The revolution in genome research has provided us with a unique perspective on the blue print plans for human health and disease susceptibility. It has proven, however, more complex than at first thought. Much DNA does not code for specific genes or functions, and there are very complicated controlling and suppressing functions.
Attention is turning to understanding how genes themselves are controlled and how the vast array of proteins they code for interact to produce our unique features.
Understanding functions is the key challenge in this new post-genome era and it is this challenge, needing as it does large multi-disciplinary teams to unravel, that the Medical Foundation Building is designed to address. Biomathematicians, biochemists, medics, epidemiologists and biologists will work together to unlock the secrets of our health and susceptibility to individual diseases.
The investment that the University of Sydney and its partners are making in this new precinct of scientific excellence will pay off in improved understanding of disease and its treatment for many years to come.
Molecular genetics of common human diseases: Professor Juergen Reichardt (2005-2009)
Professor Juergen Reichardt’s research is on the molecular genetics of common human diseases. Human diseases can be caused by single genes or by the interaction of multiple genes. The molecular and genetic bases of single gene disorders, such, as sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis and others, is well understood and improves diagnosis and therapy. In fact the research group led by Juergen Reichardt PhD cloned the genes responsible for galactosemia, a disease that impairs milk sugar metabolism in humans. The Reichardt Group also identified the genetic lesions responsible for this disease.
Unfortunately, the much more common diseases caused by multiple genes, such as heart disease and cancer, are not as well understood. Developing molecular and genetic pictures of such common diseases would be of great public health benefit by improving diagnosis and treatment and perhaps even leading to prevention.
This team of scientists is intent on unravelling the molecular and genetic basis of common ailments, such as prostate cancer and atherosclerosis, among others. They are taking advantage of the new knowledge garnered through the now complete sequencing of the human genome.
As human geneticists and biochemists the Reichardt Group wishes to understand how the human genome, in conjunction with the environment, such as diet, produces the multitude of human phenotypes (or the immediate cause of human disease and the object of genetic selection). This research team is particularly interested in the contribution of human genetic variation to common, complex, significant public health problems. The Reichardt Group also has an interest in understanding the genetics of human metabolism and genetic variation thereof.