Qatar Genome ProgrammeWe recently spoke with Qatar Genome Programme (QGP) Manager Dr. Said Ismail, during which he spoke about their attempts to build a research consortium to consolidate the international work they were doing. Last week it was officially announced that the QGP was launching the consortium to study genetic and phenotypic data from Qatar Biobank.

More than 90 genomics researchers gathered to launch QGP’s research consortium (QGPRC), the largest project of its kind in Qatar. QGP, Qatar Biobank, Sidra Medical and Research Centre, Hamad Medical Corporation, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Qatar Computing Research Institute, and Qatar University were all represented at the launch. Many of the Qatar-based investigators also have international collaborators to work with during the programme.

Asmaa Al Thani, Chair of the QGP and Vice Chair of Qatar Biobank said in a statement, “Inaugurating this research consortium is a critical next step on the path towards precision medicine. By bringing together so many researchers from a variety of institutions, Qatar Genome Programme is helping coordinate the nationwide effort to map the Qatari genome.”

The focus of the QGPRC will be on identifying the key features of the Qatari genome, with the overall goal of improving individualised treatments for their citizens and developing disease prevention programmes throughout the country. The research is being made possible by the vast data collection within Qatar Biobank, which can provide both phenotypic and genetic data for a wide range of participants.

“One of the key pillars of the Qatar Genome Programme’s strategy is forging research partnerships with institutions in Qatar, as well as fostering international collaboration,” said Dr. Ismail. “QGPRC, which involves key stakeholders from across the research spectrum in Qatar, significantly strengthens those relationships.”

The QGP has said that by consolidating their research efforts within Qatar, they hope to be able to leverage the widest range of resources and expertise possible. They also hope to avoid duplication or contradiction within their research, and to offer equal access to Qatar Biobank’s data across the different organisations involved in the programme.

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