March 2010 -- Back in the mid-1990s an interesting initiative was gaining momentum at the National Institutes of Health. Some folks realized an increasing need for analyzing genetic markers in larger and larger collections of patient samples, and that this requirement would be bigger than any single institute at the NIH. The proposal that followed was totally new: Develop a facility to meet the demands of investigators both inside and outside NIH. Such a center would be able to gain an economy of scale.
When we at Hopkins caught wind of this, we invited the folks from the NIH to visit the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. They drove up and visited, we managed to snag the space and thus was born CIDR, the Center for Inherited Disease Research. I’d like to thank our NIH colleagues past and present for making CIDR possible at Johns Hopkins: Bob Nussbaum, Francis Collins, Jerry Roberts, Larry Brody, Camilla Day, Jim Battey, Eric Green, and the current co-directors and board of governors.
CIDR processed 37 billion genotypes last year. Billion. And it’s only growing. But none of this would be possible without the dedicated crew who work so hard to make the center such an amazing success: Alan Scott, Kim Doheny, Kim Kutchins, Elizabeth Pugh, Lee Watkins Jr., Corinne Boehm, Jane Romm and so many others. A sincere thank you to you all.
I personally judge the growth of the genetics field by looking at the number of completed genotyping projects we’ve done in so many different areas including psychiatry, hypertension and cancer—it shows that researchers are looking for genetic underpinnings for all kinds of health issues. Interest is growing, and the IGM and CIDR are there to help.
As always, I welcome your feedback.
David Valle, M.D.
Henry J. Knott Professor and Director
McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine