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  • (applause)

  • >> WELL, HELLO TO EVERYBODY AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH

  • FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY AND DR. CONNOR TO COME IN

  • AND SPEAK HERE AT GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

  • I'M HAPPY TO BE WITH YOU TODAY.

  • UM, I HAVE ONE RULE FOR MY PRESENTATIONS WHEN I GIVE THEM

  • AND THAT IS THAT WE KEEP THINGS INFORMAL.

  • SO, IF THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS PARTICULAR DISCUSSION,

  • YOU FEEL COMPELLED TO RAISE YOUR HAND

  • AND ASK A QUESTION OR INTERJECT OR WHATEVER,

  • I INSIST THAT YOU DO IT.

  • LET'S KEEP THIS AS DISCUSSIONAL AS POSSIBLE.

  • WE'VE GOT AN HOUR AND A HALF TOGETHER, AND, UH...

  • I HAVE ABOUT A MILLION SLIDES TO GO THROUGH.

  • SO, DEPENDING ON HOW MY NERVOUSNESS IS, THEY'LL BE DONE IN SIX MINUTES

  • OR, YOU KNOW, A COUPLE HOURS.

  • SO, WE'LL SEE HOW THIS GOES.

  • UH, SO, YEAH, IT IS QUITE A LONG TITLE TO MY PRESENTATION TODAY,

  • AND IT'S, "WILL YOU BE ABLE TO PREORDER THE SEX, HEIGHT, HAIR COLOR,

  • "PERSONALITY OF YOUR NEW BABY?

  • "AND IF YOU CAN, SHOULD YOU?"

  • SO... UH-OH.

  • THERE WE GO.

  • SO, I'VE KINDA CONDENSED THAT TITLE TO BE "GENOMICS & YOU."

  • SO, BEFORE WE GO REALLY FARTHER TODAY...

  • I HAVE TO GIVE THIS DISCLAIMER, AND THIS IS ACTUALLY IMPORTANT

  • AND THERE'S A REASON THAT I'M DOING IT.

  • SO, I WANT YOU ALL TO UNDERSTAND THAT I'M HERE TODAY

  • AND I'M NOT REPRESENTING MY COMPANY.

  • I'M REPRESENTING MYSELF AND MY EXPERIENCES,

  • AND ANYTHING THAT I SAY OR IMPLY COMES COMPLETELY FROM ME

  • AND NOT FROM ANYTHING THAT MY COMPANY DOES OR BELIEVES IN...

  • OR WHAT HAVE YOU.

  • SO, THIS IS ALL ME, NONE THEM.

  • AND THE REASON THAT I'M MAKING THIS DISCLAIMER

  • IS BECAUSE WE'RE GONNA HEAD INTO SOME MURKY WATERS...

  • AND A LOT OF PEOPLE FIND THE THINGS THAT I'M GONNA TALK ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL.

  • AND I WANT TO BE FREE TO TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF WITH YOU

  • AS AN INDIVIDUAL PERSON IN SOCIETY,

  • RATHER THAN A REPRESENTATIVE OF A COMPANY,

  • WHO MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT AGENDA AND SHAREHOLDERS TO ACCOUNT FOR.

  • SO, THIS IS ABOUT US TODAY.

  • UM, JUST TO EXTEND A LITTLE BIT ON THE INTRODUCTION,

  • SO THAT YOU CAN DECIDE FOR YOURSELF WHETHER OR NOT

  • YOU'D LIKE TO BELIEVE ANYTHING I HAVE TO SAY.

  • SO, I DID GET SOME TRAINING, EARLY ON, AT HILLSDALE COLLEGE.

  • I STUDIED BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY.

  • I WENT TO OHIO UNIVERSITY AND I GOT A PhD IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY,

  • AND I STUDIED ONE PART OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

  • CALLED "POST-TRANSCRIPTIONAL PROCESSING,"

  • WHICH JUST BASICALLY HAS TO DO WITH THE ACTIVITY OF THE GENOME.

