Institute for Genomic Medicine :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Institute for Genomic Medicine

The Institute for Genomic Medicine (IGM) at Nationwide Children's Hospital was created in 2016 as one of the first ventures into pediatric personalized genomic medicine for children's hospitals.

About the IGM

Recognizing that the root cause of many childhood diseases can be traced directly to the genome, the vision for the Institute for Genomic Medicine – optimizing patient care through translational genomics – began taking shape just a few years ago. This vision reached fruition in 2016 with the recruitment of preeminent scientists Elaine Mardis, PhD, and Richard Wilson, PhD from Washington University-St. Louis and the expertise of Nationwide Children's faculty, including Julie Gastier-Foster, PhD , and Peter White, PhD .

The IGM combines a robust clinical laboratory with genome scientists and clinical geneticists to optimize patient care. Collaboration among clinicians, physician-scientists, and basic science investigators is emphasized to quickly transition novel research results into advanced diagnostics, using state-of-the-art technology.

With the Institute's world-renowned experts, genome-based testing is moving into the mainstream of pediatric diagnosis and treatment, making the results accessible and meaningful for patients and families.

IGM Areas of Focus:

  • Clinical Laboratory - Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Testing
  • Computational Genomics
  • Technology Development
  • Genomic Services
  • Translational Research

Areas of Translational Research

At Nationwide Children's, some current examples of genomic research include the following topics:

  • Heart Disease
  • Neonatal Medicine
  • Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of birth defect, affecting approximately 40,000 births per year in the United States. While some types of CHD arise in conjunction with other birth defects as part of a genetic syndrome, such as trisomy 21, the majority of cases occur as isolated birth defects, with their causes unknown.

A study at Nationwide Children's has used whole exome sequencing (WES) to identify the genetic cause of CHD in patients with a family history of CHD. It is the first study to demonstrate that date from WES can be applied to clinical testing of CHD.

Learn more using WES to find the cause of CHD in at-risk patients .

Neonatal Medicine

Nationwide Children's, in collaboration with The Ohio State University, formed the Ohio Perinatal Research Network (OPRN) in an effort to better understand preterm birth and why it happens. A key component of the network is the Perinatal Research Repository (PRR), where clinical data and specimens are stored, as well as specimens from the infant's mother and/or father, for current and future research.

Through the combined efforts of the PRR and the IGM, perinatal research is thriving at Nationwide Children's. One project involves the genomic sequencing of a cohort of patients to identify the genetic composition of preterm infants with good outcomes versus those who developed significant complications. Another program is designed to better understand predisposing genetic factors in preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia .

Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common pediatric cancer, comprising 75% of pediatric leukemia cases. Although the cure rate is 80-90 percent, hundreds of children with ALL still relapse every year, and a subset of genotypes with ALL have very poor outcomes.

The IGM Clinical Laboratory serves as the Children's Oncology Group (COG) ALL molecular reference laboratory and tests ALL patients from around the globe. A recent study by the COG is using sequencing and screening technologies to identify a subset of patients who have drastically poor outcomes, leading to a more targeted, precise treatment for children with this specific form of ALL.

The goal of pediatric cancer treatment includes risk stratification, early intervention and targeted therapy. This study demonstrates the power of genomic medicine to have a positive, precise impact on cancer patients.

Recent Institute News

featured video

Dr. Elaine Mardis has played a key role in research initiatives, including the Human Genome Project, The Cancer Genome Atlas, the Human Microbiome Project and the 1,000 Genomes Project.
Dr. Richard Wilson is one of the most respected and prolific names in science today. He serves as the Executive Director of our Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
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