Grants Support Precision Medicine, Translational Research

Columbia received grants this year that involve P&S researchers in President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. Columbia will be a health care provider organization and lend expertise to the initiative’s Data and Research Center.

Designated a regional health care provider organization in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem, Columbia and its collaborators will seek to enroll more than 150,000 volunteers for the PMI Cohort Program by 2021. NIH funding to support this work is estimated to be $46.5 million over five years. The aim of the cohort program is to identify differences in lifestyle, environment, and genetics in 1 million people who represent the country’s geographic, ethnic, racial, and socio-economic diversity. Participants will share genetic data, lifestyle information, and biological samples with researchers, and the data will be used to advance individualized approaches to health care.

The large quantity of data collected from various sources will require quality control and standardization to enable the data to be analyzed and interpreted appropriately. The Data and Research Center, a coalition of research institutions led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Verily Life Sciences, and the Broad Institute, will acquire and organize data and provide researchers with tools to analyze the data. The biomedical informatics team at P&S will lend expertise and resources to the project by curating, standardizing, vetting quality, and converting data into a useful format. The NIH is allocating $13.7 million to the Data and Research Center this fiscal year.


Irving Institute Receives $58.4 Million

The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research has received its third—and, at $58.4 million, its largest—Clinical and Translational Science Award from the NIH. This five-year grant will enable the Irving Institute, a partnership of Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian, to accelerate medical therapy development by expanding research and training efforts.

 In line with Columbia’s precision medicine initiative, a portion of the funds will support new programs and resources emphasizing the individualized approach to medicine. The award also will be used to incorporate underserved and special populations—such as children, the elderly, people with rare diseases, and HIV/AIDS patients—into translational studies.

Says Henry N. Ginsberg, MD, director of the Irving Institute and associate dean for clinical and translational research, “During the past 10 years, funding from our CTSA program hub has played a pivotal role in training and supporting young investigators, providing critical infrastructure support for both preclinical and patient-oriented research, and developing collaborations with the communities of Northern Manhattan.”