About Dhavendra Kumar

Since 1980 Professor Dhavendra Kumar has pursued a career in Genomic Medicine in the United Kingdom. In 1990 he became a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Genetics. He is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics (FACMG) and as well as Royal Colleges of Physicians of Ireland & London and The UK Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health.

International Conference on Green Chemistry and Technology (ICGCT-2008)

This International Conference, held on 27-28 November 2018, considered safe and environmentally friendly scientific developments for the benefit of developing nations like India. Professor Kumar discussed genome technology applications in medicine and healthcare as an example for environmentally friendly biotechnology developments. The GMF-UK is invited by the Uttaranchal University, Dehradun to continue advising on the curriculum for applied biosciences and healthcare as part of the India’s programme for climate and environment improvement.

The First Indo-UK Training Workshop on ‘Current Trends in Genomic and Molecular Medicine

This three days event was one of its kind and offered opportunity to medical and science Faculty, Clinicians and postgraduate trainees to understand and enhance the current status of genomic and molecular medicine as applied to the current and future practice of clinical medicine and healthcare. The workshop was supported by the Royal College of Physicians in London and was awarded 15 hours of Category 1(External) continuous professional development (CPD) credits.

The overseas Faculty included Professor Kumar (Cardiff), Professor William Newman (Manchester), Professor Patricia Munroe (London) and Professor Indu Singh (Gold Coast, Australia). The workshop was hugely successful with excellent feedback. This event is likely to be held again.

The main outcome of this workshop is the commitment made by the King George’s Medical University, the oldest and one of the best in India, to set up and offer a new 3 years MPhi/PhD programme in genomic and molecular medicine. Professor Kumar is the Lead Overseas Faculty and assigned with the task of developing the curriculum, assessment criteria and process for overall conduct of this new higher degrees programme.

The GMF-UK Medical Director, Prof. Dhavendra Kumar emphasized, through the Indian media, the urgent action needed on the current and future state of genomic medicine education in a developing nation like India. Prof. Kumar explicitly urged the Medical Council of India and other Governmental institutions responsible for medical education. He categorically recommends inclusion of genetics and genomics in the undergraduate curriculum (MBBS) and also in other postgraduate medical courses.

Genomics & Synthetic Biology Series UK

In this International Conference latest cutting edge data was presented by a cohort of leading genomics experts from different aspects of research and medical practice. Professor Kumar shared his views on the scope and limitations of next generation genome sequencing in the diagnosis and management of inherited cardiovascular conditions. He highlighted emerging challenges for interpreting complex uncertain genome variants data. He emphasized the need for continued skills development though targeted genomic education.

The Helical Path of Clinical Genetics – Climbing the DNA

The Athena Swan Lecture”, Cardiff University Medical School, 8th November 2018

Professor Kumar received the Athena Swan award and was invited to share his career development and lifetime achievements in clinical genetics & genomics. In his presentation, he highlighted difficulties in career developments particularly establishing in medical genetics and genomics. He emphasized, using few examples from his own collections. He focused on the need for multi-faceted genetic and genomic education, beginning from early stage of medical or scientific career.

Genomics- Population, Medicine and Society

Professor Kumar on behalf of GMF-UK co-organized and participated in this International Conference held in Haifa, Israel from 2-5 October 2018. He organized and led a session dedicated to ‘Genomics and Society and Religion’. Major theme was societal attitudes towards genetic diagnosis and genomic testing. Leaders representing the Jewish, Anglican Church and minority Druze took part in panel discussion. The panel agreed jointly that while faith is important in guiding and supporting every day life challenges, no faith or religion would deny or interfere the scope of potential benefits of any new scientific developments including genomics. It was generally agreed that the awareness and freedom in genomics led health issues would require public and media levels genomic education.

Molecular Genetics of Stroke

Stroke is an important clinical problem because of its large contribution to mortality. The main causal and treatable risk factors for stroke include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and smoking. In addition to these risk factors, recent studies have shown the importance of genetic factors and interactions between multiple genes and environmental factors. Genetic linkage analyses of families and sib-pairs as well as candidate gene association studies have implicated several loci and many candidate genes in predisposition to ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, or subarachnoid hemorrhage. Recent genome-wide association studies identified various loci and genes that confer susceptibility to ischemic stroke or intracranial aneurysm. Such studies may provide insight into the function of implicated genes as well as into the role of genetic factors in the development of ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Clinical and Genetic Aspects of Sudden Cardiac Death in the Practice of Sports Medicine

Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of non-traumatic mortality in young (<35 years old) athletes, with recent data suggesting the incidence to be higher than what was previously estimated. The vast majority of deaths are caused by silent hereditary or congenital cardiac disorders. Over the last decade, advances in our understanding of both the genetic and clinical mechanisms underlying these conditions, particularly those associated with a structurally normal heart, have led to advances in diagnosis and management including interventions and lifestyle modifications that aim to minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Coupled with effective screening programs, other strategies such as emergency response planning and the use of automated external defibrillators have also emerged as strategies in preventing and treating sudden cardiac arrest.

