SoGlos talks to CEO and former Cheltenham College student, Tom Stubbs, about his incredible company, Chronomics. It’s the first in the world to track changing health through DNA.
Epigenetics is the study of how your genes are controlled and how gene expression changes can occur. Epigenetic changes are a regular and natural occurrence but are also influenced by environmental factors such as pollution, UV exposure and lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet and sleep.
It is these epigenetic marks that we measure and monitor to ensure people understand how their health is being affected by the world around them. With this knowledge, people are able to change their lifestyles accordingly to optimise their health and wellbeing.
Chronomics Ltd is the first company in the world that tracks your changing health and wellbeing by harnessing the epigenetic information found on your DNA. Together with my co-founders we have founded a company that combines the latest in AI (artificial intelligence), epigenetics research and Next Generation Sequencing technology, into a simple home saliva test kit and online digital platform.
Our mission is to change the way people manage their lifestyles by literally taking control of the future written on their DNA, delivering far-reaching benefits to all by enabling a more informed and healthier population. As a team, we believe passionately that health management needs to transform from being reactive and generalised, to proactive and personalised, and we are excited by the potential of our technology to deliver this transformation.
Knowledge is power and knowing how your environment and lifestyle is impacting your health is no exception. The insights from the data give people the ability to directly tackle many physical and mental disorders, including metabolic diseases, inflammation, mental wellbeing, chronic stress, fatigue and obesity.
The lifestyle changes that people enact through our platform are personalised to them, as such it is not possible to say exactly what any intervention would be. The nature of the intervention will depend on a number of factors including the environmental and lifestyle factors that should be focused on, the nature of the person themselves and the type of change they wish to make.
Broadly, the types of intervention can be broken down into information-related changes, for instance better understanding how to avoid a specific environmental exposure; product-related changes such as using a product to reduce specific environmental exposure; or health coach-related, like working with a professional to reduce the impact of a specific lifestyle exposure. These options and others are still being actively developed, together with our customers.
I am a huge fan of the incredible work conducted at Maggie’s in Cheltenham and the rich support that they provide to both patients and families. I was first introduced to Maggie’s Cheltenham through my mum, who is passionate about the work Maggie’s does and has been volunteering and supporting the charity on a weekly basis for many years now.
Maggie’s Cheltenham has become a charity very close to my heart; in 2013 myself and Charles Ball, who’s the co-founder of Chronomics, chose to run the Paris Marathon to raise awareness and funds for the charity. It was a painful experience that I won’t be repeating anytime soon, but one made all the more worthwhile by knowing that we were making a small contribution to such a fantastic charity.
The idea for Chronomics came from the research I was conducting at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, where I undertook my PhD in the lab of Professor Wolf Reik; an eminent Epigeneticist and FRS. During my PhD I was also fortunate enough to be co-supervised by Professor Shankar Balasubramanian; an FRS and founder of the company that went on to become Illumina.
I defined experimental and computational approaches for the study of epigenetics. Specifically, I developed models to predict age and environmental effects on the epigenome, known as epigenetic marks.
It was during this time that I first met Daniel Martin Herranz, another co-founder. Dani was conducting a PhD at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and was keen to work on ageing and epigenetics and so we teamed up developing analysis tools to enable the study of epigenetic marks.
From this work, we realised the potential of personalised epigenetic testing for preventative, proactive and personalised health management through defining predictors of environmental and lifestyle factors that are known to affect health but are typically difficult to measure or awkward to test. To bring this dream to life, we teamed up with Toby Call and Charles Ball (Co-founders at Chronomics) and founded Chronomics.
You can purchase our Chronomics epigenetic test through our website, or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
Monday 11 June 2018
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