Molecular Diagnostics in Pediatrics: Future of Precision Medicine

Sabah Kadri, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Advances in next generation sequencing (NGS)-based genomic testing has revolutionized the field of clinical diagnostics. With the identification of an increasing number of genetic biomarkers in somatic oncology as well as germline genetic disorders, genomic tests provide strong diagnostic utility for patient care. The range of genomic anomalies that are diagnostic of various diseases can vary from a single point mutation to aneuploidy. NGS assays have the potential to detect variants of most sizes in a single assay. This talk will focus on clinical genetic testing efforts at Lurie Children’s Hospital, highlighting pediatric test validations and computational advances. The potential for cutting-edge computational biology methodologies to ease clinical bottlenecks and improve test performance will be described. The expansion of precision medicine has led to significant changes in bringing genetic testing in-house, as the next wave of clinical testing using whole genome sequencing (WGS) is being planned.

Bio: Sabah Kadri, PhD is the Director of Bioinformatics and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where she leads efforts in bioinformatics for precision medicine in pediatrics, including setting up clinical genomics tools and pipelines in the cloud. She was previously the Director of Bioinformatics at the Genomic and Molecular pathology division at the University of Chicago, where she led the design, implementation and support of clinical testing for oncology including development of novel tools and pipelines for cutting-edge next generation sequencing (NGS) applications, such as UCM-OncoPlus, a comprehensive diagnostic 1200 gene panel that can perform variant calling, copy number, gene-fusion, and MSI detection. With a background in computer engineering, Dr. Kadri earned a PhD in Computational Biology at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) using an interdisciplinary approach to study small noncoding RNAs in echinoderm development. In 2012, she joined the Lander Lab at the Broad Institute, where she continued working on noncoding RNA populations such as large non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) and end-RNASeq technologies. Dr. Kadri has significant expertise in NGS technologies and her research work has been focused on using the power of NGS methods innovatively in the field of computational genomics. In addition to clinical NGS testing, she has worked with various types of RNASeq data, including total, small, and end RNAseq to study gene expression, alternative splicing and annotation.