Can we use DNA technology to improve lives?

Dr. Robert Hegele, Jacob J. Wolfe Distinguished Medical Research Chair, studies individuals’ genetic predispositions toward conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Through identifying genetic factors that can predict a shared family history of these conditions, Dr. Hegele dares to ask: can we use DNA technology to improve lives?

Dr. Robert Hegele is the Jacob J. Wolfe Distinguished Medical Research Chair as well Martha Blackburn Chair in Cardiovascular Research. He is a Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and the Director of the London Regional Genomics Centre.

Through the use of DNA sequencing technology, Dr. Hegele’s research examines the human genome for DNA markers which indicate whether an individual’s susceptibility to disease is inherited. Familial medical history has long been utilized by physicians to diagnose and treat patients; Dr. Hegele’s research creates a distinction between shared family history as a result of genetic makeup, and that as a result of shared social and environmental factors. The goal of his research is to be able to identify individuals who are genetically at risk for particular conditions, and employ preventative, personalized treatment to improve their outcomes.

Daring to Ask is a series that profiles Canada Research Chairs and Endowed Research Chairs at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. These researchers are advancing knowledge in their respective fields, asking and answering questions that challenge that status quo and seeking to improve patient care. It is essential research made possible by generous donors and the investment of funding agencies.