Learn how GA4GH helps expand responsible genomic data use to benefit human health.
Learn how GA4GH helps expand responsible genomic data use to benefit human health.
Our Strategic Road Map defines strategies, standards, and policy frameworks to support responsible global use of genomic and related health data.
Discover how a meeting of 50 leaders in genomics and medicine led to an alliance uniting more than 5,000 individuals and organisations to benefit human health.
GA4GH Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the global GA4GH community.
To guide our collaborative, globe-spanning alliance, GA4GH relies on a Standards Steering Committee and an Executive Committee.
The Funders Forum brings together organisations that offer both financial support and strategic guidance.
The EDI Advisory Group responds to issues raised in the GA4GH community, finding equitable, inclusive ways to build products that benefit diverse groups.
Distributed across four Host Institutions, our staff team supports the mission and operations of GA4GH.
Curious who we are? Meet the people and organisations across six continents who make up GA4GH.
More than 500 organisations connected to genomics — in healthcare, research, patient advocacy, industry, and beyond — have signed onto the mission and vision of GA4GH as Organisational Members.
These core Organisational Members are genomic data initiatives that have committed resources to guide GA4GH work and pilot our products.
This subset of Organisational Members whose networks or infrastructure align with GA4GH priorities has made a long-term commitment to engaging with our community.
Local and national organisations assign experts to spend at least 30% of their time building GA4GH products.
Anyone working in genomics and related fields is invited to participate in our inclusive community by creating and using new products.
Wondering what GA4GH does? Learn how we find and overcome challenges to expanding responsible genomic data use for the benefit of human health.
Study Groups define needs. Participants survey the landscape of the genomics and health community and determine whether GA4GH can help.
Work Streams create products. Community members join together to develop technical standards, policy frameworks, and policy tools that overcome hurdles to international genomic data use.
GIF solves problems. Organisations in the forum pilot GA4GH products in real-world situations. Along the way, they troubleshoot products, suggest updates, and flag additional needs.
NIF finds challenges and opportunities in genomics at a global scale. National programmes meet to share best practices, avoid incompatabilities, and help translate genomics into benefits for human health.
Communities of Interest find challenges and opportunities in areas such as rare disease, cancer, and infectious disease. Participants pinpoint real-world problems that would benefit from broad data use.
See all our products — always free and open-source. Do you work on cloud genomics, data discovery, user access, data security or regulatory policy and ethics? Need to represent genomic, phenotypic, or clinical data? We’ve got a solution for you.
All GA4GH standards, frameworks, and tools follow the Product Development and Approval Process before being officially adopted.
Learn how other organisations have implemented GA4GH products to solve real-world problems.
Help us transform the future of genomic data use! See how GA4GH can benefit you — whether you’re using our products, writing our standards, subscribing to a newsletter, or more.
Help create new global standards and frameworks for responsible genomic data use.
Align your organisation with the GA4GH mission and vision.
Solve your real-world data problems with support from this valuable network of global institutions.
Work with like-minded groups committed to better data use in areas like rare disease, cancer, and infectious disease.
Share your thoughts on all GA4GH products currently open for public comment.
Solve real problems by aligning your organisation with the world’s genomics standards. We offer software dvelopers both customisable and out-of-the-box solutions to help you get started.
Learn more about upcoming GA4GH events. See reports and recordings from our past events.
Speak directly to the global genomics and health community while supporting GA4GH strategy.
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Read news, stories, and insights from the forefront of genomic and clinical data use.
Attend an upcoming GA4GH event, or view meeting reports from past events.
See new projects, updates, and calls for support from the Work Streams.
Read academic papers coauthored by GA4GH contributors.
Listen to our podcast OmicsXchange, featuring discussions from leaders in the world of genomics, health, and data sharing.
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View the latest GA4GH updates, Genomics and Health News, Implementation Notes, GDPR Briefs, and more.
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14 Oct 2016
The Global Alliance for Genomics in Health (GA4GH) has appointed Ewan Birney PhD, Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and nonexecutive Director of Genomics England, to lead the consortium’s efforts to accelerate medical and research advancements through the responsible sharing of genomic and clinical data. Birney will assume the new role on 1 November.
