader Award Program promotes fundamental scientific advances by contributing financial support, products and expertise to the research of influential thought leaders in the life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets. Information about previous award recipients is available at the Agilent Thought Leader Program webpage.