Anas and Dr. Wise at conference

Oct 21, 2019 / Research & Innovation

Genetics Research Team Makes an Impact

Scottish Rite Hospital is committed to providing the best and most innovative care to every child who comes through our doors. Through research, hospital experts are able to analyze a particular disorder and conduct projects to find its cause.

Last week, members from our genetics team attended the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) annual meeting in Houston, TX. Founded in 1948, ASHG is the largest society worldwide for human genetics specialists. With almost 8,000 members, researchers, lab practice professionals, trainees and other specialists gathered to learn and discuss the latest findings in human genetics.  

Hospital scientist Anas Khanshour, Ph.D., presented his latest scoliosis genetic research. His study screened every single gene in the genomes of over 11,000 individuals to identify any changes associated with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) – the most common type of scoliosis seen in adolescents between the ages of 10-14. As a result, he found a risk factor in the COL11A1 gene that encodes a collagen protein that impacts the development and maintenance of the intervertebral disc. 

The hospital’s Director of Basic Research Carol Wise, Ph.D., participated in a specific session during the ASHG meeting – the National Institutes of Health Common Fund’s Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program. The Kids First program was established to develop a large-scale data resource to help researchers uncover new insights into the biology of childhood cancer and structural birth defects. This year’s meeting, titled “Accelerating Pediatric Genomics Research Through Collaboration,” gave attendees the opportunity to receive an update on the program as a whole and to present updated information on specific projects. Wise shared the results of sequencing more than 10 trillion base pairs of DNA in 94 families with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. This study, the first and largest of its kind, has opened new areas of research into the causes of AIS.

“It is an honor to partner with Kids First program,” says Wise. “The goals of the hospital and Kids First are very similar – to improve the lives of children through research. I am so pleased that we are represented within the Kids First Community, and that our research can impact not only our own patients but children around the world.”

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