Episode 7 ─ Diabetes and Data: Discovering Drug Targets and Biomarkers

Nowadays science is often driven by patterns in big data. What can we learn from the data and how can finding patterns help us understand chronic diseases better? And, where do we start? 

Perhaps we start with human genetics research on a little island in the North Atlantic with about 350,000 inhabitants.

Iceland is a small society with a healthcare system rooted in clinical and health registries. As a result, people have contributed to biomedical research over the years by sharing their genetic and medical data with researchers worldwide. Combining this wealth of data with modern technologies makes for great opportunities to further our understanding of our genes' role in disease development.

In fact, human genetics research has identified thousands of genetic variants associated with disease risk, but we do not yet understand their molecular and cellular mechanisms.

We need to make such data actionable in the biotech and pharma industries if we want to discover biomarkers and create new therapies to help patients with high, unmet needs.

Listen as experts in bioinformatics, drug targets, drug discovery, and biomarkers discuss data and the interdisciplinary field of systems medicine.

Episode info


  • Valborg Guðmundsdóttir, research scientist at the University of Iceland, and the Icelandic Heart Association

  • Henrik Björk Hansen, principal scientist at the biotech company GUBRA


  • Gretchen Repasky, Communications Director, Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine and University of Helsinki


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