#129 – DNA Today Rebroadcast Featuring Dr. Barbara Fortini

Dr. Barbara Fortini joins DNA Today host Kira Dineen to discuss the growing career opportunities in genomic data analytics. Fortini is the program director for KGI’s Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics program. She also teaches their genetic counseling students.

Her research interests focus on colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in the US. Genome-wide association studies have now identified dozens of common genomic variants linked to small increases in colorectal cancer risk. Her research group seeks to identify the functional variants responsible for the increased cancer risk at GWAS-identified loci and to understand the role of these variants in cancer etiology. Previous work has shown that many functional variants lie in gene enhancer elements, leading to allele-specific gene expression of both known cancer-associated genes and novel genes. By comprehensively characterizing risk loci, her team hopes to identify additional novel genes involved in colorectal cancer and better understand the role of enhancers in gene expression in healthy and cancer cells.