  • I WAS OF RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

  • IN THE DIVISION OF EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS,

  • WHERE WE TRIED TO DEVELOP DRUGS TO FRONT-LOAD SOLDIERS WITH--

  • BEFORE THEY WENT INTO BATTLE,

  • SO THAT IF THEY WOULD WALK INTO A FIELD OF SARIN GAS,

  • THAT WE COULD GIVE THEM AN APPROPRIATE DRUG BEFOREHAND

  • AND THEY'D BE IMPERVIOUS TO THE DRUG.

  • ALL VERY SCI-FI MILITARY-TYPE STUFF...

  • BUT I ALSO WORKED AT THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE

  • DOING A BUNCH OF WORK AS A SCIENTIST, WITH CANCER.

  • BUT IT WAS ABOUT THAT TIME, IN MY EARLY 30s,

  • THAT I LEFT ACADEMIC RESEARCH

  • AND WENT OVER TO THE DARK SIDE OF BUSINESS,

  • AND I WORKED FOR A BIOTECH COMPANY CALLED AFFYMETRIX

  • AS AN APPLICATION SCIENTIST.

  • AND THEN, I HAD FIGURED IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA

  • TO START MY OWN COMPANY.

  • SO, YOU KNOW, THOSE SOMETIMES WORK OUT, SOMETIMES THEY DON'T,

  • AND WE DID OKAY WITH THAT,

  • BUT MY COMPANY, CALLED "TENEO SCIENCES"--

  • WE WORKED IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

  • AND WHAT WE DID WITH THAT COMPANY

  • IS TRIED TO DEVELOP ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES

  • THAT WOULD COMB THROUGH LARGE SETS OF GENETIC DATA

  • AND TRY TO MAKE SENSE OF IT.

  • AND YOU MAY UNDERSTAND WHY THAT'S IMPORTANT LATER,

  • BY THE END OF THIS TALK.

  • I'VE ALSO BEEN A CONSULTANT AND INVENTOR FOR SHADY GROVE CENTER

  • FOR PRE-IMPLANTATION GENETICS.

  • THIS IS A LARGE, EAST COAST IN VITRO FERTILIZATION CLINIC,

  • AND WE DEVELOPED TECHNOLOGIES TO INTERROGATE EMBRYOS

  • BEFORE THEY WERE IMPLANTED IN THE RECIPIENT FEMALE.

  • UM, I WAS A VICE PRESIDENT AT deCODE GENETICS,

  • WHICH IS AN ICELANDIC COMPANY, AND WHILE I WAS THERE,

  • WE WERE THE WORLD'S LARGEST GENETICS ANALYSIS COMPANY.

  • THEY'RE STILL QUITE LARGE.

  • AND THEY'VE BEEN SUPPLANTED BY COMPLETE GENOMICS,

  • WHERE I WORK RIGHT NOW,

  • WHERE WE DO WHOLE HUMAN GENOME SEQUENCING AND THAT'S IT.

  • THAT'S ALL WE DO.

  • THERE WE GO.

  • SO, I HAVE ONE MAJOR OBJECTIVE HERE.

  • (clearing throat)

  • IF I COULD BE ONE THING TODAY WITH ALL OF YOU,

  • I'D LIKE TO BRING WHOLE HUMAN GENOME SEQUENCING AND GENETICS

  • AND GENOMICS TO THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR MIND

  • AND GET YOU TO THINK ABOUT IT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS IN SOCIETY

  • AND IN YOUR LIFE AND PERHAPS EVEN IN YOUR CAREERS,

  • IF YOU ARE MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF HAVING A CAREER.

  • AND TO DO THAT,

  • I'M GOING TO GIVE A VERY HIGH-LEVEL LOOK AT GENOMICS AND GENETICS.

  • I'M NOT GOING TO GET INTO THE WEEDS OF HOW ALL THAT STUFF'S PUT TOGETHER

  • OR ANALYSIS IS DONE.

