Icahn Institute partners in $6.5 million NIH award to advance precision medicine and bioengineering capabilities
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded $6.5 million to a consortium that includes the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of Washington, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Auckland, New Zealand, to establish the Center for Reproducible Biomedical Modeling. The multi-institution biomedical technology resource center will accelerate the development of predictive models of biological systems to guide precision medicine and bioengineering and provide much-needed model building resources to the research community. Icahn Institute Assistant Professor Jonathan Karr, PhD, will direct the consortium’s effort to develop computational tools for building reproducible models.
Making significant advances in precision medicine and bioengineering requires detailed knowledge of biological entities, such as cells. Computer models of biological systems that can predict phenotype from genotype can help scientists understand the molecular basis of behavior, help clinicians personalize therapy, and help bioengineers design microorganisms for a wide range of applications. However, there remain limitations to building such predictive models, including the lack of data and tools needed to carry out modeling systematically and scalably and the lack of comprehensible, reusable, and reproducible models.
In an effort to address these limitations and enable more comprehensive and accurate models, the Center for Reproducible Biomedical Modeling will develop technologies for systematically, scalably, and collaboratively aggregating the data needed for designing, simulating, analyzing, and publishing models, as well as develop technologies for analyzing simulation results. Dr. Karr and his team, including Associate Professor Arthur Goldberg, PhD, bioinformatician Saahith Pochiraju, and graduate student Yosef Roth, will develop an integrated database of molecular data for cell modeling, tools for discovering relevant data to create models of specific cell types, and tools for systematically designing models for large datasets. These tools will make biomodeling more reusable and reproducible. Dr. Karr and his team will utilize input from collaborators building whole-cell models to ensure the technologies developed by the center will advance modeling capabilities.
The center will also help researchers and journals produce and publish reusable, reproducible models by organizing workshops for researchers, providing researchers assistance annotating models, and verifying models submitted to partner journals. The center has already recruited nine partner journals.
"This NIH support significantly impacts our team’s capabilities and will enable us to develop the technologies researchers need to build comprehensive whole-cell models,” said Dr. Karr, one of the project directors of the center. “Ultimately, we believe these models will help physicians precisely treat individual patients and help bioengineers design powerful microorganisms that can sense and disrupt disease.”
“Specialized expertise at the Icahn Institute and the model building resources of the center as a whole will fill a critical gap in the biomedical research enterprise, providing open access tools to create reproducible models and ultimately more rigorous scientific outcomes,” said Grace Peng, Ph.D., director of the program in Computational Modeling at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Support for the new center is from NIBIB and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, both parts of NIH, through grant EB023912.
See http://reproduciblebiomodels.org for more information.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system encompassing (with the addition of South Nassau Communities Hospital) eight hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.