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Susquehanna Life

Geisinger Precision Health Center to host GenomeFIRSTTM Symposia

May 13, 2015 09:26PM ● By Erica Shames

Geisinger Health System will hold the first in an ongoing series of GenomeFIRST conferences on May 19th and 20th at the Precision Health Center at 190 Welles Street in Forty Fort. The Symposium entitled, "Changing the Lives of Patients with Familial Hypercholesterolemia" will examine this underdiagnosed, life threatening and treatable genetic disorder that can cause heart attack and stroke at an early age.

“Each of the symposia focus on early diagnosis of life threatening conditions and highlight prevention and management of risk.” said Michael F. Murray, M.D., director of Clinical Genomics in Geisinger’s Genomic Medicine Institute. “These symposia will function as meetings where people gather to learn and exchange ideas about important topics in clinical genomics.”

The Familial Hypercholesterolemia symposium will feature speakers such as Christopher J. O’Donnell, M.D., MPH, associated director of the Framingham Heart Study and associate clinical professor at Harvard Medical School; Katherine Wilemon, founder and president of the FH Foundation; and Murray Feingold, M.D., founder and physician-in-chief of The Feingold Center for Children at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Geisinger speakers include Caroline F. Graham, CRNP, from cardiology; Marc S. Williams, M.D., director of the Genomic Medicine Institute; and Dr. Murray.

Dr. Murray said the symposia will have a relatively small live audience present at the Precision Health Center in Forty Fort.  However all are invited and welcome to join via a live, free web-link. The symposium will run from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on May 19, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 20. Information is available at

“The Genomic Medicine Symposia will have three target audience groups - patients and patient advocates, clinicians who care for patients, and researchers and scientists interested in the genomic basis of the condition,” he said.

The second symposium, scheduled for October, will focus on the BRCA genes and the inherited risk for breast cancer, a subject of widespread interest in the wake of actress Angeline Jolie’s public disclosure of her preventive surgeries after being diagnosed with the genetic condition.

Geisinger opened the Precision Health Center on April 20 of this year. The 14,000-square-foot, $562,000 facility will be home to highly specialized teams from Geisinger’s Clinical Genomics and Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI), and will serve as the primary location for Geisinger Research in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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