Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Symposium features national healthcare leaders

Speakers include Elias Zerhouni, Kari Stefansson, David Schwartz

ATLANTA -- A distinguished field of national healthcare leaders and biomedical scientists will participate in the second annual Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Symposium Dec. 18 and 19 in Atlanta, offering a variety of perspectives on this new model of healthcare for the 21st century.

The new paradigm of predictive health will define the unique characteristics that predict disease risk for individuals and will emphasize maintenance of health rather than treatment of disease. The symposium will engage biomedical scientists and leading thinkers in conversations about what the new biomedicine of predictive health can be and how we can make it work.

Elias Zerhouni, MD, director of the National Institutes of Health, will deliver the symposium's keynote address on Monday, Dec. 18, followed by distinguished speaker K‡ri Stef‡nsson, MD, DrMed, CEO, deCODE Genetics. The two-day event takes place at the Emory Conference Center at 1615 Clifton Rd., adjacent to the Emory University campus.

"The Predictive Health Initiative will create a new model of health and healing for the 21st century," said Michael M.E. Johns, MD, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Chairman of Emory Healthcare. "We want to define the unique intrinsic and environmental characteristics that predict disease risk for individuals, then work to define and maintain health rather than focus our efforts on treating disease."

Johns will lead the symposium. Distinguished speakers include Robert J. Gillies, professor of biochemistry, physiology and radiology, University of Arizona; Timothy W. Behrens, Genentech; Carol D. Ryff, director, Institute on Aging, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Forbes Dewey, Jr., professor of mechanical engineering and biological engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Raimond L. Winslow, professor of biomedical engineering, Johns Hopkins University; Muin Khoury, chief, Public Health Genetics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Robert Hanson, Diabetes and Arthritis Epidemiology Section, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health. Leading scientists from Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology also are part of the two-day program.

Kenneth Brigham, PhD, director of the Predictive Health Initiative, said, "Existing and emerging science and technology make it possible for us to understand health and how to maintain it at a level that we could not image even a decade ago. Although we are learning how to live longer and better, translating that knowledge into practice poses challenges that will require major changes in biomedical practice by physicians and scientists, and behavioral changes by all individuals."

The Predictive Health Initiative will combine a research core with a clinical testing ground for new predictive biomarkers of health, disease risk and prognosis aimed at keeping people healthy. The research program links the expertise of the systems biology program at the Georgia Institute of technology, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, and the new Emory program in computational and life sciences. 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.

Registration is required for attendance, and is available through the website at http://www.emory.edu/CME/

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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