San Diego – Noted genomic researcher Samuel Levy, Ph.D., has joined Scripps Health’s genomic medicine program as director of genomic sciences.
Levy has extensive knowledge of the sequencing and analysis of human genomes. He was the leading scientist on the first published diploid genome sequence of a human, that of J. Craig Venter, Ph.D. This groundbreaking work identified an extensive class of DNA variation that had not previously been identified, and under his leadership, Levy’s team provided pioneering analyses on how individual human genomes could be characterized.
This experience in refining the structure and function of the human genome was further developed by defining methods for genome sequencing of clinical samples as funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Through this mechanism within the NHLBI, Levy has worked with many of the nation’s leading research groups to provide high-throughput discovery of DNA variants for disease association studies.
Levy joins Drs. Eric Topol, Nicholas Schork and Sarah Murray at the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI). Levy will direct the human genome sequencing efforts at STSI, employing state-of-the-art, massively parallel DNA sequencing methods, enabling clinicians and scientists an unparalleled understanding of genetic changes in human samples. In support of the augmentation of DNA sequencing efforts, Levy will assist in building a high-throughput computer infrastructure to permit the timely and accurate analysis of DNA sequence data. In the field of biomedical genomic research, the timely generation and analysis of DNA sequence from human genomes remains a major impediment to adopting these approaches in a clinical setting. In collaboration with his colleagues at STSI, Levy will work to push back and ultimately remove these barriers for the wide-scale adoption of genomic analysis in the clinic.
He will also direct STSI’s integrated genomics program as supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award. This program fosters interactions and collaboration between all of the leading genomics and other comprehensive biological disciplines (so-called “omic” sciences like transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics, glycomics, metabolomics), currently working in the San Diego region. Levy’s experience working on large genomics projects with multi-disciplinary research teams will enable STSI to further and enhance current and future collaboration with other genomics institutes and clinical groups. An ongoing collaboration with the J. Craig Venter Institute aimed at understanding the genetic underpinnings of healthy aging will in particular benefit.
Before joining Scripps, Levy was director and professor in human genomics at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Rockville, Md. In addition to leading the first successful effort to sequence, assemble and analyze an individual human genome, Levy’s work with JCVI explored how DNA polymorphisms correlate with individual susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and how sequencing methods can be used to define important functional changes in cancer genomes.
Previously, Levy was a senior scientist and lead informatics researcher for Celera Corp. in Rockville, Md., where he was involved in developing computational tools for gene discovery and was part of the team in early 2001 that published an initial human genome assembly. Earlier, he was an independent investigator in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. Levy received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and has a doctorate in cell and computational biology from the University of Bristol in the U.K.
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2 billion nonprofit community health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 12,700 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, 19 outpatient centers, clinical research services and home health care services.
Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education.