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Cleveland Organizations Launch Institution for Medical Data Analysis

November 26, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals have created the Institute of Computational Biology, designed to enhance the institutions’ ability to analyze vast amounts of medical information in a way that benefits patients and their care.

The new institute will develop the technological infrastructure to allow scientists and physicians from the three institutions to examine existing clinical data for lessons to improve treatment of individual patients and enhance community health, officials say.

We can collect myriad genetics/genomics data from every one of our patients, but if we don’t have the capability to convert that data into actionable information, we have gained nothing,” Paul DiCorleto, Ph.D., chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, said in a statement. “The Institute of Computational Biology will provide this capability with cutting-edge bioinformatics approaches.”

Geneticist Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., has been named institute director, as well as chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Haines comes to Cleveland from Vanderbilt University, where he founded the Center for Human Genetics Research as well as a doctoral program in human genetics. The center grew to include nearly 20 principal investigators, and served dozens of faculty and students with data analysis, technological assistance, and assessment of genes’ role in specific conditions.

At Vanderbilt, Haines led teams that made major advances identifying the genes involved in Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, and autism. Haines also helped build the biological repository linked to Vanderbilt’s medical records database. The strength of Cleveland’s medical institutions drew him to Northeast Ohio. “There’s a tremendous amount of expertise and a strongly collaborative atmosphere here,” Haines said. “I look forward to working with all of our partners.”

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