A Common Vision of Accelerated Genomic Research Discovery: 100,000 Genomes and the BIG Initiative

Dr. Brown is the St. Jude Chair of Excellence in Genetics, and Professor and Division Chief of Genetics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he was recruited to help develop precision medicine initiatives in the Memphis community. His clinical interests include a variety of rare genetic syndromes in children and adults with a research emphasis on rare genetic disorders that have severe, early onset obesity as a feature. He completed his undergraduate degree at Howard University followed by MD/PhD training at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His postdoctoral and subsequent faculty roles were in Pediatrics and Medical Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. He has more than 25 years’ clinical experience with Medical Genetics patients, representing a broad spectrum of conditions. He is an active member of the Society for Pediatric Research, served for many years as a member of an NIH study section on diabetes and obesity, and has served on committees for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to develop an evidence framework to inform decision-making related to genetic testing and to develop recommendations for the return of individual research results. He is the principal investigator and co-director of the UTHSC/Le Bonheur Biorepository and Integrative Genomics (BIG) Initiative with more than 30,000 participants from the Greater Memphis community enrolled, approximately 45% of African ancestry. He has continued clinical practice throughout his career and has never lost sight of the fundamental importance of careful observation and listening carefully to patients.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the vision of the BIG Initiative and how it will contribute to improving child health.
  2. Understand why disparities in genomic research and medicine are important.
  3. Understand the importance of community engagement in genomics research and how the community is already benefitting.


  • Chester W. Brown, MD, PhD

This seminar was delivered as a Pediatric Grand Rounds Lecture at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, on February 22, 2023.

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Course Includes

  • 1 Lesson
  • Course Certificate
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