Key takeaways from the NextGen Precision Health Discovery Series kickoff

Here are 5 things you need to know from Richard Barohn’s Feb. 10 presentation.

Feb. 16, 2021

NextGen Precision Health is the highest priority of the University of Missouri, its partners across the System, MU Health Care and MU Extension. The initiative will accelerate precision health by bringing people and resources together in ways never before seen to develop and eventually deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

The new NextGen Precision Health Discovery Series helps Mizzou and other System faculty and staff, the statewide community and other partners learn more about the scope of precision health research and identify potential collaborative opportunities. The kickoff presentation, “NextGen Precision Health: Where are we now? Where are we going?,” took place on Feb. 10. In the talk, Richard Barohn, executive vice chancellor for health affairs and executive director of NextGen Precision Health, provided an overview of NextGen and a preview of what’s ahead. Here are five key takeaways:

1. It can only happen here

Existing research assets, a network of hospital systems, strong industry partnerships and the support of UM System leadership and state lawmakers make the university system uniquely poised to become a leader in precision health research.

Our partnership with industry leaders will help bring Mizzou research to a global audience.

2. Six pillars, six prime areas of need

NextGen leaders have identified six key areas of need in precision health. They are:

  • Cancer
  • Neuroscience
  • Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (or disorders or conditions)
  • Health care delivery
  • Population health
  • Emerging areas

Each pillar has a faculty research lead responsible for guiding research and fostering multi-disciplinary collaborations that lead to grant funding. Every discipline across the UM System has the opportunity to get involved. NextGen is committed to facilitating team science, which encourages diverse disciplinary collaborations to advance research in each pillar.

3. It’s more than a building

While the NextGen Precision Health building acts as an anchor for the initiative, collaborative, translational research efforts will take place across each of the four university campuses and with industry partners. 

At Mizzou, a 265,000 square-foot, five-story building will serve as the flagship NextGen location. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and technicians that will be available to partner with UM research teams. The core of the NextGen Precision Health initiative is about breaking down barriers to reduce the time it takes for research discoveries to become effective, targeted treatments. This concept is reflected in the design of the building — which features glass walls and open concept space that encourage collaboration and communication.

4. The first wave

Leaders have identified the first wave of researchers that will move into MU’s NextGen building. The 15 individuals represent many schools and colleges and represent $35 million in grant history — with $18 million in active federal grant funding among them.

5. Next steps

NextGen research is already taking place on campus and across the UM System. Leaders are identifying future waves of NextGen building occupants. There will also be continued development of NextGen projects and collaborations outside of the new building, including filling recruitment priorities for researchers who will work across the MU campus in a variety of precision health fields.

The NextGen building grand opening is Oct. 19. Stay tuned for event details.

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