DNAtix, the blockchain genetics company, has announced it’s adding Prof. David Haymer from the University of Hawaii, to its board of advisors.
David S. Haymer is a Professor at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. Prof. Haymer does research in the use of DNA in Forensic Science as well as for other genetic and evolutionary applications. He is also the DNA consultant for the Hawaii Chapter of the Innocence Project, part of a national program to identify and correct wrongful convictions, and routinely consults on criminal cases involving DNA testing.
At the University, he also teaches a course on ethics in human genetics, and it is in this context that he is so pleased to be part of the work being done at DNAtix. In this course, he has long emphasized how important it is for people to retain control over access to their genome information. Especially now, as the cost of producing detailed genome information is becoming more widespread because it is easier and less expensive to obtain, the need for privacy is escalating dramatically. The technology developed at DNAtix is key to letting individuals maintain privacy and control over information about their own personal genetic makeup.
“Adding Professor Haymer to our team, strengthen our scientific advisory board, enabling us to work on diverse aspects of genetics and helping us to develop better suited products and services to serve the public”’ said Dr. Tal Sines, CSO for the company.
“Part of our core vision to reshape digital genetics is to allow users to have better access to genetic tests and services that in turn will advance the important shift from reactive to preventive medicine. To accomplish that you need a multidisciplinary team of experts advancing solutions for complexed challenges involving blockchain and genetics”. Said Ofer A. Lidsky, CEO of DNAtix.
Professor David Haymer received a Fulbright Award in 2016 recognizing his expertise in DNA-based methods for identification studies. His funded research has focused on using DNA markers for the identification and characterization of a wide range of insect species, many of which are extremely difficult to identify using traditional methods.
“Identification based on DNA tools goes far beyond humans, the use of such tools to make species identifications holds great potential for both broad studies of this vast biodiversity resource and for narrow applications such as discriminating between very closely related species,” said Haymer.
Haymer’s work is of interest in many countries in Latin America as well as the Asia-Pacific region that unfortunately now share many of the beneficial and the damaging species found in Hawai’i, he said, in part because of trade and our similar geographic and environmental features. “The same DNA tools used for identifications can also be used to track the movements of these species from one location to another,” said Haymer.
Faculty members at Naresuan University in Thailand recently sought Dr. Haymer’s expertise through the Fulbright Scholar program, sponsored by the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars. He traveled to the country to teach and do research in DNA based methods for making species identifications, sometimes known as “DNA barcoding.” He also conducted workshops on scientific writing and presentations in English.