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
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 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ 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

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
Shape-Shifting Molecule Tricks Viruses Into Mutating Themselves To Death
Study uses two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy to help distinguish between normal and shape-shifted structures.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Drug-Development Grants Focus On Sleep Apnea, Asthma Research
NIH grants awarded to two University of Chicago research teams will help to develop novel treatments for sleep apnea and asthma.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Gut Bacteria that Protect Against Food Allergies Identified
Common gut bacteria prevent sensitization to allergens in a mouse model for peanut allergy, paving the way for probiotic therapies to treat food allergies.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Researchers Identify ‘Fat Gene’ Associated with Obesity
Mutations within the gene FTO have been implicated as the strongest genetic determinant of obesity risk in humans, but the mechanism behind this link remained unknown.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Autism and Intellectual Disability Incidence Linked with Environmental Factors
Although autism and intellectual disability have genetic components, environmental causes are thought to play a role.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteria Turns Immune System Against Itself
Around 20 percent of all humans are persistently colonized with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, including the antibiotic-resistant strain MRSA.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Staphylococcus aureus Bacteria Turns Immune System Against Itself
Scientists use primary human immune defense mechanism to destroy white blood cells.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Genetic Analysis Reveals Insights into Genetics of OCD, Tourette’s
Major differences between the genetic makeup of obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome, providing the first direct confirmation that both are highly heritable.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Computer Modeling Shows Crucial Function of Water Molecules in Proteins
Scientists used molecular simulations that modeled a potassium channel and its immediate cellular environment, atom for atom.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Israel-Chicago Partnership Targets Water Resource Innovations
Partnership is to create new materials and processes for making clean, fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by 2020.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Multiple Research Teams Unable to Confirm High-Profile Alzheimer’s Study
Teams of highly respected Alzheimer’s researchers failed to replicate what appeared to be breakthrough results for the treatment of this brain disease when they were published last year in the journal Science.
Friday, May 24, 2013
International Technology Partnership to Focus on Water Problems
The University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev sign agreement that would create new water production and purification technologies for regions of the globe where fresh water resources are scarce.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Watery Research Theme to Flow Through New Tokmakoff Lab
Andrei Tokmakoff to use the world’s shortest infrared light pulses to pluck molecular bonds.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Computational Center Will Study the Past and Future of Knowledge
Templeton Foundation awards $5.2 million for Computation Institute's Metaknowledge Network.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Scientific News
NIH Study Finds Calorie Restriction Lowers Some Risk Factors for Age-Related Diseases
Two-year trial did not produce expected metabolic changes, but influenced other life span markers.
Immunotherapy Agent Benefits Patients with Drug-Resistant Multiple Myeloma in First Human Trial
Daratumumab proved generally safe in patients, even at the highest doses.
Low-level Arsenic Exposure Before Birth Associated with Early Puberty in Female Mice
Study examine whether low-dose arsenic exposure could have similar health outcomes in humans.
Inciting an Immune Attack On Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
‘Mutation-Tracking’ Blood Test for Breast Cancer
Scientists have developed a blood test for breast cancer able to identify which patients will suffer a relapse after treatment, months before tumours are visible on hospital scans.
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Intensity of Desert Storms May Affect Ocean Phytoplankton
MIT study finds phytoplankton are extremely sensitive to changing levels of desert dust.
Common ‘Heart Attack’ Blood Test May Predict Future Hypertension
Small rises in troponin levels may have value as markers for subclinical heart damage and high blood pressure.
LaVision BioTec Reports on the Neuro Research on the Human Brain After Trauma
Company reports on the work of Dr Ali Ertürk from the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research at LMU Munich.
NIH Study Shows No Benefit of Omega-3 Supplements for Cognitive Decline
Research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!