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Professor Housman's research focuses on the identification and characterization of genes involved in human diseases using high-throughput mapping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). He and his colleagues have developed a rapid genotyping technology to determine the genetic roots of neurodegenerative disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. The same approach can now be applied to determining the genetic basis of pharmacological response. Inter-patient variability in drug efficacy, metabolism and toxicity introduces considerable unknowns that can obscure results in human clinical trials.
Professor Housman is interested in developing a system that includes cell-based screening of compounds using cells derived from different genetic backgrounds ("virtual patients"), combined with rapid genotyping to identify genetic markers linked to drug response and toxicity. This system can be used, along with conventional preclinical profiling methods, to qualify drug candidates before they are advanced to expensive clinical trials.
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