Leadership & Faculty
Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B.
Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director
Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Professor of Cancer Research
What excites you about individualized medicine? "The science of precision medicine is transforming and differentiating the Mayo clinical practice by developing medical advances with global impact."
Scott A. Beck
What excites you about individualized medicine? "The excitement that I get is to go home at the end of the day and know I helped connect something we're doing in individualized medicine with improving patient care."
Konstantinos N. Lazaridis, M.D.
Everett J. and Jane M. Hauck Associate Director in Minnesota
William O. Lund, Jr., and Natalie C. Lund Co-Director, Clinomics Program
What will medicine look like in the future? "In the next five to 10 years, the use of next-generation sequencing for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy will be as common as ordering a complete blood count, a chest X-ray or a urinalysis."
Richard J. Caselli, M.D.
Associate Director in Arizona
What does the future hold? "We're looking forward to the day when Alzheimer's disease is a thing of the past. Someday soon, we believe that clinicians will be able to identify and prevent dementia, rather than simply slow its progression."
Alexander S. Parker, Ph.D.
Cecilia and Dan Carmichael Family Associate Director in Florida
What excites you about individualized medicine? "This is a very exciting time. We have reached a point where technology allows us to explore the causes of and treatments for human disease like never before. We are applying these new technologies to ensure that Mayo Clinic continues its long tradition of providing the best care for each and every patient."
Asher Alban A. Chanan Khan, M.D.
Assistant Director in Florida
What does the future hold? "Hematological malignancies have proven to be some of the most difficult cancers, with tragically low survival rates for many. Our hope is that knowing the genomic components of these cancers and tailoring treatments to the molecular changes will not only help our patients live longer but also allow us to prevent them before they become a problem."
John C. Cheville, M.D.
Co-Director, Biomarker Discovery Program
What does the future hold? "In the case of prostate cancer, understanding the individual genetic changes in each prostate cancer in the context of the pathologic features, and planning treatment around these findings, is a new paradigm in caring for men with prostate cancer."
George Vasmatzis, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Biomarker Discovery Program
What will be the impact of individualized medicine? "Genome sequencing is the single most important invention of our lifetime. It will eventually turn out to be more important than the microprocessor and personal computer — and that's coming from an electrical engineer."
Eric D. Wieben, Ph.D.
Director, Medical Genome Facility
Co-Director, Clinomics Program
What excites you about individualized medicine? "The idea that a single change in the 6 billion letters of a person's DNA could cause a disease or make someone sick fascinated me when I started graduate school. What we're able to do now with next-generation sequencing makes it all the more interesting because we can look at all 6 billion letters in a single assay. Now, we can begin to unravel the complexities of the most frustrating diseases and have a real impact on the health and well-being of our patients."
Tamas Ordog, M.D.
Director, Epigenomics Program
What does the future hold? "Genomics tells us what is hard-wired in our bodies. Epigenomics allows us to manipulate the control systems. We're working toward a time when genes can simply be turned on or off, like a light switch, to restore health in an individual patient."
Grzegorz S. Nowakowski, M.D.
Associate Director, Epigenomics Program
What will individualized medicine mean for the patient? "New genomic sequencing techniques give us the unprecedented ability to understand what’s happening within the individual cancer cells of every cancer patient. This represents a major shift in our approach to cancer treatment − moving away from a best-for-most model to what’s optimally beneficial for each individual patient."
Heidi Nelson, M.D.
Director, Microbiome Program
Fred C. Andersen Professor
What excites you about individualized medicine? "The connections between our health and the trillions of bacteria inside us are staggering. They start forming before we're born and continue to influence our wellness throughout our lives. They've coevolved with us, and yet we still know so little about them. What's most exciting to me is that we are starting to probe this new frontier in a meaningful way, and by doing so, we will solve many of the mysteries of medicine."
Nicholas Chia, PH.D.
