Interview with Genomics Leadership :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

A Brief Conversation with Dr. Elaine Mardis and Dr. Rick Wilson

1. Why have you chosen to focus your research and clinical efforts on pediatrics?

We’ve been fortunate to play a role in the exciting and rapid advance of modern genomics, especially the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) to enable better understanding and diagnosis of human disease. This has been particularly inspiring for us with regard to the impact on a variety of pediatric conditions, ranging from developmental delay to metabolic deficiencies to cancer. We feel strongly that the application of NGS to diagnoses can add precision to therapeutic decision-making and other diagnostic assays.

2. What factors attracted you to Nationwide Children’s Hospital?  Were there factors that were unexpected?

The shared vision with Nationwide Children’s leadership for applying genomics to pediatric medicine was particularly compelling to us.  The enthusiasm with which our new colleagues have welcomed us has been especially encouraging.  This tells us the desire for including genomics in pediatric medicine is strongly felt across the organization.

3. What are the short- and long-term challenges for the field of genomics?

In the near term, there is a critical need for more basic and functional research to clarify the relationship of specific genomic changes to disease causation.  This need will enhance our collaborative interactions with scientists and clinicians in the Nationwide Children’s Research Institute. In the long term, genomics needs to demonstrate its critical role in precision diagnostics and clinical benefit so that insurers reimburse these tests, and health practitioners recognize their importance to precision health.

4. What has surprised you the most about your decision to join Nationwide Children’s?

Elaine:  I have been most surprised by the enthusiasm and encouragement of scientific colleagues worldwide, since we announced our plans to move to Nationwide Children’s.

Rick:  I would echo Elaine’s comment, and add that I just keep getting enthusiastic phone calls and emails from people at the hospital who I have yet to meet in person.  Can’t wait to get started!

5. You are moving to Buckeye Nation - Are you ready to adopt scarlet and gray as your favorite colors?

Elaine:  Yes!

Rick:  I grew up in Kent, Ohio, and my dad was a high school football coach who used to attend Woody’s coaching workshops, so I was fully indoctrinated as a child.  In preparation for my return to Buckeye Nation, I have pulled my vintage Archie Griffin replica jersey out of storage!

Nationwide Children's Hospital
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