Emory Report
November 26, 2007
Volume 60, Number 12

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November 26, 2007
Predictive Health forum features advances in field

By Robin tricoles

The latest advances in predictive health will be featured at the third annual Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Symposium, Dec. 17 and 18. Noteworthy speakers from a variety of health care fields will discuss progress in defining and measuring health, discovering health biomarkers, identifying interventions to optimize health and applying new knowledge to individuals and populations worldwide.

Keynote speakers include Denis Cortese, president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic, who will discuss individualized medicine as the cornerstone of health care, and National Academy of Science member and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Helen Hobbs, who will talk about genetic protection from coronary artery disease. The roster includes speakers from the National Institutes of Health, University of Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to scientists from Emory and Georgia Institute of technology.

Predictive health is a new paradigm that defines the unique characteristics that predict disease risk for individuals and populations and uses new discoveries in biomedicine to emphasize health maintenance rather than treatment of disease.

“Emory is one of the few institutions that is at the leading edge in creating this revolutionary future of medicine,” said Fred Sanfilippo, CEO of Woodruff Health Sciences Center. “The Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute is building a new model of health care based on advances in science, technology and translational research combined with health economics, public policy, business and ethics."

The theme of this year's symposium is “Predictive Health — State of the Art: A Story in Four Parts,” with a first-day focus on defining and measuring health and discovering optimal biomarkers of health. On day two, presenters will discuss interventions to optimize health and ways to apply new knowledge to individuals and populations worldwide.

"New discoveries in science and technology are making it possible to understand health and how to maintain it at a level that we could not imagine even a decade ago,” said Kenneth Brigham, director of the Predictive Health Institute. “We are learning more about human biology than ever, and translating that knowledge into health in the context of the entire human experience requires changes in how health care is practiced by health professionals and how health and its care is understood by everyone."

The Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute combines a research core with a new Center for Health Discovery and Well Being — a clinical testing ground for new predictive biomarkers of health, disease risk and prognosis aimed at keeping people healthy. More than 20 research projects already are underway in predictive health, including biomarkers to predict risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, prediction of drug treatment toxicity, and predictive health modeling in early infancy.

The predictive health research program links the expertise of the systems biology program at the Georgia Tech, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, and the Emory program in computational and life sciences.

The two-day symposium will be held at the Emory Conference Center. Registration is $25 for Emory faculty and staff, $10 for students, and $100 for non-Emory registrants, including materials and lunch, both days. The agenda and registration are available at http://predictivehealth.emory.edu.