About the event
Hosted by: Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Guest Speaker: Prof. Simon Easteal, National Centre for Indigenous Genomics
Location: Australian Human Rights Commission, L3, 175 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
The science of genomics is at the heart of extraordinary new discoveries and technologies that are transforming medical practice. Genomics enables information about a person's DNA to be used for diagnosis and the treatment of disease. For this to happen, however, a person's genome must be examined along with the genomes of many other people. At the moment we know a lot about the genomes of people of European ancestry, but much less about the genomes of people from other parts of the world, and almost nothing at all about the genomes of Indigenous Australians.
Without this knowledge, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be excluded from many of the benefits that flow from human genomics research. Rather than helping to close the health gap, these developments in medical science may actually cause it to open up even further.
The National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG), led by an Indigenous-majority Governance Board, is working with Indigenous communities to create a database of genome sequences that will ensure that as medical science advances, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are not left behind. NCIG is creating the framework needed to ensure that Indigenous Australians are included, in ways that they decide, in the health, economic, educational and social benefits of advances in genome science.
Biography: Professor Simon Easteal
Director, National Centre for Indigenous Genomics
Simon Easteal is a Research Professor at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the ANU, where he has been the Deputy Director and is now Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics. He was born and raised in Sri Lanka, educated there, in Scotland and in Australia and has held academic appointments in the USA, Fiji and Australia
He has a wide range of research interests and a strong commitment to understanding the broader societal implications of his research. He is interested in the evolutionary interplay between humans and their environments, how this interplay has made us such a diverse species, and how it impacts our health and wellbeing. This evolutionary perspective provides a framework for understanding the impact of human diversity on health.
Prof Easteal has served on numerous editorial boards, advisory committees, government taskforces, working parties and other bodies in public and private organisations, and he has provided expert opinion in relation to genetic evidence used in court cases in most Australian jurisdictions. He founded a personalised medicine company, and has been a member of the scientific advisory boards of two biotechnology companies.
As the Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics he is committed to ensuring that Indigenous Australians are included in the health and other benefits of genomic science.
Watch live 20 June 2016, 12:30pm