Posts tagged ‘personalized medicine’
Dr. James Broach, professor and chair of biochemistry and molecular biology and Dr. Rongling Wu, director of the Center for Statistical Genetics and professor of public health sciences and statistics, have been named as the 2014-2015 University Distinguished Professors for Penn State College of Medicine.
Broach is a world-renowned scientist whose work has transformed the understanding of genomics and biology. In 2012, Broach was named the inaugural director of the Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine because of his significant achievements and his innovative approaches to translational research. Building on a strong foundation, Broach has established Penn State as a national leader in genomics, the next great frontier in medical sciences. He has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1978 and has recruited three bioinformatics faculty who are sought after nationally. In addition to his research, he maintains an extraordinarily high level of activity in teaching and mentoring students. His passion for science education and for encouraging young people to pursue careers in the sciences is immediately apparent to anyone who meets him. Click here to read more about Dr. Broach’s career.
Wu is a statistical geneticist and prolific research whose interests focus on establishing statistical tools for solving problems in genetics and genomics. His scientific contributions include pioneering a dynamic model called functional mapping, which maps genes that regulate the developmental process of complex traits. This is a computational tool aimed at identifying genes and genetic networks that control dynamic traits and can help explain the detailed genetic architecture of drug response by incorporating pharmacodynamics processes. Wu’s research is documented in more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and he has co-authored five books. He has had tremendous success in obtaining funding for his research from the NIH, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy. His contributions to statistical genetics have contributed to the University receiving national and international recognition. Wu has directed more than 20 graduate students in their Ph.D. dissertations and another six are currently under his direction. In 2012 , the Department of Public Health Sciences initiated his biostatistics program. Click here to read more about Dr. Wu’s career.
On Wednesday, Jan. 14, Penn State Hershey held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 46,000-square-foot, $54-million data center on the Medical Center and College of Medicine campus. The construction of the University Technology Center is the next step to enabling Penn State Hershey to utilize “big data” to enhance patient care through disease modeling and predictors for disease by more efficiently processing and analyzing clinical information.
The new center will provide centralized space and enhanced security for patient, research and educational data for the Medical Center and College of Medicine, as well as powerful computers and main frames for analyzing the information.
“Building this new data center is every bit as crucial for improving the health outcomes of people in central Pennsylvania as building a new hospital or institute,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, chief executive officer, Medical Center, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs and dean, College of Medicine. “Two of the biggest factors in modern health care are personalized medicine and population health, and the common denominator with both is the ability to gather and analyze large volumes of rich health data.”
Highlights from across all four parts of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s mission were at the center of this week’s annual public board of directors meeting. Dr. Harold L. Paz, CEO of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine, addressed faculty, staff and community members. Paz discussed how new and expanded collaborations, growth in its clinical and research missions, and the presence of the first group of medical students in State College were all part of a successful 2011-12 fiscal year.
The presentation also included the following videos, each highlighting a key story from the past year:
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It’s been nearly ten years since scientists completed the Human Genome Project, sequencing all 3 billion DNA letters of the human genome. While this was a groundbreaking feat, the biomedical community is now beginning to realize the promise of genomic transformation through an approach known as personalized medicine.
Penn State Hershey is taking the next step forward in this important area of research and clinical care with its new Institute for Personalized Medicine, which will use a multifaceted approach to understand the correlation among a person’s biologic framework, the environment in which he or she lives, disease predisposition, and treatment options. By pursuing translational research—the kind of research that directly applies the latest scientific technologies to a patient’s clinical condition—physicians and scientists can tailor health care to individual patients and help improve medical outcomes.
Understanding the genome
The human genome is all of an individual’s DNA-based information, including our genes, as well as regulatory sequences that control gene expression and DNA for which no function has yet been established. With technology growing at such a rapid pace, many discoveries have been made and many more are on the horizon. Knowledge of a person’s genome allows researchers to understand how their genetic make-up and metabolic profile affects his or her susceptibility to specific diseases or response to specific therapies. Physicians can use this knowledge to outline predictive and preventive health strategies and to prescribe the right therapy for the right person at the right time.
“We now have a much more precise means of classifying and stratifying patients because we have much more information to accumulate on them,” says James R. Broach, Ph. D., director, Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “With that information we are now able to provide better correlations between patient outcome and the genetic and metabolic markers we can identify early on.”
“We’re reaching a few tipping points in the development of biomedical research,” adds Daniel A. Notterman, M.A., M.D., vice dean for research and graduate studies, professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology, and associate vice president for health sciences research, Penn State. “One of those tipping points is that the costs for developing very large genomic and metabolomic data sets about an individual are rapidly decreasing. This is matched by a corresponding increase in computational power and the rapid adoption of electronic medical records.” Scientists expect that in the near future, the cost for sequencing the entire genome will be low enough that it will be practical to do this for all individuals.