7C Talk: “A Golden Age of Human Genetics,” Robert Gentleman, 23andMe

February 19, 2019 Add to Calendar

4:15–5:30 p.m.


Off Campus
Argue Auditorium, Millikan 1051, Pomona College


Tanja Srebotnjak


A talk by Robert Gentleman, VP of computational biology, 23andMe

"A Golden Age of Human Genetics"
We are entering a time when sample sizes are rapidly increasing and technologies are improving. This convergence allows us to explore the role that genetics has in human disease and other phenotypes, such as flavor preference, eye and hair color, height and weight. Simultaneously, we are increasingly able to link genetic variants to their likely causal mechanisms allowing us to identify potential drug targets to alleviate disease.

Robert Gentleman joined 23andMe in 2015 as vice president of computational biology. In this role, he focuses on the exploration of how human genetic and trait data in the 23andMe database can be used to identify new therapies for disease. Most recently, Gentleman served as senior director of bioinformatics and computational biology at Genentech. Prior to this role, he was head of the computational biology department at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Gentleman served as a professor at Harvard University, the University of Auckland and the University of Waterloo.

He has been awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award, a recognition for Open Access in the Life Sciences presented by the Bioinformatics Organization and is Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). Gentleman, along with Ross Ihaka at the University of Auckland, is also recognized as one of the originators of the R programming language, a widely-used programming language software environment for statistical computing and graphics. Gentleman was one of the founders of the Bioconductor Project. He a bachelor of science in mathematics from The University of British Columbia and holds a doctor of philosophy in statistics from the University of Washington.