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IU Awards Up To $40M To Precision Health In Grand Challenges

Anantha Shekhar, leader of the winning research project for the Grand Challenges funding program.

Photo: Drew Daudelin

Anantha Shekhar, leader of the winning research project for the Grand Challenges funding program.

The Precision Health Initiative has been awarded the first round of $300 million in research funding from Indiana University.

IU’s Grand Challenges Program amounts to $300 million awarded to up to five different programs over the next five years. It aims to bolster strengths within the university and put a large amount of money into tackling big problems.

“Over the next ten years, within IU, we will cure at least one cancer, we will cure at least one childhood disease, and we will create prevention methods for at least one chronic disease and one neurodegenerative disease,” says Anantha Shekhar, the project leader.

He says precision health is about ensuring the prevention and treatment of a disease is tailored to an individual.

The group will look at the genetic, developmental, behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s health.

With up to $40 million in grant funding from Grand Challenges, and up to $80 million in additional funds from the IU School of Medicine, the project will hire 40 new, full-time faculty members and support the creation of new facilities, including new gene editing and sequencing cores.

The research group will work with business and community partners, including Eli Lilly and Co, Roche Diagnostics, Cook Regentec and IU Health.

IU Vice President for Research Fred Cate says none of the money brought in for the Grand Challenges initiative came out of other research projects. Cate says they’re not sure when the second recipient will be announced, but that it could be within the next year.

The year-long Grand Challenges selection process included 21 initial proposals and five finalists.

See the complete proposal below: 

Precision Health Initiative Proposal

Becca Costello contributed to this story.

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