UNT Transdisciplinary Converence on Ancestral Genomics & African-American Disease Susceptibilities

940-565-4972

A conference 

and Making Genomics Relevant to ALL 
April 17, 2020 - April 18, 2020    University of North Texas 

 

UNT Transdisciplinary Conference on Ancestral Genomics: Exploring Medical Paradoxes

 

We are pleased to announce the opening of Registration for the April 17-18, 2020 UNT Transdisciplinary Conference on Ancestral Genomics. This Inaugural two-day Conference will launch an annual 5 year series, bringing together leaders in the fields of ancestral genomics & genetics, biology, medicine, evolutionary history, nutrition and other relevant fields as they relate to underrepresented populations. 

The April 2020 meeting will focus on those African-American health disparities that may be linked to clues in the medical literature described as "paradoxes".  What is, however, being referenced are maladaptations caused by the translocation of an ethnic population's ancestral gene variants from their original ecological environment to the uniquely different ecology of the United States.  New theoretical models will be developed to lend insights into what are generally labeled "paradoxes" in the medical literature, relating to six disease susceptibilities in African-Americans of slave descent: Hypertension, Kidney failure, Metastatic Prostate Cancer, Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Type II Diabetes and Obesity. 

 

Future meetings will use these innovative methodologies to tackle the role of ancestral genomics and disease susceptibilities in global populations as well as underrepresented demographic groups in the U.S., which include Latinos/Hispanics and Native Americans.  The upcoming forum will also bring together specialists from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation,  National Library of Medicine, the Cooperative Human Tissue Network, the Food and  Nutrition Board, Precision Medicine and the National Center for Biotechnology Information to educate our research community on industry standards for ancestral genomic approaches.  Workshops will be set up to establish collaborations for future research directed at our goal of diminishing the one-size-fits-all approach to human genomics.  These sessions will also address a range of issues. including the authentication of ancestral cell lines, improved methods in bioinformatics data-gathering, ancestral adaptations to diverse nutritional environments, and effective methods for recruiting underrepresented populations to participate in medical studies. 

 

JOIN US IN WORKING TO MAKE GENOMICS MORE RELEVANT TO ALL

I

  • INVESTIGATE new, inclusive approaches to Genomics Research involving Underrepresented Groups.

  

  •  ATTEND Workshops on cutting-edge methods led by scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation & the National Library of Medicine.

  • EXPLORE  opportunities for transdisciplinary collaborations with medical researchers, geneticists, biologists, evolutionary historians, medical anthropologists, pharmacologists and  other specialists.   ​

 

Areas of Interest

This Inaugural Conference will create a dynamic space for the intersection of transdisciplinary fields and professions, with the overarching goal of diminishing the one-size-fits-all approach to human genomics.  Included among the areas of interest are the following: 

  • Bioethics​​ 

  • Bioinformatics

  • Biomedical Translation

  • Epidemiology

  • ​Ethnic Health Disparities

  • Ethnic Oncology​

  • Ethnopharmacology

  • Evolutionary History

  • Genetics & Genomics

  • Medical Anthropology

  • Nutrition in an Ethnically Diverse Society 

  • Population Genetics 

Conference Schedule at-a-Glance

The Conference workshops and panels will take place on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18, 2020.  Registration fees will include dinner on Friday, April 17, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, April 18, 2020 

 

Friday, April 17, 2020

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.   REGISTRATION

2 p.m.                 Welcome

                            Professor Jennifer Wallach, [author of Getting What We Need Ourselves: How Food Has Shaped                                    African American Life; UNT  Department of History]     

2:10                     Introduction -WHY SHOULD AFRICAN-AMERICANS OF SLAVE ANCESTRY                                                                          BE GIVEN A UNIQUE GENOMIC PROFILE? Professor Constance B. Hilliard                                       

2:35                     SPEAKER:  

