Scientists Celebrate 'DNA Day' in Camden

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The date April 25th is a very important one in the science world, being National DNA Day.

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) celebrates this day by encouraging the public to learn a little bit more about genetics.

The human body is made up of trillions of cells. Inside every single one are thousands of genes.

“We know that one person differs from the next, and the variations in their genes, and that turns out to have a profound effect on your health,” says Michael Christman, the president and CEO of the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden.

At the non-profit institute, scientists there are harnessing the power of genetics to improve the future of health care.

We’ve been here for a long time, and we’ve been leaders in the community.

At the facility, scientists house DNA samples for research being done worldwide.

“The samples that we distribute are used to develop new genetic tests,” says Dr. Alissa Resch, the director of Biobanking Operations at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research.

That includes a unique collection from the NHGRI containing DNA from specific populations around the globe.

“We also do cutting-edge stem-cell research that can be used to develop new technologies for treating disease,” says Resch.

That means being able to get an up-close look at what people are made of, with or without a disease, in hopes of contributing to the future of personalized medication.

And all of this work is being done right here in South Jersey.

“We’ve been here for a long time, and we’ve been leaders in the community," says Resch, "not only in doing cutting-edge research, but giving back to the community.”

“It’s very impactful, and a lot of people don’t realize that," says says Christman. "But it’s something that people are really embracing now, and we like to celebrate it and get kids excited about science, too.”

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