Key contributor to NextGen

A&S special section: The College of Arts and Science will play a lead role in NextGen Precision Health.

Courtesy MU Research Reactor

Published on Show Me Mizzou May 5, 2021

As the long-standing foundation of undergraduate education, the College of Arts and Science is a significant source of mind power behind the NextGen Precision Health initiative. “It’s not a question of which of the college’s departments are integral to NextGen; it’s more of a challenge to find a department that isn’t,” says J. Chris Pires, Curators Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and associate dean for research in the college.

This multidisciplinary and multicampus initiative is gearing up to develop new and better personalized medical treatments and devices. Pires expresses the ambitious scope of the initiative in a simple catchphrase: “First in mouse, first in pig and first in humans.” By leveraging the University of Missouri System’s unique set of resources, the initiative will reduce the time it takes to move an untested hypothesis through animal studies and on to clinical trials. “We can create radiopharmaceuticals at the nuclear reactor, then drive them down the street to the NextGen building, where they can begin testing their effectiveness,” Pires says.

The clinical components of the initiative will be complemented with population studies and analyses of immense data sets from medical studies. Whether researching the most effective communications for encouraging vaccinations or determining if treatment efficacy varies by gender, the college is helping build the future of 21st-century medicine.

Help us find cures for cancer, addiction, neurological diseases, heart disease and more. Call Kristen Maier, executive director for advancement at 573-882-5518.

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