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Read the October Research update from Executive Associate Dean Tatiana Foroud, PhD.

October Research Update

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The focus of this month's newsletter is precision health. You've likely seen some of the positive impact the IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative, being led by IU School of Medicine, has had on patients. It's also brought enhanced capabilities and data to the school for all of us to utilize.

Here's a look at precision health, its clinical and statewide impacts, and what's available to you.

Scientist's working with patients Precision Health

The Precision Health Initiative, led by IU School of Medicine, was selected as the first recipient of funding from the Indiana University Grand Challenges Program. It was created to transform biomedical research, health care innovations and the delivery of health interventions in Indiana. Precision health spans the full range of health promotion and disease prevention, as well as individualized treatment and recovery strategies. Get the details


Scientist working with tech An in-depth look

IU’s Precision Health Initiative has enhanced the prevention, treatment, and health outcomes of human diseases through a more precise analysis of the genetic, developmental, behavioral and environmental factors that shape an individual’s health. While the Grand Challenge initiative is winding down in the coming year, sustainable funding is being generated. Precision health is the lens through which research is being conducted and the way care will be delivered to patients at IU Health. Learn more about precision health's impact


Equipment, Cores and Available Data

The IU Precision Health Initiative has supported $16.8M in equipment and related infrastructure that has resulted in new capabilities that support innovative research and new grant applications. Access the links below to find out more about these new capabilities and how to apply them to your research.

  • Modern sequencing core is the largest in the Midwest and supports cutting-edge techniques, including spatial transcriptomics.
  • Genome editing core supports the development of novel animal and cellular models, critical to research innovation.
  • Kinome core utilizes a chemical proteomic approach to profile the functional kinome. When paired with genomics, it leads to new discoveries, particularly in the field of oncology.
  • Advanced statewide cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) allows macromolecular structure determination without the need for crystallization.
  • Person-to-Person health interview study provides a new statewide cohort with extensive data that is underpinning the newly approved Sociomedical Sciences Research Institute.


Tenure Track Faculty







Clinical Impact

The precision health initiative has impacted clinical care in the areas of precision trial design, clinical implementation of genomic medicine, and new immune and cellular treatment capabilities.

  • The recently launched PERSEVERE clinical study is searching for better treatments for women with triple negative breast cancer who are at greatest risk for relapse. A blood-based biomarker test, discovered through precision health, is used to detect circulating tumor DNA that is a marker to predict those at increased risk for relapse following chemotherapy.
  • In collaboration with LifeOmic, a new informatics and data science platform was developed to automate the IU Health Precision Genomics Tumor Board. This platform is now being used at four precision genomics' locations throughout the state.
  • Pharmacogenomic (CYP2C19) testing has been implemented in relevant cardiology settings. Patients receiving cardiac stents at six statewide clinics have testing to identify those at increased risk for stent thrombosis and potential death. Those patients who received CYP2C19 testing as part of their care, receive a wallet-sized card they can show providers (particularly when prescribing proton pump inhibitors, antidepressants, antiplatelet drugs and anticancer compounds) to avoid potentially serious drug adverse events. This approach helps ensure the health of Hoosiers, worldwide.
  • The Undiagnosed Rare Disease Clinic, established as part of the IU Precision Health Initiative, has evaluated 42 families (114 patients) who have been undergoing diagnostic odysseys in support of their loved ones. Using DNA sequencing, the underlying cause for disease was identified in 12 of the 23 families that have completed their evaluations (~50% success rate).
  • Biologically and therapeutically relevant cell surface targets were identified in high-risk multiple myeloma patients and represent the foundation of a partnership between the school and a pharmaceutical/biotech company. This has led to the development of a Phase I clinical trial with CAR T-cells for patients with refractory/relapsed multiple myeloma.
  • IU Health has committed to the construction of a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility to produce CAR T-cell therapy products locally.
  • The IU Health Comprehensive Wound Center was established at Methodist Hospital and includes adjacent clinical and research space, resulting in novel treatments particularly for diabetic patients. New grant funding has been obtained to support basic science and clinical research at the Center.Precision Health Grand Challenge

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The outcomes, impact, and promotion of our efforts in precision health, recently resulted in a multimedia news crew traveling to Indianapolis from Columbia, Missouri to talk to several leaders about our precision health experience. The University of Missouri’s Nextgen Precision Health Institute opened this month and IU’s Grand Challenge is mentioned multiple times in their proposals as an example for what their Nextgen will idealistically become. I don't think any of us could have imagined this kind of success when precision health was initially launched and I could not be more proud of all of you. IU School of Medicine is positively impacting health in Indiana and well beyond our state.

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Tatiana Foroud, PhD

Tatiana Foroud, PhD, is executive associate dean for research affairs at Indiana University School of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics. She is also executive vice president of academic affairs for clinical research at IU Health.

Dr. Foroud is a statistical geneticist and leader in dementia research. She runs the NIH-designated repository for blood, DNA, tissue and other samples collected from patients throughout the country with Alzheimer’s disease.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.