3:20                    Break

3:30 – 4:30         WORKSHOP SESSION I: THE CHALLENGES OF TRANSLATING BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH                                                 INTO  PRACTICE WITHIN A MULTIETHNIC (ONE-SIZE-DOES-NOT-FIT-ALL) SOCIETY  
                           [National  Center for Biotechnology Information & the National Library of Medicine] Dr. Kim Pruitt


4:30 - 5:30            WORKSHOP SESSION II: RESPONDING TO THE AUTHENTIFICATION CRISIS IN ANCESTRAL                                           LINES   [Cooperative Human Tissue Network]  Dr. Shannon McCall, 

 

5:30 - 6:30         PLENARY SESSION: METABOLIC DISEASE & ANCESTRAL NUTRITION IN A MULTI-ETHNIC                                              SOCIETY. Dr. Patrick J. Stover, [Texas A&M AgriLife Research Director,   leads                                                                        the Institutes  for Precision Nutrition, Responsive Agriculture and Health 

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.    Dinner SPEAKER  Dr. Rick Kittles [Geneticist, City of Hope Medical Center, CA]
 


Saturday, April 18, 2020

8 – 8:45               REGISTRATION  & PIPELINE POSTER SESSION PRESENTATION

8:45 – 9:45 am   Special Interest Workshop:  PIPELINE, EDUCATION & TRAINING [NIH &NSF]   Dr. Sharon Milgram  

8:15 – 8:30 am  Opening Plenary Session: (Prof. Dorothy Bland) 

9 - 10 am            PANEL  SESSION I:  RETHINKING THE ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL MEDICAL PARADIGM & HOW SHOULD                                RACIAL CLASSIFICATIONS BE USED IN GENOMIC MEDICINE? 
                                    
10 – 11 am         PANEL  SESSION II:  TRACKING DOWN AFRICAN-AMERICAN DISEASE-CAUSATIVE                                                           VARIANTS WITH HISTORICAL, ANTHROPOLOGICAL & ECOLOGICAL DATA   (Prof. Alice Popejoy) 
                    
11:15 – 12:15       PANEL SESSION III:    ANCESTRAL TRPV6  CALCIUM ION CHANNEL AND AFRICAN-AMERICANS                                   HIGHER SUSCEPTIBILITY TO TRPV6-EXPRESSING TRIPLE NEGATIVE & METASTATIC PROSTATE                                    CANCERS  (Prof. Alexander Sobolevsky)                 
                    
12:30 – 1:30       Lunch 
 
1:30 - 3:00        THINK TANK SESSION: Conference participants will have an opportunity to develop collaborative                                    research focused on ancestral genetic-niche populations (rather than race), disease type,                                                repositories, GLP/authenticated biobank.    

                                           
3:00 – 4:00      PANEL SESSION IV: BIOINFORMATICS, ANCESTRAL DATABASES &  DELINEATING ANCESTRAL                                      POPULATIONS    (Patricia Francis-Lyons)


4:00 – 5:00    PANEL SESSION V: BEST PRACTICES --RECRUITING  UNDERREPRESENTED POPULATIONS TO                                   MEDICAL STUDIES  (Rafiki Cai)

5:30 – 5:45         Closing Plenary Session: Dr. Pudur Jagadeeswaran 
 

 
 

Our Speakers, Panel Moderators  & Workshop Leaders 

Dr. Patrick Stover   

Texas A&M University AgriLife Research Director,  leads the Institutes for Precision Nutrition, Responsive Agriculture and Health

Dr. Sharon Milgram 

 Director of the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) at the National Institutes of Health 

Dr. Alexander Sobolevsky

Columbia University

Professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and specialist in ion channel signaling of ancestral and derived gene variants, using cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, electrophysiology and biophysical techniques.

