Kamal Obbad, CEO and cofounder of Nebula Genomics (nebula.org), delivers a thorough overview of the current state of genomic data, research, and what the future holds for the study of the genome.
As a self-described Harvard graduate and Cambridge University computer science dropout, Kamal Obbad has definitely taken his own path to success. Obbad is a passionate biotech entrepreneur whose keen interest in both tech, and helping others, led to his cofounding of Nebula Genomics.
Obbad discusses the mission of his company—to make genomic data extraordinarily useful for medical researchers. Getting their start at Harvard Medical School in the lab of fellow cofounder George Church, known as the “father of synthetic biology,” the entrepreneurs set out to expand the opportunities for genomic data to be used. From data driven clinical decision making to drug design, Obbad discusses the possibilities. He provides detailed information on sequencing genomes, explaining how a genome can be read, and what information can be gathered through the process.
The science tech entrepreneur talks about how genomes are utilized in the study of diseases, and the mechanisms of genetic change. Obbad states that there are many barriers to getting genomic data, from regulation to personal fears about revealing one’s genomic data. Genomics, specifically stated, is the interdisciplinary field of biology that focuses on the structure, mapping, function, evolution, and editing of genomes. And a genome is an organism’s comprehensive set of DNA that includes all of its genes. Obbad discusses data sets that are accessible and the challenges to gather the appropriate amount of data in aggregate. Obbad states, when individuals use genetic data companies such as 23andMe and others, to gather personal information they are curious about, what the individuals are really doing is paying these companies for the privilege to resell this genetic data.
Because of the many aforementioned problems and challenges, Obbad and his co-founding partners have decided to take Nebula Genomics in an entirely different direction, better for everyone involved. As they state, the future of health is in your DNA. Nebula Genomics allows users to contribute to significant medical breakthroughs and get rewarded for it, unlike other companies who may sell your data and provide you with no real compensation in any form. Nebula Genomics stands firmly on the idea that everyone should understand their genes, and truly own their personal health data. As such, Nebula Genomics has reinvented the genomic data business model, utilizing blockchain to connect data buyers with data users, and liberating genomic data by bringing records to a single network where researchers can gain critical access.