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Translational Genomics Program

Developing RNA-based therapeutics for some of the most prevalent and costly diseases in society today.

Illustration of a strand of DNA

Program Director

  • Joseph Powell
    Professor Joseph PowellProgram Director - Translational Genomics / Director Garvan-Weizmann Centre For Cellular Genomics

According to the World Health Organization, complex diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, are responsible for approximately 60% of all deaths worldwide. And in Australia, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia.

Australia's most common complex diseases are cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative, and autoimmune diseases – and as our population ages, the prevalence of these diseases is expected to rise further. 

Utilising the latest advancements in genomics and cellular technologies we are assessing the impact of genomic changes at the level of individual cells in the body. Our findings will paint a highly nuanced picture of how DNA changes mediate disease, and how this differs between individuals. Using this knowledge, we will develop new RNA-based therapies designed to target the biological mechanisms of disease in specific cell types. In doing so, we will deliver the next generation of treatments with the potential to be more effective and to have fewer side-effects.

This is the largest project of its kind in the world. We are proud to partner with leading industry and academic partners, such as Illumina, 10x Genomics, Moderna, the UNSW RNA Institute, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to co-develop new RNA-based therapeutics.