Associate Director, Microbiome Program
What excites you about individualized medicine? "Genomics is unequivocally the most powerful tool in microbiology and microbiologists have always been at the forefront in utilizing genomics technologies. Without genetic sequencing, we would have continued to be unable to assess the evolutionary relationships and diversity of life."
Purna C. Kashyap, MBBS
Associate Director, Microbiome Program
What is important about your role in individualized medicine? "We have been pleasantly surprised by the discoveries over the past decade on the role of the microbiome in shaping human health. As a physician-scientist, my goal is to ensure that we stay at the forefront in the development of novel treatments and that we offer our patients access to the latest microbiome-targeted therapies."
Richard Weinshilboum, M.D.
Mary Lou and John H. Dasburg Professor of Cancer Genomics
What excites you about individualized medicine? "This is an amazing time that I wasn't sure I would see during my career. We're making the transition from knowing one 'sketch' of the human genome — that's the Human Genome Project — to being able to know the individual genome for each of our patients and their tumors."
Liewei Wang, M.D., PH.D.
Associate Director, Pharmacogenomics Program
What does the future hold? "Individualized medicine will allow physicians to diagnose, treat and prevent disease uniquely for each patient. This process will lead to better clinical outcomes."
Richard R. Sharp, Ph.D.
Director, Bioethics Program
Why is Mayo Clinic able to excel in individualized medicine? "Mayo is uniquely positioned to shape the future of individualized medicine in large part because of our traditional focus on meeting the needs of each individual patient. Our new programs in individualized medicine and biomedical ethics are natural extensions of that guiding philosophy. We see each patient’s medical needs within the larger context of their personal life circumstances, goals, and values."
Jean-Pierre A. Kocher, Ph.D.
Director, Bioinformatics Program
What excites you about individualized medicine? "All of us in bioinformatics at Mayo Clinic are excited about looking at genome data and discovering new variants and thinking about all the ways this new information is going to help create a new test or improve the way a patient is cared for."
Eric W. Klee, PH.D.
Associate Director, Bioinformatics Program
What does the future hold? "I believe the future of medicine will see an increasing role of genetics to individualize patient treatments and increase the application of preventive medicine practice. In the coming years, our understanding of genomic and epigenetic data will continue to improve at an amazing rate, allowing previously fictitious ideas of medicine to become realities."
Stephen N. Thibodeau, Ph.D.
David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Director, Biorepositories Program
William H. Donner Professor
Why is Mayo Clinic able to excel in individualized medicine? "Access to high-quality, clinically annotated biospecimens is an essential ingredient for individualized medicine. The availability of biospecimens and clinical information from large numbers of healthy individuals and from patients with a variety of diseases dramatically accelerates our ability to translate genomic research into clinical practice. With these resources, the range of diseases we are able to study and the pace of discovery is staggering."
James D. Buntrock
Director, Information Technology Program
Why did you choose genomics? "Technology is so engrained in our daily lives that we rarely stop to think how it can be used. Genomics will eventually become as much a part of us as computers and smartphones."
Jason L. Ross
Associate Director, Information Technology Program
What’s important about your role in individualized medicine? "Using recent advances in technology, we take massive amounts of information, rapidly process it, and quickly derive meaning used to treat patients in ways we couldn’t five years ago. We have developed software and tools that work on millions of genomic variants in near-real time, allowing physicians and researchers to identify potential genomic patterns−sort of like a DNA signature. Because of this, we are able to accelerate our understanding about a patient’s disease…and find answers."
Timothy B. Curry, M.D., PH.D.
Director, Education Program
What is important about your role in individualized medicine? "Education is crucial in translating individualized medicine into everyday practice. From the lecture hall to the hospital room, we are using innovative approaches to meet the unique educational needs of learners, whether they are patients, providers, researchers or students."
Matthew J. Ferber, PH.D.
Director, Business Development
What excites you about individualized medicine? "What excites me most about individualized medicine today is our ability to describe patients at the genomic level, which allows us the chance to identify their condition at the level of their DNA. This knowledge can recommend treatments or predict future illnesses we never would have suspected."