Innovative Approaches to Precision Medicine

Advancing understanding of how to measure and account for the influence of environmental and lifestyle factors in precision medicine for common diseases such as hypertension, kidney, and heart disease

Full Project Name:Innovative Approaches to Precision Medicine (IAPM)Principal Investigator:Mingyu Liang, MB, PhD, PhysiologyAward Amount:$1,500,000
Award Date
January2017
Project Duration:66 months

Project Description Narrative:


Recent progress in genomics and big data has led to precision medicine, a new approach for disease prevention and treatment that considers the variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. Current efforts in precision medicine focus primarily on genome sequences, an approach that could be productive for diseases such as congenital diseases and cancer where a small number of genome sequence variations play a major role in the disease of a patient.

However, genome sequences alone are unlikely to be useful for common diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, and kidney disease due to several factors. Adding to that, environmental and lifestyle factors greatly influence these diseases. The role of environmental and lifestyle factors has been largely neglected in precision medicine.

Through this award, investigators aim to use innovative approaches to advance precision medicine's understanding of how to measure and account for the influence of environmental and lifestyle factors, and facilitate individualized care for patients with common diseases such as hypertension, kidney, and heart disease.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


  • Developed new approaches to investigating genetic mechanisms of complex human diseases, and applied those approaches to discover novel epigenetic mechanisms mediating the effect of genetic factors on human traits
  • Identified novel molecular markers of human cardiovascular and renal diseases at unprecedented tissue and pathological resolution by developing novel and powerful technologies and approaches such as pathologically and histologically resolved molecular profiling
  • Contributed to 22 peer-reviewed publications, nearly all of which were published in top journals in relevant fields
  • Leveraged IAPM to obtain several extramural grants, including an NIH ROI grant and a new NIH Program Project Grant

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