  • AND I WANNA MAKE THIS AS REAL AS POSSIBLE FOR ALL OF YOU.

  • AND SO, TO DO THAT, I'M GONNA GIVE YOU REAL EXAMPLES FROM REAL PEOPLE,

  • AND SOME OF THESE EXAMPLES WILL TEND FROM THE MUNDANE--

  • THE STUFF IN THE BEGINNING OF THE TALK--

  • TO RATHER EXOTIC STUFF TOWARDS THE END OF THE TALK.

  • OKAY, SO, IN THE PROCESS, I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR WITH YOU

  • ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FACT AND OPINION.

  • SO, I-- WHEN YOU WALK OUT HERE,

  • I WANT YOU TO BE ABLE TO SAY, "THESE ARE FACTS--

  • "THESE THINGS WE KNOW TO BE TRUE,

  • "AND THESE OTHER THINGS

  • "THAT GUY IN THE FRONT OF THE ROOM SAID WERE HIS OPINIONS,"

  • 'CAUSE THEY ARE JUST THAT.

  • BUT MY OPINIONS HAVE BEEN FORMED ON THIS SUBJECT,

  • TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS,

  • TALKING TO WORLD LEADERS IN GENETICS AND GENOMICS,

  • AND MY OWN PERSONAL OPINIONS.

  • OKAY.

  • SO, TO START OFF-- THE CENTRAL DOGMA OF D.N.A.

  • ACTUALLY, BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER,

  • I'D LIKE TO FIND OUT A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU.

  • HOW MANY STUDENTS IN HERE ARE IN PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR?

  • DON'T BE SHY.

  • HOW ABOUT SOCIOLOGY?

  • OKAY, HOW ABOUT BIOLOGY?

  • AND THAT WAS ONLY ABOUT, LIKE, HALF THE ROOM.

  • WHAT ARE THE REST OF YOU DOING?

  • NURSING?

  • OR WHAT ARE THE OTHER KINDS OF--

  • JUST GO AHEAD AND SHOUT OUT WHAT SOMEBODY ELSE IS DOING IN HERE.

  • >> PRE-MED. >> PRE-MED, GOOD.

  • >> CRIMINAL JUSTICE. >> CRIMINAL JUSTICE, EXCELLENT.

  • VERY GOOD.

  • ARCHITECTURE?

  • FANTASTIC.

  • YOU'RE GOING TO LIKE THE FIRST SLIDES.

  • OKAY, ALL RIGHT.

  • THAT'S GREAT.

  • AND I SEE THAT THERE'S SOME FACULTY IN HERE AS WELL.

  • IS THAT ALL FACULTY FROM GRCC?

  • YEAH?

  • OKAY.

  • OKAY...

  • SO, HERE IS THE VERY, VERY TRADITIONAL...

  • EXPLANATION OF D.N.A.

  • D.N.A. IS THE PLAN, RIGHT?

  • THIS IS HOW, FOR AGES, PEOPLE HAVE TALKED ABOUT IT.

  • IT'S THE ANALOGY THAT WE USE.

  • SO, IN OTHER WORDS, YOU KNOW, WHAT WE HAVE RIGHT HERE IS ON...

  • THE LEFT SIDE OF THE SCREEN, FOR ALL OF YOU--

  • IS SORT OF A BLUEPRINT RENDERING OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S "FALLING WATER."

  • THAT'S THE BLUEPRINT FOR HIS BEAUTIFUL HOME

  • IN PENNSYLVANIA, "FALLING WATER."

  • AND SO, THE ANALOGY WOULD GO

  • THAT THE D.N.A. ITSELF IS A SIMILAR PLAN,

  • AND THAT THAT PLAN CREATES AN ORGANISM-- IN THIS CASE, THE HUMAN.

  • SO, I THINK THAT-- I THINK THAT THAT IS...

  • AN OLD FASHIONED WAY TO THINK ABOUT D.N.A.

