Science webinar transcript: Introductions from Chris Ponting and Shona Kerr


Chris: I would like to welcome you to a recorded science session focused on the DecodeME project. My name is Chris Ponting. I’m a researcher. I’m very much interested in ME and finding out what are the genetic causes of ME. Just again, I want to welcome you to this meeting and to set off with an apology that we have reached our capacity of 500 people for the event on Zoom, and that’s why we set up the opportunity for people to join via Facebook and we’ll fix this for the next webinar and we’ll make sure that we have the opportunity for more people to join us via Zoom.

So, again, I’ll introduce myself and then I’ll introduce Shona, who’s kindly joined us today. So my name is Chris Ponting, I’m a human geneticist, and so I’m interested in why people are different from one another in a whole variety of different settings. In this setting, obviously, what I’m interested in is finding out which of the letters from among 3 billion in your DNA letters, change the likelihood that any individual is going to be diagnosed with ME. So that’s me and I’d like to now pass over to Shona, who is also part of the Decode ME team.

Shona: Hi it’s a great privilege to be able to join this webinar. My name is Shona Kerr. Like Chris, I’m also a human genetics researcher up at the University of Edinburgh. However, the whole field of ME/CFS is relatively new to me, I’m learning all the time. My background is in what we call population genetics, human population genetics. So not specifically looking at people with a disease or condition, but trying to study the whole population. When Chris began formulating the idea of what turned into DecodeME, we started chatting about it and realized that although there are many differences when considering a cohort of patients, there are also lots of similarities, particularly at the practical level. So I’d say that’s really my kind of role in the project is to try and advise and bring my experience of being involved in setting up other cohorts. And just to sort of finish, I’d like to see just how interesting it is to be working closely with people affected by the condition in this co-production that is really quite an unusual construct, and I think a really useful and important way forward for human genetics research.