Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Gifts to Boost University of Chicago as Hub for Biomedical 'Big Data'

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Two major gifts will build momentum behind the University of Chicago’s leadership in biomedical computation.

These two gifts will fund related projects that are central to a much larger plan at UChicago that includes multiple data-driven discovery programs to improve health and medical care.

The gifts were announced at an April 8 gathering of local corporate leaders hosted by Margot and Tom Pritzker, chairman and CEO of The Pritzker Organization, at the Park Hyatt Chicago. Pritzker, a University Trustee, organized the dinner meeting to boost corporate awareness of big-data biomedical research and to discuss how this work could become a regional economic engine.

The Gifts

Karen and Jim Frank, president and CEO of Wheels Inc., pledged $10 million. This includes $9 million to provide start-up funds and recruit a director for a proposed Institute for Computational Biology and Medicine and $1 million to support growth in orthopedics. This institute will serve as a hub for the collection, analysis and distribution of biomedical and health care information, ranging from genomic data to de-identified electronic medical records.

Carole and Gordon Segal, the founders of Crate & Barrel, made a substantial pledge to support the Pancreatic Cancer Genomic Medicine Initiative, which will use genetic information to improve assessment, decision-making and treatment for pancreatic cancer patients. The goal of the program is to discover gene-based biomarkers that can predict outcomes, estimate treatment toxicities, speed discovery of new drugs and create a model that could be reproduced at academic medical centers across the nation.

“These generous gifts enable us to take a major step forward in realizing the promise of data collection and analysis on a massive scale, and bringing the discoveries it yields into the day-to-day practice of medicine,” said President Robert J. Zimmer, who spoke about the institution’s strategic vision as a place for translational discovery.

Kenneth Polonsky, executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Biological Sciences Division and Pritzker School of Medicine, who also spoke at the event, believes the medicine community needs to understand complex data in order to identify opportunities for new advances.

“Our vision is to define disease at the genetic and molecular level with much greater specificity than is currently available,” Polonsky said. “This will improve our ability to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat different subsets of disease that, in many cases, we currently lump together. It will require access to gigantic data sets, innovative manipulation of those data, and vast computing power.”

The Projects

The Institute for Computational Biology and Medicine will bring together experts from many aspects of biology who are devoted to data-intensive biomedical discovery. Researchers in the institute will strive to invent new methods of extracting biomedical information from large, varied data sets. These data sources will allow them to generate fresh hypotheses about health and disease, the evolution of biological form and function, and the intricate relationship of organisms to each other and their environment.

By enabling researchers to test these ideas through statistical analysis, computer modeling and simulation—which are faster and more cost-effective than experimental testing—the institute will accelerate the development of biomedical knowledge and, in the long run, transform the practice of medicine.

“We are delighted to support the initiative that Dean Polonsky has identified as one that is core to the direction of many of our research initiatives and one that has the potential to revolutionize the direction of medical research,” said Jim Frank, a trustee of the University of Chicago Medical Center since 1992.

“This is a bold and inspiring approach to uncovering new knowledge,” he added. “The outstanding experts on computational biology who already work at the University of Chicago will be able, with support of the new institute, to leverage their knowledge and take us to the next level of discovery.”

The pancreatic cancer initiative is more tightly focused, using genomic and physiological data to improve care for patients with this disease. The Segals’ motivation to fund this effort was personal. Last winter, within about three weeks, two of their good friends were diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

“We were surprised that this happened so suddenly to two of our closest friends,” said Gordon Segal, a University of Chicago Medical Center board trustee. “But we were astonished to discover how little is known about this kind of cancer.”

What came as an added shock, Segal said, was finding out that treatment for patients with advanced disease has not significantly improved in 20 years. Because about 80 percent of pancreatic cancers spread beyond the organ by the time of diagnosis, life expectancy for such patients is measured in months.

So, the Segals turned to a friend, Kevin White, the James and Karen Frank Family Professor of Human Genetics and director of the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.

White already was working with collaborators Kevin Roggin, associate professor of surgery, and William Dale, professor and chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine, to use the genetics of pancreatic cancer to guide clinical practice. Thanks to the Segals’ gift, the pancreatic-cancer effort will sequence the genomes of tumors from up to 225 patients from the University of Chicago Medicine-NorthShore University HealthSystem pancreatic cancer program over the next three years. The team has so far sequenced genomes from more than 30 pancreatic cancer patients.