Rafiki Cai

Chief Technology Officer of Friends of The Congo, community leader and specialist on the recruitment of minorities to clinical trials   

University of North Texas (UNT) Conference Planning Committee

 

Prof. Dorothy Bland, MBA

 Communications Specialist and Journalism Professor 

Dr. Chandra Carey

Chair of Department of Rehabilitation & Health Services

Dr. Constance Hilliard, CHAIR

Evolutionary Historian and Ancestral Genomics Theorist

Dr. Kate Imy

Historian and Managing editor of the British Journal for Military History

Dr. Pudur Jagadeeswaran

Medical geneticist and specialist in laboratory use of zebra fish for prostate cancer diagnosis

Dr. Denise Simmons

Research Scientist  

Dr. Nancy Stockdale

Historian of the Middle East & Gender Studies

Dr. Xuexia Wang

Mathematical Geneticist and Cancer Research Statistican

Constance Hilliard, Ph.D.

University of North Texas

Author of Ancestral Gene Variants (AGV) Model of Ethnic Disease Susceptibility and Professor of African Evolutionary History

Dr. Shannon McCall

Director of the Duke BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center (Duke BRPC), and Principal Investigator for the National Cancer Institute's Cooperative Human Tissue Network Southern Division

Dr. Rick Kittles

City of Hope National Medical Center

Geneticist and founding director of the Division of Health Equities at the City of Hope National Medical Center.

Dr. Alice Popejoy

Stanford University

Public health geneticist and computational biologist, working at the intersections of evolutionary genomics, statistical genetics, and the ethical, legal, social implications (ELSI) of genomics research.

Dr. Patricia Francis-Lyon

University of San Francisco

Bioinformatics researcher and specialist in cancer disparities in underrepresented populations

Dr. Kim Pruitt

Dr. Pruitt is a staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at NIH and heads the Reference Sequence Database

 

Register Now & Sign-up for One of Our Research-in-Action 

 THINK TANKS

These THINK TANKS will be platforms for sharing ideas, finding solutions to shared research problems, networking with like-minded colleagues and forming transdisciplinary collaborations. They will meet the morning of April 17, 2020.

 

(If you wish to participate in a THINK TANK, register first, choose one of the THINK TANKS below, and send an email to ancestral.genomics.conference@gmail.com with your name &  selection. )  

THINK TANK 1  Replacing Race with Ancestry in Medical Research 
…. 

THINK TANK 2  Diversifying vs. Stratifying the Reference Genome:


THINK TANK 3  Rethinking One-Size-Fits-All Federal Nutritional Standards

 

THINK TANK 4  Authenticating Cell Lines


THINK TANK 5  TRPV6 Gene Variants & Cancer Susceptibility

 

THINK TANK 6  Differentiating Pharmacogenomics from Racialized Medicine

 

Register Now & Sign-up for One of Our Research-in-Action 

 THINK TANKS

These THINK TANKS will be platforms for sharing ideas, finding solutions to shared research problems, networking with like-minded colleagues and forming transdisciplinary collaborations. They will meet the  afternoon of April 18, 2020.

 

(If you wish to participate in a THINK TANK, register first, choose one of the THINK TANKS below, and send an email to ancestral.genomics.conference@gmail.com with your name &  selection. )  

THINK TANK 1  Replacing Race with Ancestry in Medical Research 
…. 

THINK TANK 2  Diversifying vs. Stratifying the Reference Genome:


THINK TANK 3  Rethinking One-Size-Fits-All Federal Nutritional Standards

 

THINK TANK 4  Authenticating Cell Lines


THINK TANK 5  TRPV6 Gene Variants & Cancer Susceptibility

 

THINK TANK 6  Differentiating Pharmacogenomics from Racialized Medicine

 

Registration Open Now (meals incl) - Early Bird 20% Discount until Jan 31 

 

Blog

Contact

Constance Hilliard, Ph.D.

1155 Union Cir    Denton, Denton County 76203
 

940-565-4972

 

©2019 by UNT Transdisciplinary Conference on Ancestral Genomics, Denton, TX 76203

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ABSTRACT SUBMISSION

The Planning Committee of the UNT Transdisciplinary Conference on Ancestral Genomics & African-American Disease Susceptibilities is pleased to invite authors to submit abstracts of their original research for oral/slide presentations and posters to be delivered at its April 17-18, 2020 meeting.  The deadline for abstract submissions is January 31, 2020.  Decisions on presenters will be made within 2 weeks.

