NIH Awards Research Grants for Combining Genomic Info and EHRs

Sept. 8, 2015
The National Institutes of Health’s National Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) recently awarded a dozen grants to various healthcare organizations to support research that incorporates DNA sequence information into electronic medical records (EMRs).

The National Institutes of Health’s National Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) recently awarded a dozen grants to various healthcare organizations to support research that incorporates DNA sequence information into electronic medical records (EMRs).

According to NIH, the goal of the research conducted by the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network is to better understand the genomic basis of disease and to tailor medical care to individual patients based on their genomic differences.

The grand awardees include:

Group Health Research Institute/University of Washington (Seattle)

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston)

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Nashville)

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Mayo Clinic (Rochester, M.N.)

Geisinger Health System (Danville, P.A.)

Columbia University (New York City)

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Northwestern University (Chicago)

The grants represent the third phase of the eMERGE program and focus on moving genomics research closer to clinical application by identifying the potential medical effects of rare genomic variants (inherited differences in the DNA code) in about 100 clinically relevant genes.

“The newly funded projects are focused on discovering genes and gene variants with clinical implications by using the latest sequencing technologies to examine rare and common variants suspected to relate to disease risk and treatment effects,” Rongling Li, M.D., Ph.D., program director for eMERGE in the Division of Genomic Medicine at NHGRI, a part of NIH, said in a statement. “The other important component of these grants is implementing what researchers learn about these gene variants into medical settings to improve patient care.”

Researchers will look at the best ways to provide DNA test results to physicians and patients, she said, and ways in which doctors might use this information to improve clinical treatment and practice. These funded researchers also will examine the psychological and economic effects on patients and families, and the effects on healthcare systems, in using this information.

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