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Center for Human Genomic Medicine and Research Joins JHU Montgomery County Campus

SisirDutta.jpgDr. Sisir Dutta, a former genetics professor at Howard University, has established the Center for Human Genomic Medicine and Research. The nonprofit center is a new tenant at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus.

Dutta, 89, originally from India, received his bachelor’s degree in plant genetics and breeding. He went on to work as a research scientist for the Department of Agriculture in India. After moving to the United States and receiving a Ph.D. in biochemistry, he taught at Texas Southern University. In 1967, he became a biology and genetics professor at Howard University, a position he held until he retired in 2004.

During his career, he guided more than 200 students through Ph.D. and post-doctoral work in genetics. He also did extensive research regarding genomic biomarker medicine. Biomarkers are biological measurements that can be used to predict the risk of disease; they can be used to detect diseases earlier and to determine which treatments might be most effective.

Dutta’s work largely focused on heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease in South Asians; South Asians are at particularly high risk for these ailments. Effective biomarkers can help researchers develop medications and diagnose the diseases in preliminary stages.

One major motivation of his work through the years, Dutta said in an email, was identifying and developing biomarkers for “personalized, preventive and predictive medicine.”

Dutta established the Center for Human Genomic Medicine and Research to promote his research. The Center will create a cloud-based database of Dutta’s work and the work of his students so that other researchers can access the information, according to Vinod Ghildiyal, the organization’s administrator. The center’s goal is to provide the latest research to the scientific community regarding heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes among people from South Asia.

The Center joined the JHU Montgomery County Campus community in February, just two months after the center was created. Approximately 35 companies are located on the campus.

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