The Following Topics will be given priority:

New questions arise when we examine underrepresented populations in their ancestral context.  This inaugural Conference will focus on African-Americans of slave ancestry and develop models, which can become the focus of subsequent conferences in this series. Some of the most pressing issues related to African-American health disparities that this meeting will explore relate to:

 

 

 

How should racial classifications be used in genomic medicine?   African-Americans of slave origins possess an admixture profile that is on average 75%  interior-Niger-Kordofanian West African DNA, 24% Northern European DNA and 1% Native American DNA.  They do not carry the same genomic profile as Nigerian-Americans, who are of predominantly coastal-Niger-Kordanian ancestry.  And yet, they are both categorized as belonging to the same race.  Given the growing accuracy of  DNA testing, can or should ancestry be used in place of racial categories?

What are the most cost effective and medically beneficial fix to diversifying the reference genome an approach that regularly adds patches of non-European populations to it?  Or, if the goal is reducing the number of gene variants in non-Europeans that are tagged “rare” or VUS (Variants of Unknown Significance) should more emphasis be placed on identifying discrete ancestral genomes, which recognize the genomic adaptations of diverse ancestral populations to their unique environmental niches?

 

How should genomic medicine grapple with the fact that different sets of gene variants or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs)  trigger what appear to be the same traits or diseases in different genetic populations?  (Europeans share one trigger for lactase non-persistence, Tanzanians have a different one, and their Kenyan neighbors have another one altogether).

 

What role should the African genome play in medical research since it carries the full range of human genetic variation and thus contains within it the possibility of disease breakthroughs that might benefit the entire human species?  (Were HeLa cells unique in their immortality or a harbinger of other discoveries yet to be made in the unexplored African ancestral genome?)    

 

Does the One-Size-Fits-All or colorblind approach to medical research silently racialize Europeans by universalizing their genomes and applying it to all human populations? 

 

Are African-Americans more susceptible to TRPV6-expressing cancers ((Metastatic Prostate Cancer, Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Ovarian Cancer) than other U.S. demographics?  If so is the ancestral TRPV6a calcium ion channel variant the culprit?

 

Is the TRPV6a variant more calcium absorbent than the derived (European) TRPV6b variant? If so, might overexposure to free calcium ions trigger a higher susceptibility to TRPV6-expressing cancers in populations who carry the ancestral TRPV6a variant?

 

Do all humans have the same dietary calcium needs?  The Niger-Kordofanian West Africans consume 200-300 mg/calcium/day but have minimal rates of osteoporosis.  Americans of Northern European origin consume 1000-1200 mg/calcium/day, but are at high risk of fragile bone diseases.  Could high calcium consumption trigger potential malignancies or preeclampsia in childbirth for African-Americans and other populations who have strong bones despite a lower than USDA-required calcium intake?  Should U.S. calcium intake be stratified by ancestry rather than based on a one-size-fits-all model? 

 

In order to avoid misdiagnosing African-Americans with kidney disease, U.S. laboratories have added a correction factor to this genetic population’s eGFR score. Should other biological values be stratified by ancestry in order to provide a more accurate picture of health in a particular population? 

 

Do all humans have the same dietary sodium needs?  The Niger-Kordofanian ancestors of African-Americans inhabit the sodium-deficient interior of West Africa.  They are genetically adapted to consuming 200-300 mg/day/sodium, levels that would be too low even to meet the survival needs of coastal West Africans.  Does transition from a low-sodium ancestral diet to the current 3400 mg/sodium/day intake trigger salt-sensitive hypertension and kidney failure in African-Americans? Should U.S. sodium intake be stratified by ancestry rather than based on a one-size-fits-all model.

What advances are being made in ethnopharmacology that may be of special benefit to African-Americans?