David M. Margulies, M.D., executive director of the Gene Partnership at Children’s Hospital in Boston (CHB) and a member of the faculties of the Division of Developmental Medicine, the Center for Biomedical Informatics, and the Division of Genomics at the Harvard Medical School, will deliver a Croxton Lecture titled “Towards Precision Care” on Monday, April 22, 2013, in Merrill Science Center 4, at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public. New York governor Mario Cuomo; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner; and Stephen Jay Gould, professor of geology at Harvard University are among Amherst’s past Croxton Lecturers.
Soon, it will be practical to study an individual’s DNA and RNA in order to characterize disease and plan treatment with much greater accuracy than is now possible. Functional genomics and bioinformatics are now being used to define the underlying biologic mechanisms that give rise to common illnesses and phenotypes. In the not-too-distant future, we will routinely grow specific tissues from a small snippet of skin and evaluate the effect of drugs, small molecules, and other bioactive substances on this tissue as a part of planning to treat a person’s illness. Dr. Margulies’s talk will describe some of the science and technology that is leading us toward the era of “precision care.” The lecture will hold particular interest for those contemplating a career in medicine, the biosciences, or biotechnology, or those who acknowledge the possibility of needing effective treatment for a serious illness in the decades to come.