Manjit Kaur completed her MS (Microbiology) from University of Maryland, USA; an MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. She is an Interdisciplinary Scientist trained in microbiology, clinical pathology, infectious diseases, recombinant vaccines (cholera and malaria), biotechnology and human genetics and genomics. She previously worked for Academia, the Department of Defense and the private sector, before arriving at National Institute of Health, USA (2001), to work on neural tube defects. She now manages International Program at NHGRI that helps fi ll the knowledge gap in genetics and genomics in developing/genetics resource poor countries.
Genomics is increasingly becoming the backbone of all biomedical research and clinical application. Inherited and de novo disorders are adding to the burden of disease and disability in developing countries and straining their resources. Advances in human genetics and genomic research now make it possible to prevent, diagnose and treat many genetic and congenital birth defects; and proven strategies help manage unanticipated conditions. Unfortunately, many countries lack trained geneticists and the subject is not included in their curriculum, thus making it diffi cult to address these issues. To help fi ll the knowledge gap, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) developed ISHGG, a 5-year initiative (2016-2020), to assist developing countries build capacity in genetics and genomics. In 2016 and 2017, NHGRI sponsored professionals (n=19, n=26), from multiple health-allied disciplines, from several countries (n=13, n=24). Th e summit included didactics, clinics, fi eld trips, workshops and a patient-panel. Pre- and post-surveys conducted helped gauge knowledge about the subject, interest and learning among people. Th e results indicated that the summit was a unique learning opportunity for participants and speakers, and its continuance was encouraged. One-year outcomes from the 2016 summit included collaborations (27), publications (54) and grants (24). Annual feedback from participants on their eff orts in genetics/genomics, indicates that the summit is making good progress in achieving its goals of promoting genetic and genomic research and medicine through international cooperation and collaboration; identifying and fi lling the knowledge gap in genetics and its related technologies in developing countries and help reduce the burden of disease and disability in these countries.