National Indigenous Genomics Network

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is proud to be part of a new National Indigenous Genomics Network

21 September 2022

It is hoped the new network funded by the Federal government’s Genomics Health Futures Mission fund will significantly improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

The $5 million five-year project is being led by Professor Alex Brown, Head of Indigenous Genomics at Telethon Kids Institute, The Australian National University, and South Australian Medical and Research Institute.

Professor Brown said the national network will advance the benefits of Genomic Medicine for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have to date been excluded from national genomics efforts.

“Indigenous populations are not appropriately represented in genomic medicine, nor do they have equitable access to its benefits,” says Professor Brown.

“Australia is on the cusp of a new era in personalised medicine that will bring deeper insights into the architecture of rare diseases among children and common diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

“This network will establish the foundations on which Indigenous Australians can equitably benefit from the health-promoting, preventative, diagnostic and curative potential of genomics.”

Professor Jason Kovacic and several others from the Institute including Dr Johanna Barclay and Professor Sally Dunwoodie are part of a 50-strong team of Australian wide-researchers involved in the project.

Professor Jason Kovacic in his office in Sydney

Professor Kovacic, Executive Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, says: “We are proud to be part of a project that will bring the benefits of genomic medicine to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This incredibly important project has so much promise to improve health outcomes for a community with disproportionate rates of heart disease.”

Genomics can unlock the information in our DNA to enable personalised, more targeted approaches to the prevention and treatment of a range of health conditions including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as rare diseases among Indigenous children.

The national network will consist of six strategically located nodes in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Western Australia, Victoria, and South Australia.

The Indigenous Genomics Nodes will work in targeted areas to develop strong Indigenous governance, create data systems that put sovereignty at the heart of their operations, advance genomics policy, and build a workforce of Indigenous genomics researchers and clinicians.

The project involves researchers from The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, the Garvan Institute, Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, The University of New South Wales, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland University of Technology, CSIRO Health and Biosecurity Flagship, Queensland Health, Griffith University, The University of Queensland, Deakin University, The University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and the WA Department of Health.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years