WASHINGTON – With the aim of performing state-of-the-art research at the interface of computer science and clinical genomics, Georgetown University Medical Center has established the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics (ICBI). The center will serve as an academic hub for innovative research in the field of biomedical informatics with the goal of enabling a more individualized approach to health care based on a patient’s molecular makeup.
ICBI’s mission is to enhance translational research at Georgetown University Medical Center and to attract and educate the next generation of scientists and physicians for which bioinformatics will be an integral part of both biomedical research and clinical practice.
“The need for biomedical informatics in basic and clinical research is critical given the growing deluge of genomics data from individuals,” explains Subha Madhavan, Ph.D., director of biomedical informatics, who will serve as the inaugural director of the ICBI. “ICBI will provide a core group of informatics experts and tools to support researchers and clinicians and assist them in evaluating data emerging from the new genomics technologies from clinical and translational research.”
The predecessor to the ICBI, the clinical informatics group, was first established at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2008. The clinical informatics group developed the Georgetown Database of Cancer (G-DOC), a cutting-edge software platform that allows researchers and clinicians to analyze genomic data across numerous cancer studies and clinical trials.
“The development of G-DOC has led to numerous internal and external collaborations among the academic researchers and physicians at Georgetown and our various partner organizations,” says Madhavan. “G-DOC has extended its capabilities to support research in diverse disease areas such as Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and even the analysis of genomes from babies born prematurely.”
“The work of the ICBI follows the principles of the medical center’s strategic planning initiative and represents a vibrant example of implementing systems medicine through the formation of a high-performance research center, while promoting interdisciplinary, team-based approaches to research and program development,” explains Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health sciences at GUMC and executive dean of Georgetown’s School of Medicine.
The ICBI has begun receiving substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and corporations for projects ranging from personalized medicine and drug discovery to pharmacogenomics, or the study of how well certain medicines will perform based on an individual’s DNA.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.