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The 22q11.2 Society

Damian Heine Suñer

Damian Heine Suñer (PhD) was born in 1963 in New York City, USA. He followed his studies in biology at the University of Barcelona, Spain. He received a joint PhD degree from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), USA, in 1995. The research leading to his doctorate was under the direction of Dr. Howard C. Passmore on the molecular genetics of recombination, (recombination hotspots in the mouse MHC), the process by which rearrangements cause the 22q11.2DS.

From 1995 to 1999, Dr Heine Suñer held a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Dr. Santiago Rodríguez de Cordoba in Madrid (Spain), at the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB), a research center within the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). In Madrid, his research continued to be focused on the genetics and genomics of recombination, and now, on how it is implicated in human disease.

In 1999 Dr. Heine Suñer returned to his home island, Mallorca (Spain) to set up the Molecular Genetics Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory within the Genetics Department of the Hospital Son Dureta (currently Hospital Universitari Son Espases, HUSE). The Genetics Department of Hospital Son Espases is the only one offering clinical genetic services within the public health system of the Balearic Islands (IB-Salut) and services a population of 1.100.000. Also in 1999, he received his first competitive research grant as a Principal Investigator (PI), from the Spanish Ministry of Health to study the molecular basis of the 22q11.2DS. And since then has been continuously funded and maintained an active research interest in the 22q11.2DS syndrome.

Currently he divides his time between his clinical diagnostic work as laboratory manager of the Molecular Genetics Diagnostics Laboratory of HUSE and his research activities. He is the PI of the Genomics of Health Research Group that is englobed by the newly formed Institute for Research in Health of Palma (IDISPA). The main interests within the research group are molecular mechanisms leading to mutation in the human genome and the genetic basis of congenital heart defects (CDH), 22q11.2DS and Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). To date he has (co) authored around 40 research papers. He was organizer of (together with Sixto García Minaur) and Program Chair for the 9th Biennial International 22q11.2DS meeting that took place in Mallorca in 2014.