  • AND NOT REALLY TOTALLY CORRECT.

  • SO, MORE THAN JUST THE PLAN, D.N.A.-- YOUR GENOME--

  • IS A INSTRUCTION MANUAL.

  • IT DOES MORE THAN JUST LAY OUT WHAT THE STRUCTURE OF THINGS SHOULD BE.

  • IT IS THE SET OF DIRECTIVES THAT ARE REQUIRED

  • TO CREATE, GROW, MATURE,

  • OBSOLETE, AND KILL AN ORGANISM.

  • ALL THIS IS CONTAINED WITHIN IT.

  • AND WE PASS THIS INFORMATION FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION

  • THROUGH HERITABILITY.

  • SO, I THINK IT AS THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL, FULL OF DIRECTIVES.

  • (clearing throat)

  • SO, MANY OF YOU HAVE HAD THIS IN YOUR INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY CLASSES,

  • PROBABLY FROM HIGH SCHOOL ONWARDS, BUT IT'S WORTH REVIEWING RIGHT NOW.

  • ESSENTIALLY, WHAT IS THE GENOME?

  • WHAT IS THE LOCATION AND ORGANIZATION OF THE GENETIC MATERIAL?

  • SO, EVERY SINGLE CELL IN YOUR BODY HAS-- EXCEPT FOR THE BLOOD CELLS--

  • HAS A NUCLEUS,

  • WHICH IS A SUB-CELLULAR ORGANELLE THAT HAS CHROMATIN--

  • CHROMOSOMES-- THAT MAKE UP THE GENOME.

  • THOSE CHROMOSOMES ARE COMPOSED OF D.N.A.

  • NOW, D.N.A. ITSELF IS A POLYMER

  • THAT HAS FOUR DIFFERENT BASES IN IT-- A, C, T, AND G--

  • AND THESE THINGS ARE STRUNG TOGETHER IN A CERTAIN SEQUENCE.

  • SO, THIS SEQUENCE OF A, C, Ts, AND Gs IS WHAT IS THE DIRECTIVE.

  • THAT'S THE BOOK, ESSENTIALLY,

  • THAT DECIDES HOW THINGS ARE GOING TO GO

  • FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF AN ORGANISM.

  • SO, MY JOB-- MY COMPANY, AND WHAT MOST COMPANIES

  • ARE INTERESTED IN RIGHT NOW, IS TO DETERMINE, "WHAT IS THE SEQUENCE?

  • "WHAT IS THE ACTUAL ORDER OF THESE As, Cs, Ts, AND Gs,

  • "AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR DISEASE,

  • "HEALTHCARE, AGING, AND MANY OTHER THINGS?"

  • OKAY, I LOVE THIS PICTURE.

  • THIS IS A FALSE COLOR SCANNING ELECTRON MICROGRAPH

  • OF THE HUMAN CHROMOSOME NUMBER TWO.

  • I THINK IT'S ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, THAT WE GET TO SEE THESE THINGS.

  • SO, WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT HERE IS A SET OF MOLECULES, ESSENTIALLY.

  • IT'S THAT FINE OF RESOLUTION.

  • EVERY CELL IN YOUR BODY, ESSENTIALLY, HAS A FULL COMPLEMENT OF CHROMOSOMES...

  • JUST LIKE THIS.

  • AND SO, IN THE UPPER LEFT THERE

  • IS WHAT WE CALL A KARYOTYPE SPREAD,

  • AND THIS IS THE CHROMOSOMES THAT HAVE BEEN CONDENSED

  • AND ISOLATED FROM A CELL AND LAID OUT FOR MICROGRAPHY.

  • AND ESSENTIALLY, THERE ARE 23 CHROMOSOMES.

  • THERE'S 22 SETS OF CHROMOSOMES THAT ARE CALLED "AUTOSOMES."

  • MALES AND FEMALES HAVE AUTOSOMES-- 22 SETS OF THEM.

