QCo PowerTalk

with Dr. Kumar Veerapen
Computational Scientist I, Broad Institute of MIT
and Harvard, USA & Massachusetts General Hospital, USA

Improving diversity and inclusivity in understanding the role of host genetics in COVID-19 susceptibility and severity



Thursday, 17 March 2022 / 10am - 11am (Malaysia Time)

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health issue that has ravaged multiple countries significantly. In addition, we are observing symptomatic variability across patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, we hypothesize that the human host genetics may be important in delineating this symptomatic variability. To address this hypothesis, we facilitated a global network of researchers to investigate the role of human genetics in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity.

In this talk, I will share the results of our genome-wide association meta-analyses comprised of up to 49,562 COVID-19 patients from 46 studies across 19 countries. Several of these loci correspond to previously documented associations to lung or autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The unique speed and efficiency of this global call to arms was only made possible for the strong community of human geneticists who were eager to solve this important question with openness for sharing data, results, and analytical frameworks.

About the Speaker

Dr. Kumar Veerapen
Computational Scientist I,
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, USA
Massachusetts General Hospital, USA

Dr. Veerapen is a Computational Scientist. His general research interests are in human genetic epidemiology, particularly in modelling and understanding complex genetic diseases. He is currently an Industrial Affiliate at Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He has also previously served as a Staff Scientist I and Postdoctoral fellow at Broad. Some of his notable work include polygenic inheritance of migraines in Finns and analysis of antidepressant use from longitudinal data in FinnGen. He was also the scientific communication lead for the covid-19 host genetics initiative (HGI). He is also an adjunct lecturer at UCSI University. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree (First Class Honours) in Biotechnology at UCSI University, Malaysia (advised by Renee Lim Lay Hong, Ph.D.) and completed his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences in 2016 at the University of Miami (advised by Olaf Bodamer, MD, PhD).

The QCo PowerTalk is a series of short and inspirational talks to disseminate knowledge and information related to advances in the fields of life sciences and technologies with influential researchers, scientists and experts from specialised domains.