That data will be compared with genetic sequences of thousands of tumors already collected by the National Cancer Institute, including more than 500 pancreatic cancers. It will be cross-referenced with physical and functional, as well as cognitive and psychological, information collected from patients during their care.

That information, offering a panoramic view of pancreatic cancer, will be subjected to intensive computation using the Bionimbus Cloud, developed by White and IGSB colleague Robert L. Grossman, professor of medicine and Computation Institute Senior Fellow.

“The goal is to generate actionable clinical information that can inform the care of patients and fuel advances,” White said. “This is an opportunity to jump-start a genome-guided approach to treatment.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Manipulation of Liquid Crystals Could Help Control Drug-Delivery Process
Computer modeling, real-world testing yields new method.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Liquid Crystal Manipulation Controls Drug-Delivery Process
Scientists have turned liquid crystals into a tool to control the shape of synthetic cell membranes.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Grad Student's Finding Enables Rapid Compound Screening
Grad student makes technical leap that could enable rapid screening of anti-cancer compounds.
Friday, August 19, 2016
From Fins to Fingers
New gene-editing methods help the mapping of cells linking fish fins and mammalian limbs.
Friday, August 19, 2016
New Technique Targets Ataxia Gene
Scientists selectively turn off the disease-causing portion of a gene that causes a severe form of ataxia.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Organ Behaviour Manipulation Possible with New Injectable
Scientists develop injectable that could be used to stimulate nerve cells and manipulate muscle and organ behaviour.
Friday, July 08, 2016
New Microbiome Center to Merge Expertise of UChicago, MBL and Argonne
Researchers to study world of microbes across environments.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
AbbVie, University of Chicago Collaborate
The University of Chicago and AbbVie have entered into a five-year collaboration agreement designed to improve the pace of discovery and advance medical research in oncology at both organizations.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
New Code for Control of Gene Expression
A new cellular signal discovered by a team of scientists at the University of Chicago and Tel Aviv University provides a promising new lever in the control of gene expression.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Bacterial Circadian Clocks Set by Metabolism, Not Light
New study finds that metabolism is the primary driver of the circadian rhythm.
Monday, December 14, 2015
New Nanomanufacturing Technique Advances Imaging, Biosensing Technology
Researchers invent a novel way to build nanolenses in large arrays using a combination of chemical and lithographic techniques.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Enormous Genetic Variation May Shield Tumors from Treatment
Debate over Darwinian selection vs. random mutations emerges at the tumor level.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Gut Bacteria Can Dramatically Amplify Cancer Immunotherapy
Manipulating microbes maximizes tumor immunity in mice.
Monday, November 09, 2015
Protein Aggregation After Heat Shock Is An Organized, Reversible Response
New study finds protein aggregation after heat exposure is a reversible cellular process, not unrecoverable damage from misfolding.
Friday, September 11, 2015
New Form of DNA Modification May Carry Inheritable Information
Scientists have described the surprising discovery and function of a new DNA modification in insects, worms and algae.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Charles River Acquires Agilux
Enhances Charles River’s early-stage capabilities in bioanalytical services.
Scientists Find Lethal Vulnerability in Treatment-Resistant Lung Cancer
The study describes how the drug Selinexor killed lung cancer cells and shrank tumors in mice when used against cancers driven by the aggressive and difficult-to-treat KRAS cancer gene.
How Baby’s Genes Influence Birth Weight And Later Life Disease
The large-scale study could help to target new ways of preventing and treating these diseases.
Genes Underlying Dogs’ Social Ability Revealed
The social ability of dogs is affected by genes that also seem to influence human behaviour, according to a new study from Linköping University in Sweden.
Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise Among Drinkers With High Stress
The findings suggest that potential future studies with drugs targeting vasopressin blockade should focus on populations of people with AUD who also report high levels of stress.
C Dots Show Powerful Tumor Killing Effect
Nanoparticles known as Cornell dots, or C dots, have shown great promise as a therapeutic tool in the detection and treatment of cancer.
Faecal Bacteria Linked to Body Fat
Researchers at King’s College London have found a new link between the diversity of bacteria in human poo – known as the human faecal microbiome - and levels of abdominal body fat.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!