Feinstein Institute gets grant for computational genomics center

Amelia Camurati
Northwell Health's Feinstein Institute for Medical Research recently received a $1.6 million grant to create a computational genomics center. (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

A state grant to Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research will help scientists treat patients based on their own genetic code, giving patients more personalized treatment plans.

“The hope with computational genomics and precision medicine is we no longer treat you based upon your gender, your race, your age, or even things like where your tumor is from,”Dr. John Chelico, vice president of research IT and informatics at the Feinstein Institute, said. “Now we’re not looking at a cancer tumor because it’s from the colon or because it’s in a certain stage; we’re getting the opportunity to look at it from the cellular and molecular level.”

Manhasset’s Feinstein Institute was recently awarded a $1.6 million state grant through the Regional Economic Development Council to create a computational genomics center as well as a handful of new jobs in the institute.

Chelico said the grant would be used to expand their high-speed data capabilities as well as establish a computational genomics center as part of the institute’s future vision.

Dr. John Chelico (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

“This is an ignition to building network infrastructure,” Chelico said. “Building data storage capabilities and a high-performance computing facility will allow us to pioneer new diagnoses and treatments for patients at Northwell Health and create new discoveries for science.”

The grant is also designed to bring anywhere from 10 to 20 jobs to the Feinstein Institute, inlcuding positions in information technology infrastructure, computational science and biomedical informatics.

In this new time of growth, Chelico said the major investment could triple the amount of research throughout the institute.

Chelico said researchers for Northwell Health, which spans 23 hospitals and cares for approximately 5 million patients per year, will be able to marry their existing data from the electronic health records system with genomic information.

While this is already happening in cancer care and prenatal screenings today, Chelico said he expects this to cascade into all parts of medicine in the future, such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes control.

The Regional Economic Development Council distributed $755 million statewide and about $84.3 million to Long Island for 98 projects.

About $3 million of the funds were funneled to North Shore initiatives, including Old Westbury Gardens, Hempstead Harbor Shore Trail and NYU Winthrop Hospital.

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