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VUMC’s Denny named to NIH precision medicine group

Apr. 2, 2015, 10:26 AM

Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., associate professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine, will help guide planning for the precision medicine initiative announced by President Obama in his January State of the Union Address.

Josh Denny, M.D., M.S.

Denny is one of 19 experts in precision medicine and large-scale clinical research chosen for the newly formed National Institutes of Health (NIH) working group devoted to the initiative.

The initiative seeks to accelerate understanding of individual differences that play a role in health, with the goal of informing better prevention and treatment tailored for each person.

Obama called for initial funding of $215 million in his fiscal 2016 budget.

Of this total, $130 million would be dedicated to beginning the process of building a group of 1 million or more research participants who will volunteer to share their biological, environmental, lifestyle and behavioral information and tissue samples with qualified researchers in a way that protects participant privacy.

“Establishing a 1 million person cohort is an audacious endeavor,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “But the results from studying such a large group of Americans will build the scientific evidence necessary for moving precision medicine from concept to reality.

“I’m confident that we’ve pulled together the best of the best in this working group to put us on the right path forward. And we look forward to broad input from a wide cross-section of stakeholders as this process moves forward.”

The group will seek public comment, and will deliver a preliminary report by Sept. 15. The report will help define what can be learned from a study of this scale and scope, and will consider issues related to the study design, and what success would look like five and 10 years out.

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