Conferences archive > 2009 > SPEAKERS & ABSTRACTS

George M. Weinstock

George Weinstock, Ph.D. joined Washington University in 2008 where he currently serves as Associate Director of The Genome Center and Professor of Genetics. Prior to his move to St.Louis, Dr. Weinstock was at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where he served as Co-Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics. During his tenure at Baylor Dr. Weinstock was one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project during the period of rapid expansion of large-scale genome sequencing.     Dr. Weinstock's research interests focus on using genome analysis to connect genotype to phenotype and uncover fundamental biological principles. He applies high-throughput DNA sequencing, genome-wide analysis, bioinformatics, and other genetic methods to the study of human, model organism, and microbial genomes. He plays a lead role in genome projects including those for human, rat, mouse, cow, macaque, marmoset, orangutan, dolphin, wallaby, sea urchin, honey bee, beetle, wasp, acorn worm, Drosophila melanogaster and pseudoobscura, Dictyostelium discoideum, Ascosphaera apis, and Acanthamoeba. He also directs the sequencing of microbial genomes, and has produced over 100 bacterial genome sequences for infectious disease, evolutionary, and other studies, starting with Treponema pallidum (syphilis) which was published in 1998.     Presently Dr. Weinstock is applying next generation sequencing to microbial genomics, drastically reducing costs and expanding the number of organisms under study. This includes studying the human microbiome, which is the collection of microbes that colonize the human body. The goal of this work is to analyze the genomes of these organisms, characterize the communities they form, and measure how communities change in different health and disease states.     In addition to microbial and model organism research, Dr. engaged in human genome sequencing and human disease mutation discovery. He was one of the lead investigators in the first next-generation sequencing of an individual human genome, that of Dr. James Watson, and has pioneered in the development of targeted gene sequencing methods.     Other Biographical Information: Dr. Weinstock received a B.S. degree from the Univ. Michigan (Biophysics, 1970), a Ph.D. from MIT (Microbiology, 1977) and did his postdoctoral research at Stanford Univ. Medical School (Biochemistry Department). In 1980, he joined the NCI-Frederick Cancer Research Facility and established the DNA Metabolism Section, Laboratory of Recombinant DNA. In 1984, he moved to The Univ. Texas-Houston Health Science Center (Dept. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1984-95; Dept. Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, 1995-2001). In 1998 he began his role as Co-Director of the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center and in 2008 he moved to his present positions at Washington University.

Next Generation Microbial Genomics: The Human Microbiome Project.

New DNA sequencing technologies are having a major impact on microbial and infectious disease genomics through dramatic reductions in cost and increases in data production. One of the more impressive applications is in the study of the Human Microbiome - the collection of all  organisms  that  colonize the human body. One aspect is  the ability to sequence thousands of individual organisms, for example to build a catalog of the human microbiome. Another major application is the sequencing complex communities of microbes (metagenomes) from different health states to correlate the microbiome to health and disease. Other applications include deep sequencing of patient samples to discover new (viral) etiologic agents. The impact on our view of human biology of these applications and technologies will be discussed.

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