In this episode of Trends from the Trenches, host Stan Gloss speaks with Heidi Rehm, PhD, Chair Elect of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), about data sharing policies and standards that can advance both genomics and health. Rehm discusses the benefits of data sharing on a global scale, how organizations can reduce friction of people’s usage and adoption of standards, and successful examples of implementation. She also shares her thoughts on the future of AI, “data citizenship,” and how the COVID-19 pandemic paved a hopeful road of new opportunities for researchers everywhere to work together and share data to help humanity.
Heidi Rehm, PhD, FACMG
Heidi is the Chief Genomics Officer in the Department of Medicine and at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) working to integrate genomics into medical practice with standardized approaches. She is a board-certified laboratory geneticist, Medical Director of Broad Clinical Labs and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, using these roles to guide genomic testing for clinical and clinical research use. She is a leader in defining standards for the interpretation of sequence variants and a principal investigator of ClinGen, providing free and publicly accessible resources to support the interpretation of genes and variants. Rehm also co-leads the Broad Center for Mendelian Genomics with Anne O’Donnell focused on discovering novel rare disease genes and co-leads the Matchmaker Exchange to aid in gene discovery. She is a strong advocate and pioneer of open science and data sharing, working to extend these approaches through her role as vice chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. Rehm is also a principal investigator of the Broad-LMM-Color All of Us Genome Center supporting the sequencing and return of results to a cohort of one million individuals in the US and co-leading the gnomAD database.
Rehm received her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. She completed her PhD in Genetics at Harvard University studying the genetic and pathological basis of Norrie Disease, a deaf-blindness syndrome, and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, expanding her studies into the genetic basis of hearing loss.