HINXTON, UK — The Global Alliance for Genomics in Health (GA4GH) has appointed Ewan Birney PhD, Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and nonexecutive Director of Genomics England, to lead the consortium’s efforts to accelerate medical and research advancements through the responsible sharing of genomic and clinical data. Birney will assume the new role on 1 November.
DNA sequencing technology and analysis now offer crucial insights into disease and disease risk. The dramatic increase in new genomic information has the potential to transform both healthcare and biomedical research. Already, rapid DNA sequencing can allow some people with rare diseases to finally identify the genetic cause of their illness, ending their family’s protracted ‘diagnostic odyssey’. Predictive genetic testing can also empower individuals to take steps, in advance, to reduce their risk of developing a disease.
Beyond immediate clinical applications, on-going research into the nature of cancer is helping to identify genomic changes in tumors that can be targeted, leading to better treatments.
The GA4GH brings together over 430 data-science, healthcare, advocacy and life-science organizations – both commercial and not-for-profit – to unlock the potential of genomic data for improving human health. Its projects are designed to enable the large-scale sharing of data on genome sequences and clinical outcomes, which will allow researchers to find the molecular patterns underlying disease and health. Responsible, voluntary, secure data sharing will make it possible to draw on rich, international datasets and exchange knowledge globally, opening up tremendous possibilities for biomedical research.
The routine use of genomics in healthcare will generate a vast resource for secondary research, which could be used for discovery within an appropriate framework for ethics and patient consent.
“DNA sequencing is starting to make a big impact in healthcare, and we need to make sure research and healthcare are good partners,” says Birney, who offers his thoughts at Ewan’s Blog: Bioinformatician at large. “The technology has become far more accessible to users, and all the major digital, policy and medical landscapes are starting to converge. This is very good news for patients, clinicians and researchers, but to keep our momentum we need all the major players and innovators to focus on achieving shared goals.”
The GA4GH has covered a lot of ground since its founding meeting in 2013. Individual membership doubled in the past year to more than 800, representing 70 countries. GA4GH working groups and task teams have been addressing data standards and developing tools and resources, such as the Genomics API that will enable diverse systems in different countries to work together seamlessly.
To show how these tools can help transform genomic medicine and improve human health through data sharing, GA4GH has catalysed clinical demonstration projects such as Matchmaker Exchange, Beacons and BRCA Exchange to test the waters.
As Thomas Hudson MD of AbbVie, outgoing Chair of GA4GH, says, “The Global Alliance has grown very quickly in a short time, and all of our members acknowledge that working in silos with incompatible tools and methods is not the way. We have put a huge amount of effort into establishing a new way of working that makes sense for our members, and will bring the most benefit to patients in the longer term. Ewan brings a lot of experience in orchestrating large scientific consortia, and I am confident the Alliance is in good hands.”
Nazneen Rahman PhD of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, a member of the GA4GH Steering Committee, also looks forward to working with Birney. ‘The international reach and cross-disciplinary representation of the GA4GH puts us in a unique position to harness the power of genomics to make meaningful impacts on global health,’ she says. ‘Under Ewan’s energetic leadership, I have no doubt the GA4GH will continue to flourish.”
The GA4GH, initiated by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in the US, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Canada, now comprises research organizations, start-ups and global companies [https://genomicsandhealth.org/members].
David Altshuler PhD MD, of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the first Chair of GA4GH and a Steering Committee member, says: “Coordination between research, industry and healthcare delivery is critical to realizing the opportunities of genomics in medicine. As an original founder of GA4GH, I couldn’t be more pleased to see Ewan lead the organization towards implementation.”
Harold Varmus MD of Weill Cornell Medicine, Chair of the GA4GH Scientific Advisory Board, says: “I am personally delighted that Ewan, one of the world’s most accomplished genomic scientists, is willing to lead this organization. As Ewan knows and has shown in practice, making the best use of genomics data to advance human health hinges on data access. Under his leadership, the Alliance will be well positioned to continue its efforts to expand such access.”
Birney, incoming Chair of the Steering Committee, adds: “The Global Alliance is a remarkable endeavor, and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues across the world, from practicing healthcare to computational research, to deliver the genomic standards the world needs.”