Melissa Cline, PHD
Assistant Research Scientist

Melissa Cline is an Assistant Research Scientist at the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute. She has 20 years of experience developing data sharing and integration resources for advancing genomics knowledge, including contributions to the UCSC Genome Browser and the ENCODE and TCGA consortia. Yet her proudest achievement is leading the BRCA Challenge consortium. This consortium was launched in 2015 by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), in recognition that human genetic variation data is difficult to share for privacy reasons, yet its sharing is essential for advancing genetics. Its mission is to catalyze genetic variant interpretation by pioneering new approaches to integrate genetic variation data, with BRCA1 and BRCA2 in Hereditary Breast, Ovarian and Pancreatic cancer serving as an exemplar for other genes and heritable disorders. The consortium includes a global coalition of leading cancer geneticists, clinical researchers, geneticists, patient advocates, legal experts, genetic counselors, and leaders of the ClinGen consortium. Its first work product, the BRCA Exchange, represents the world’s largest source of public BRCA variation data. BRCA Exchange integrates data from several major genetic repositories, along with variant interpretation resources including in silico predictions of pathogenicity, scientific publications predicted to mention each variant in text mining, and expert-curated functional assays. Collectively, BRCA Exchange provides information on close to 40,000 distinct variants, to upwards of 2,000 users per month. Outside of work, Melissa is an avid mountaineer, and a long-time member of the Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol.

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