State Hygienic Laboratory heading image.
Genomics
A boy plays with a toy that represents a DNA double helix.
A boy plays with a toy that represents a DNA double helix.

The Office of Genomics is involved in national discussions regarding generation of genomic data and the use of this data in public health programs. The State Hygienic Laboratory has next generation DNA sequencing technology in-house, and is an active participant in discussions that address the utility of this technology as well as the considerations for patient privacy.

The Office of Genomics is involved in national discussions regarding generation of genomic data and the use of this data in public health programs. The State Hygienic Laboratory has next generation DNA sequencing technology in-house, and is an active participant in discussions that address the utility of this technology as well as the considerations for patient privacy.

Genomics, the analysis of the sequence, structure and function of the genome, is seen as a significant improvement in personalized health. Knowing and understanding an individualís genome can enhance individual health through personalized treatments and preventions. The realm of genomics also extends into public health where the potential of predicting the severity of a bacterial, viral infection or genetic disorder represents a central mission of public health: preventing disease.

The purpose of the Office of Genomics is to explore the implications, challenges and opportunities associated with the use of genomic information, focusing on the newborn period. A team of internal and external experts from the fields of medicine, public health and general science help guide this new program.

A recent advance in public health laboratory technology is DNA sequencing using next generation sequencing (NGS). NGS data provides more sensitive and specific identification and characterization which improves public health intervention efforts. NGS is poised to dramatically impact multiple public health programs.

The Hygienic Lab is part of the national discussion related to the federal Office for Human Research Protectionsí revisions of the rules for protection of human research subjects, known as the Common Rule. Changes to this rule have impact in nearly every filed of public health. The Hygienic Lab is reviewing potential recommendations and providing comments as necessary to maintain the quality of the Iowa Maternal and Newborn Screening Programs.

The Hygienic Lab is collaborating with multiple internal and external investigators on projects to answer specific genomic-related questions. There were three primary areas of emphasis for this section.