Retreat for Medicine and Engineering Departments Urges Faculty Members to ‘Think Big’

Published in Insight - Insight May/June 2019

While 20th-century health care’s mantra was “find it, fix it,” 21st-century health care should be built on “P4 medicine” — predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory treatment, says legendary biologist Leroy Hood. This insight was part of Hood’s keynote speech at the Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering’s annual research retreat, held March 1 at Turner Auditorium.

Now chief science officer at Providence Health & Services, one of the country’s largest nonprofit health care systems, Hood co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology, a nonprofit biomedical research organization that promotes cross-disciplinary work and a holistic approach to solving health problems.

Hood, who helped sequence the human genome, said that in the future, a person’s genes will help determine a treatment plan. “In 10 years, we’ll be able to identify disease transitions for most diseases, allowing for the early reversal of chronic diseases” or even preventing diseases from forming, he said. 

The theme of the 2019 research retreat, for which nearly 500 people registered, was Thinking Big: Systems Biology to Precision Medicine. Now in its third year, the retreat facilitates collaboration across the engineering and medical disciplines. 

This year’s event included speakers such as Gregory Hager — founding director of the Johns Hopkins Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, which gives “an engineer’s eye to medicine” —and Chirag Parikh, director of the Johns Hopkins Division of Nephrology. Also, more than 100 teams of researchers took part in poster sessions, and this year’s design projects from the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design were exhibited. 

The event also included an overview of 3D printing and prosthetics that the Johns Hopkins Department of Art as Applied to Medicine is creating, and a panel discussion on the importance of cross-disciplinary coordination to solve health problems. 

Read the full story from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures: “Speakers Urge Faculty Members to ‘Think Big’ at Engineering and Medicine Research Retreat.”