By Megan Manlove, Penn State
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine have launched the Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine, which will bring together faculty, resources and programs devoted to advancing the relatively new field of personalized medicine, one of the most promising frontiers in medicine.
The new institute will work in close collaboration with departments and institutes across the Hershey campus, including the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, to advance research in this field and to translate that research into clinical applications.
“Building on our understanding of the human genome and an increasing awareness of individual differences in disease processes and responses to treatment, personalized medicine aims to tailor health care to the individual, based on a number of factors – biological, environmental, and behavioral – that affect that individual’s health,” said Harold L. Paz, Medical Center CEO, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine.
James R. Broach, chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will serve as the institute’s inaugural director and lead the growth of personalized medicine at Penn State Hershey.
His previous leadership experience includes serving as associate chair of Princeton University’s Department of Molecular Biology from 2004 to 2011 (and interim chair in 2010), as well as associate director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics from 2001 to 2008, and co-founder and director of research for Cadus Pharmaceuticals from 1992 to 1999. In addition, Broach is an internationally respected figure in the field of genomics, one of the fundamental underpinnings of personalized medicine.
“This is an exceptionally exciting time in medical science,” Broach said. “We have reached a point at which we can begin to apply the remarkable recent advances in genomic studies, achieved through years of fundamental research in the basic sciences, to improving patient outcomes by tailoring treatment to the individual genomic characteristics of the patient. I am delighted to participate as director of this new Institute and to work with the talented group of physicians and investigators at Penn State to implement this goal and to expand our understanding of the relationship between genomic endowment and patient outcomes.”
Broach’s research, which focuses on understanding cell-environment interactions and cellular regulation at the molecular level, has been continuously funded by NIH for 35 years.