Center for Personalized Medicine: Systems of Biology of Inflammation and Immunity

Project: Research project

Project Details


The three hypotheses driven Projects (P1, P2, P3) have the overarching theme of inflammation/immunity/HIV
and are focused, translationally-oriented, and geared to promote extensive crosstalk/synergy among
investigators. These proposed studies, that are highly VA-centric, will be conducted at the recently established
Center of Personalized Medicine (CPM) housed at the STVHCS, and leverage to the fullest extent with the
high-throughput capabilities of only one of two genomic facilities in the VA system. These capacities will be
tapped into and expanded upon further via funding from the proposed PP and this expanded facility is
designated as the Core of this PP. This facility, initially launched at the end of 2009, is fully functional and has
been supported by a variety of funds (local VA supports the service costs and the PI of the PPG has
expended flexible non-NIH resources available to him to support this facility). We anticipate a high level of
scientific and manpower capacity building at STVHCS with national impact because our expanded Core will
bolster genetic/epigenetic/genomics studies for the recently established Million Veterans Project. Hence, our
Core operates as a central node or focal point of the entire PPG from which all genetic, epigenetic and
transcriptomic data emanates from; this facility is fully equipped with contemporary Illumina platforms (recently
acquired HiSeq2000 platform) that can cover the entire range of methodologies that are encompassed in
contemporary system's biology approach. In our Core diverse techniques such as genome wide association
studies (GWAS), transcriptomics analysis by microarrays and RNA-seq, and DNA methylation mapping
through beadchip can be readily performed. Given the high level of expertise required to support high-scale
genomics and translational research, the Core will tap into the four existing units of the CPM that provide
distinct functions: (i) Genomics/Bioinformatics (supported by local VA); (ii) Biostatistics and (iii) Clinical and
(iv) Administrative (supported by funds from the University affiliate). The Core will be coordinated by one
Director (He), who has extensive experience in molecular biology and genomic research; this individual also
has vast experience in handling large data sets, and strong people skills to synergistically bring together the
different components of the PP. The VA investigators have expended significant energies in expanding
bioinformatics/biostatistical capacity as reflected by the preliminary data presented. There is strong VA and
UTHSCSA support for the PPG [VA supports Bioinformatics Unit of the Core and service contracts; and
UTHSCSA provides administrative support]. The PP enhances collaborative DoD-VA research as it capitalizes
on a unique cohort of US Service personnel who acquired HIV infection. This provides the platform for a high
degree of synergy as each Program capitalizes on this well characterized ~5000-person cohort with banked
prospectively collected biological specimens to address incisive hypotheses related to immune depletion and
recovery in the context of untreated and treated HIV infection. Furthermore, the PP will tap into existing
collaborations to integrate genomics and transcriptomics data setting the stage for moving from genes to
function and predictive medicine. Thus, the specific aims of the PP directly relate to defining
genetic/transcriptomic signatures that predict immune recovery on antiretroviral therapy (ART), providing novel
targets for therapy. The work we propose will significantly build capacity for genetic/genomic/epigenomic
research at our local VA and can be used as a resource for the larger VA research community. We believe that
the work proposed through the core will be transformative and provide a platform for VA investigators to
conduct cutting edge contemporary research towards advancing Personalized Medicine. Thus, the VA
research community and the MVP project can leverage our genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic and
bioinformatic skills and expertise to immensely benefit our patients who are veterans.
Effective start/end date4/1/143/31/18


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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