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GEN’s editor in chief, John Sterling, interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Scientists at Merck Research Laboratories and their collaborators published two studies online in Nature on March 16 providing evidence that genetic susceptibility to obesity involves changes in entire networks of genes and is not limited to mutations in several specific genes. The work also showcases how genomic techniques may be used to understand the complex changes at the root of common diseases where multiple complex genetic changes are thought to be involved.

During this week's GEN podcast, Merck scientist Dr. Eric Schadt, a senior author on both studies, provides additional details on the main conclusions of the research project. He talks about specific methods for identifying and unraveling the complex interactions at the molecular and cellular levels that impact the initiation and development of disease. In addtion, Dr. Schadt discusses how his team's work differs from previous research in this area. Dr. Schadt also looks at the implications of his group's published studies as they relate to disease research in general.

Eric Schadt, Ph.D., is recognized as a world renowned expert in the field of genetics. His research has helped define a new field in statistical genetics -- the genetics of gene expression -- and has led to a number of discoveries relating to the causes of common human diseases. He is currently executive scientific director of Research Genetics for Rosetta Inpharmatics, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Schadt has made significant contributions to genetics research and to Merck Research Laboratories. He has developed and applied methodologies that allow for combining gene expression traits with other clinical traits to identify genes with a high probability of causing a diseased state. This has led to the identification of numerous novel drug targets that are now having a major impact on Merck's discovery pipeline. In addition to these contributions, Dr. Schadt has also established an outstanding international reputation at the forefront of Systems Biology.


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