  • THEN, THERE'S SEX CHROMOSOMES-- "X" AND "Y"--

  • FEMALES HAVE TWO "X," MALES HAVE ONE "X" AND ONE "Y."

  • SO, COMPRISING THIS WHOLE GENETIC COMPLIMENT,

  • THE GENOME IS 6 BILLION NUCLEOTIDE PAIRS.

  • SO, WHEN I WAS GOING TO SCHOOL,

  • EVERYBODY SAID THAT THERE WERE 3 BILLION NUCLEOTIDE PAIRS, ALL RIGHT?

  • IS THAT THE NUMBER THAT MOST OF YOU HAVE HEARD?

  • THE TRUTH IS, THERE'S TWICE THAT MANY,

  • BECAUSE YOU HAVE PAIRS OF CHROMOSOMES.

  • YOU CAN SEE THAT EACH ONE OF THESE IS A CHROMOSOME PAIR,

  • WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE SEX CHROMOSOMES RIGHT THERE.

  • SO, IT'S TWICE THAT MANY-- THERE'S 3 BILLION-- OR 6 BILLION PAIRS.

  • AND THERE'S ABOUT 23,000 GENES

  • THAT MAKE AROUND 400,000 DIFFERENT PROTEINS.

  • SO, IN ADDITION TO D.N.A. BEING THE DIRECTIVES--

  • SET OF DIRECTIVES, THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL--

  • I'D LIKE YOU TO THINK ABOUT D.N.A. AND THE GENOME

  • AS THE ULTIMATE INFORMATION REPOSITORY.

  • THIS SEQUENCE THAT'S PUT TOGETHER IN THE GENOME

  • IS ABLE TO ENCAPSULATE EVERYTHING THAT'S REQUIRED,

  • EVERYTHING THAT YOU ARE THINKING RIGHT NOW,

  • ALL OF YOUR MEMORIES, WITHOUT THE D.N.A. TO CONSTRUCT THAT BRAIN,

  • TO CONSTRUCT THE COMPUTERS--

  • THIS IS THE ULTIMATE INFORMATION REPOSITORY.

  • OKAY.

  • TRANSLATIONAL AND GENOMIC MEDICINE.

  • IS THERE ANYBODY IN HERE

  • WHO KNOWS THE DEFINITION OF "TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE"?

  • ANYBODY BRAVE ENOUGH TO ADMIT IT?

  • OKAY, ALL RIGHT.

  • SO, THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

  • THIS IS, UM-- THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO AFFECT ALL YOUR LIVES.

  • IT'S GOING TO AFFECT MY LIFE...

  • BUT PARTICULARLY BECAUSE MOST OF YOU IN HERE ARE YOUNGER.

  • THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE GONNA SEE MANIFEST THROUGHOUT,

  • YOU KNOW, THE NEXT FIVE TO FIFTY YEARS.

  • WE'RE-- BIG, BIG CHANGES IN MEDICINE ARE UNDERWAY,

  • AND THEY ARE THE CHANGES OF TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE.

  • SO, ESSENTIALLY, TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE IS AN INTEGRATED APPROACH

  • TO RESEARCH, DIAGNOSIS, AND TREATMENT OF MEDICAL AFFECTATIONS,

  • WHERE WE'RE LEVERAGING THE TOOLS OF SCIENCE, OKAY?

  • SO, WE'RE TRANSLATING THE TOOLS OF SCIENCE

  • DIRECTLY INTO CLINICAL PRACTICE.

  • MEDICINE ITSELF IS BECOMING MUCH MORE SCIENCE THAN IT USED TO BE

  • AND MUCH LESS ART.

  • SO, EVEN IN THE AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY, PSYCHIATRY,

  • WHERE YOU'RE MAYBE NOT THINKING OF IT IN TERMS OF, LIKE,

  • "I'M GONNA CUT SOMEBODY OPEN WITH A SCALPEL,"