This book aims to provide an overview of the genetic and clinical aspects of SCD in young athletes, with particular emphasis on the specific issues related to diagnosis and management that these unique group of individuals pose to a physician. Specific diagnostic and management dilemmas will be illustrated through clinical cases and the most up-to-date guidelines regarding participation in sport outlined.

The Molecular Biology of Chronic Heart Failure

The clinical syndrome of chronic heart failure (CHF) is the hallmark of progressive cardiac decompensation, one of the most common chronic medical conditions that affect around 2% of the adult population worldwide irrespective of ethnic and geographic origin (Anonymous). Apart from ischemic heart disease, hypertension, infection, and inflammation, several other etiologic factors account for irreparable and irreversible myocardial damage leading to heart failure (HF). Genetic and genomic factors are now increasingly identified as one of the leading underlying factors (Arab and Liu 2005). These factors may be related to pathogenic alterations (mutation or polymorphism) within specific cardiac genes, mutations in genes incorporating single or multiple molecular pathways (protein families) relevant to cardiac structure and/or function, genetic or genomic polymorphisms of uncertain significance (gene variants, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and copy number variations (CNVs)), and epigenetic or epigenomic changes that influence cardiac gene functions scattered across the human genome. Recent genetic and genomic studies in both systolic and diastolic ventricular dysfunction, the hallmark of CHF, have revealed a number of mutations in genes belonging to specific cardiac protein families. For example, around 200 mutations are now known to exist in around 15 genes coding for several different types of sarcomere proteins (Liew and Dzau 2004). The sarcomere protein family, alone, accounts for the bulk of inherited cardiomyopathies including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), and left ventricular (LV) non-compaction (LVNC). In addition, there are several other potentially relevant factors involving different genes and genome-level elements. This article presents a systematic account on the available factual information and interpretations based on genetic and genomic studies in CHF (Liew and Dzau 2004). Genomic and molecular approaches have opened the way for a renewed debate for taxonomy of CHF (Ashrafian and Watkins 2007). The review draws attention to the potential diagnostic and therapeutic implications of genomic and transcriptional profiling in HF and translational genomics research that is likely to permit greater personalization of prevention and treatment strategies to address the complexities of managing clinical HF (Creemers, Wilde et al. 2011).

Clinical and Molecular Aspects of Motor Neuron Disease

In this e-book, motor neuron disease (MND) shall refer to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common neurodegenerative disorder affecting both the upper and lower motor neurons. With the discovery of C9ORF72 expansions in approximately 10% of all MND cases, in certain populations, we stand at the brink of a new era of MND research and hopefully treatment facilitated by the ability to associate a relatively large group of patients with a similar disease mechanism. This review will summarise both current clinical management of MND and our present understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of MND. Study of C9ORF72-MND has the potential to rapidly advance both of these aspects in the coming years.

In the first section, we will discuss the clinical features of MND and describe how patients with this devastating condition present, are investigated, and managed in the 21st century. Although, currently, management is limited by an incomplete understanding of disease pathophysiology, there is much which can be done to assist and support patients with MND. In the following sections, we will discuss molecular mechanisms implicated in MND, highlighting observations which unify different theories. Particular attention will be given to placing proposed mechanisms within the clinical course of MND. Furthermore, novel therapeutic targets will be discussed.

The Molecular Biology of Neurofibromatosis Type 1

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common autosomal dominantly inherited, tumour predisposition syndrome affecting 1/3,000-4,000 individuals worldwide. This inherited disorder results from the mutational inactivation of the NF1 gene on human chromosome 17. The NF1 gene contains 61 exons that give rise to 12kb mRNA encoding neurofibromin. The 327kDa (2,818 amino acid) neurofibromin protein is expressed in most tissues and has a number of alternative isoforms. Neurofibromin is a tumour suppressor protein and down-regulates cellular Ras. Increased active Ras-GTP levels also stimulate the important PI3K/AKT/mTOR signalling pathway that protects cells from apoptosis.

The major clinical featues of NF1 include multiple café-au-lait macules, skinfold freckles, iris Lisch nodules, and neurofibromas. The diagnostic criteria for clinical diagnosis have been well established. However, there are a small number of cases in which the diagnosis is not certain. The germline mutation rate for the NF1 gene is 10-fold higher than that observed for most other inherited diseases. Using a combination of different techniques, almost 95% of germline mutations can be detected. To date, only two firm genotype phenotype correlations have been reported. NF1 phenotype exhibits large variations within a family, evidence for modifying loci regulating the expression of an NF1 gene is beginning to emerge. We also are gaining knowledge on the molecular mechanisms associated with the development of different types of tumours. It is encouraging that the results of recent laboratory and clinical research are finally being translated into clinical trials. With the availability of high-throughput technologies, sophisticated animal models, and multi-centre clinical trials, the future for NF1 sufferers is looking optimistic.

This book aims to provide an overview of the genetic and clinical aspects of NF1 and its role in both NF1-associated and sporadic tumour development. It emphasizes the recent developments in this field and some of the promising on-going clinical trials.