7 Medical Schools Awarded $25M Funding by NIH for Genomics Research
The NIH has just announced that the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) consortium of seven US medical research institutions has received an additional $25M in funding for Phase II of a series of projects to study how genetic information in patients' medical records can be used to improve their care. As genome sequencing becomes increasingly affordable and more widely done, translational research is needed to show physicians how they might respond to indicators of genetic predisposition to disease in their treatment programs. The eMERGE network was formed in 2007 "to develop, disseminate, and apply approaches to research that combine DNA biorepositories with electronic medical record (EMR) systems for large-scale, high-throughput genetic research," according to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) branch of the NIH.
The 7 members of the eMERGE team and their 2011 award amounts are:
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville.
- University of Washington, Seattle.
- Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
- Geisinger Weis Center for Research, Danville, Pa.
- Essentia Institute for Rural Health, Duluth, Minn.
- Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
- Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City.
The novelty of the eMERGE approach to research is that they are using already existing clinical genomic data available through electronic medical records. Each medical school contributes "EMR data linked to genetic samples obtained in the course of existing cohort studies, biorepositories, or from residual tissue or blood samples." They also have access to the NIH's genome repository, the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGAP), to which they will add all of their genomic data.
As is the case with much science research today, a good portion of the challenge is developing algorithms
to process and make sense of extensive and complex data, and to make data from one system compatible with another. To that end, Phase I of the larger eMERGE project saw the release of 3 important open-source software tools
for use in genomics research:
- eleMAP: harmonizes phenotype data dictionaries to existing metadata and terminology standards
- VDART - Vanderbilt Demographic Analysis of Risk Toolkit: analyzes the re-identification risk of demographic information remaining in de-identified microdata
- PheWAS: leverages EMR billing data (ICD9 codes) to derive case and controls populations
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is a full service event marketing and planning company producing on-campus life science research tradeshows nationwide for the past 18 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the best research campuses across the country. Visit our website for information about upcoming shows in your area, including events coming soon to these eMERGE research campuses:
University of Washington, Seattle: 21st Semiannual BioResearch Product Faire held October 27, 2011.
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York: 6th Annual BioResearch Product Faire event held October 21, 2011.
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