VUMC to receive $71.6 million from NIH for Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program

From the Summer 2016 edition of Vanderbilt Medicine Magazine

In July the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it will provide $71.6 million over five years to VUMC to establish and operate the Data and Research Support Center for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program, making this the largest research grant the Medical Center has ever received from any source.

“We are honored to be selected to play a foundational role in a program that promises to drive innovation in precision medicine for decades to come. At Vanderbilt, we believe that understanding each person’s unique nature is essential to their care,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of VUMC, and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Supported by approximately $55 million in fiscal year 2016 from the NIH, the PMI Cohort Program will begin enrolling volunteer participants this fall and aims to meet its enrollment goal by 2020.

The Data and Research Support Center will be directed by Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., associate professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine who also serves as co-chair of the PMI Cohort Program Steering and Executive Committees.

The role of the center is to acquire and organize what will become an enormous and extraordinarily diverse dataset of precision medicine indicators, and to provide research support and analysis tools to the scientists who will mine it.

The award demonstrates the tremendous respect the field holds for VUMC and for its precision medicine leaders, including Denny and Dan Roden, M.D., Senior Vice President for Personalized Medicine at VUMC and a nationally known pioneer in the field.

VUMC’s part of the PMI Cohort program effort will be aided by several collaborators, including the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sekar Kathiresan, M.D., co-director of the Broad Institute’s Program in Medical and Population Genetics, is a co-principal investigator on the grant.

Other collaborators include Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and the University of Texas School of Bioinformatics in Houston.

Verily Life Sciences, the health care and life sciences company of Alphabet Inc., will support the Data and Research Support Center.