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Berkeley Arts & Letters: Dr. Euan Angus Ashley in conversation with Stephen Quake / Launch for The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them

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Booksmith and Berkeley Arts & Letters are very pleased to host the virtual launch event with Dr. Euan Angus Ashley for his new book The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them. He will be in conversation with Stephen Quake, Co-President of the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub.

Free and all ages, but RSVP is required. Event link will be sent to everyone who registers.

You can order The Genome Odyssey here. We're offering free shipping throughout San Francisco and the East Bay.


About the book

Since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, the price of genome sequencing has dropped at a staggering rate. It’s as if the price of a Ferrari went from $350,000 to a mere forty cents. Through breakthroughs made by Dr. Ashley’s team at Stanford and other dedicated groups around the world, analyzing the human genome has decreased from a heroic multibillion dollar effort to a single clinical test costing less than $1,000.

For the first time we have within our grasp the ability to predict our genetic future, to diagnose and prevent disease before it begins, and to decode what it really means to be human.

In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Ashley details the medicine behind genome sequencing with clarity and accessibility. More than that, with passion for his subject and compassion for his patients, he introduces readers to the dynamic group of researchers and doctor detectives who hunt for answers, and to the pioneering patients who open up their lives to the medical community during their search for diagnoses and cures.

He describes how he led the team that was the first to analyze and interpret a complete human genome, how they broke genome speed records to diagnose and treat a newborn baby girl whose heart stopped five times on the first day of her life, and how they found a boy with tumors growing inside his heart and traced the cause to a missing piece of his genome.

These patients inspire Dr. Ashley and his team as they work to expand the boundaries of our medical capabilities and to envision a future where genome sequencing is available for all, where medicine can be tailored to treat specific diseases and to decode pathogens like viruses at the genomic level, and where our medical system as we know it has been completely revolutionized.


About the authors

Euan Ashley is a Professor of Medicine and Genetics at Stanford University. He was born in Scotland and graduated from the University of Glasgow. He attended Oxford University, completing a PhD there before moving to Stanford University where he trained in Cardiology. He joined the Stanford faculty, where he led the team that carried out the first medical interpretation of a human genome. Ashley has received awards from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. He was recognized by the Obama White House and received the Medal of Honor from the American Heart Association. His articles have appeared in the many journals, including Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical AssociationNature and Cell. He appears regularly on local and national radio and TV. He is the founder of three companies and advisor to several Silicon Valley companies. With three young children, he spends his spare time trying to understand American football, play the saxophone, and conduct research on the health benefits of single malt Scotch whisky.

Stephen Quake is the Lee Otterson Professor of Bioengineering and Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University and is co-President of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. He received a B.S. in Physics and M.S. in Mathematics from Stanford University in 1991 and a doctorate in Theoretical Physics from the University of Oxford in 1994. Quake has invented many measurement tools for biology, including new DNA sequencing technologies that have enabled rapid analysis of the human genome and microfluidic automation that allows scientists to efficiently isolate individual cells and decipher their genetic code. Quake is also well known for inventing new diagnostic tools, including the first non-invasive prenatal test for Down syndrome and other aneuploidies. His test is rapidly replacing risky invasive approaches such as amniocentesis, and millions of women each year now benefit from this approach. His innovations have helped to radically accelerate the pace of biology and have made medicine safer by replacing invasive biopsies with simple blood tests.


This event is free and all ages, but RSVP is required.


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