About this event

  • Date and time Mon 24 Aug 2020 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Medical Genetics

This is the fourth webinar in the Medical Genetics COVID-19 series.

This webinar joins lead researchers for a discussion about the possible evidence and limitations of genetics in relation to the increased burden of COVID-19 in black, Asian and ethnic minority groups.

We will hear from three different perspectives within the genetic field on the topic. They will be analysing what evidence there is towards the argument that genetics plays a role in COVID-19 and on what basis these have been founded. This webinar will also address the systemic inequalities faced by BAME communities which contributes to the huge disparity in COVID-19 sufferers, and that seeking answers from the genetic code should not detract from the wider issues of inequality and racism. 

Webinar aims include: 

  • Explore any potential role of genetic factors in the higher risk of COVID-19 for BAME people

  • Address the limitations in current knowledge of addressing these differences within genetics

  • Recognise and improve awareness of other important socio-economic factors which disproportionately effect BAME communities. 

Join us for three 15 minute talks from Dr Sonya Abraham, consultant research physician in Rheumatology and General Medicine, Professor Guruprasad Aithal, Deputy Director and Theme Lead, NIHR Nottingham BRC and Dr Winston Morgan, Reader in Toxicology and Clinical Biochemistry.

A certificate of attendance and CPD certificate with 1 CPD credit(s) per webinar of this series will be issued to those joining the webinars live. Certificates of attendance for CPD will be automatically issued after 7 days, but only where a delegate watches the webinar live in its entirety. 

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The Royal Society of Medicine needs your support 
The RSM is offering this webinar at no charge to delegates, in order to help healthcare professionals to easily access COVID-19 related education material & resources during the pandemic. However, we are asking people to support the RSM in these unprecedented times. Now more than everas a charity we need your help to continue our work and mission in advancing healthcare through innovation and education. Please consider making a donation  for joining this webinar. Thank you for your generosity. 

Key speakers

Dr Sonya Abraham

Consultant Research Physician, rheumatology and general medicine, Imperial College, London 

Professor Guruprasad Aithal

Deputy Director and Theme Lead, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Center

Dr Steven J. Mack

Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of California, San Francisco

Speaker's biography

Dr Mack is a Professor in the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Bone Marrow Transplantation in the Department of Paediatrics at UCSF. He studies the evolution, population genetics and disease association of the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes, and develops bioinformatic standards, software, tools and services to facilitate the analysis and exchange of complex highly-polymorphic Immunogenetic data.

Dr Mack’s research group is investigating the association of Type-1-Diabetes with HLA variation in non-European populations, the immunogenetic aetiology of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and patterns of HLA polymorphism, diversity and evolution in the global human population. His group is developing novel bioinformatic approaches for dissecting functional HLA polymorphism at the nucleotide and amino acid levels motifs to better understand HLA-related disease association and evolution.

Most recently, Dr Mack has co-founded the COVID-19|HLA and Immunogenetics Consortium, and is developing a centralised resource for COVID-19-related HLA data collection and analysis.

Dr Winston Morgan

Reader in Toxicology and Clinical Biochemistry, The University of East London



Speaker's biography

Dr Winston Morgan is a Reader in Toxicology and Clinical Biochemistry and Director of Impact and Innovation in the school of Health Sport and Bioscience at University of East London. He is both researcher and university teacher in bioscience and a campaigner for social justice and equality of opportunity in higher education.

Dr Morgan's current research interests include the role of probiotics and prebiotics in human health, the discovery of phytochemicals with wound healing and anticancer properties from plants used in traditional herbal medicine, the mechanisms of antipyretics, the toxicity of highly active anti-retroviral drugs and the link between race, racism and medical outcomes.

He has also undertaken extensive research and scholarly activity into factors which determine outcomes for students and staff from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in higher education.


View the programme

Welcome and introduction
Understanding the role of ethnicity in genetic research: The unmet need

Dr Sonya Abraham, Consultant Research Physician, Rheumatology and General Medicine, Imperial College London

The increased risk of COVID-19 in BAME groups: The potential role of genetic factors

Professor Guruprasad Aithal, Deputy Director and Theme Lead, The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)

Extending immunogenetics of disease association to COVID-19

Dr Steven J. Mack, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of California, San Francisco

Genetics does not explain the effect of coronavirus in people of BAME background

Dr Winston Morgan, Reader in Toxicology and Clinical Biochemistry, The University of East London

Panel discussion
Close of meeting



Disclaimer: All views expressed on this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM.

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.

All webinars will be available for registered delegates 30 days after on Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place.  

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels. 

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