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Mizzou, UM System ready to lead precision medicine revolution

Jamie Arndt, second from left, addresses a question as fellow panelists (from left) Sheila Grant, Rob Paul, Satish Nair, Mike Nichols and Peter Tonellato look on during Wednesday's Precision Medicine Summit.

Jamie Arndt, second from left, addresses a question as fellow panelists (from left) Sheila Grant, Rob Paul, Satish Nair, Mike Nichols and Peter Tonellato look on during Wednesday’s Precision Medicine Summit. Photos by Brandan Haskell.

Precision medicine is the future, and Mizzou is ready to lead.

MU hosted the Precision Medicine Summit on Wednesday, which brought exceptional faculty from MU as well as Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri-St. Louis, and Missouri S&T to highlight the breadth and quality of translational precision medicine research activities.

Elizabeth Loboa holds a microphone and speaks next to a podium.

Mizzou Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa provided the vision and outlined the importance of the Translational Precision Medicine Complex (TPMC).

“The precision medicine initiative is more than just a building project; it’s a call to action throughout the UM System, the state of Missouri and the nation to solve the most pressing health issues facing society,” Choi said.

After opening remarks from Choi and MU Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development and UM System Vice President for Research and Economic Development Mark McIntosh, Mizzou Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa provided the vision and outlined the importance of the Translational Precision Medicine Complex (TPMC). The top capital priority of MU and the system, the TPMC will bring researchers and clinicians of various backgrounds together with the most cutting-edge technologies and data analysis tools to arrive at innovative solutions that address critical needs in the cancer, vascular and neurological fields, among others.

“This ‘benchtop-to-bedside’ paradigm will accelerate the development of novel diagnostic tools and treatments and fast track the application of personalized medicine to clinical settings,” Loboa explained.

Bioengineering Assistant Professor Kiruba Krishnaswamy tests virtual reality tools at the Immersive Visualization Laboratory.

Bioengineering Assistant Professor Kiruba Krishnaswamy tests virtual reality tools at the Immersive Visualization Laboratory.

A series of five-minute, TED-style talks in a variety of research areas came next, followed by a working lunch to allow faculty to explore potential collaborations and talk with MU grant writers who could help move potential funding efforts forward. The day concluded with a tour of the Immersive Visualization Laboratory at MU, which is a precursor to the Cave2 that is planned for the TPMC.

The 15 research presentations were:

  • Our Companion Animals Help Us See Disease More Clearly– Jeff Bryan, associate professor of Oncology and director, Comparative Oncology Radiobiology and Epigenetics Laboratory, MU
  • How Precision Medicine Will Impact Reproduction – Tom Spencer, professor and director, Interdisciplinary Reproduction and Health Group, MU
  • Genetic Solutions to Problems in Human Medicine– Randy Prather, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Reproductive Physiology and Molecular Biology, Genetic Engineering and director, National Swine Resource and Research Center, MU
  • Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine Moving from Promise to Practice – John Spertus, professor, Daniel J. Lauer Missouri Endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Disease Research, UMKC
  • Precision Medicine – Patient Context– Mark Hoffman, chief research information officer, Children’s Research Institute – Children’s Mercy Kansas City and associate professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Pediatrics, UMKC
  • Synthetic Ionophores as Antibiotics and Antibiotic Adjuvants– George Gokel, Distinguished Professor and director, Center for Nanoscience, UMSL
  • Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry– Tim Glass, chair and professor of Chemistry, MU
  • The Diagnostic Odyssey for Rare Disease Patients– Gerald Wyckoff, professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, UMKC
  • Personalized Precision Medicine – The Mizzou Way– Peter Tonellato, professor and director, Center for Biomedical Informatics Research, MU
  • Targeting Cancer– Sutapa Barua, assistant professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, MS&T
  • Learning From Machines: Application of Data Science to Predict and Improve Neurological Outcomes – Rob Paul, professor of Behavioral Neuroscience and director, Missouri Institute of Mental Health, UMSL
  • Strategies for Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutics– Mike Nichols, associate professor of Chemistry, UMSL
  • The Psychosocial Landscape of Precision Health– Jamie Arndt, professor and chair, Department of Psychological Sciences, MU
  • Computational Psychiatry– Satish Nair, Robert Buescher Professor of Bioengineering and interim co-chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MU
  • Tissue Engineering: New Age Precision Medicine Materials Sheila Grant, associate dean for research and professor of Bioengineering, MU

This was the second in a series of collaborative research summits hosted by the UM System campuses. It was organized by McIntosh, Loboa, Grant and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Christopher Pires.

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