Minority Health-GRID Network: A Genomics Resource for Health Disparity Research

The goal of this $13.3M NIH funded project is to integrate clinical, environmental and deep sequencing genetic information to better understand the causes of and the remedies for cardiovascular health disparities. Led by Dr. Gary Gibbons of MSM (now director of NHLBI) with Dr. Joel Saltz of Emory as the Biomedical Informatics lead, this project has a strong ACTSI base, with contributors from MSM, Emory and Kaiser Permanente Georgia, and collaborators from non-ACTSI sites at Baylor College of Medicine, Jackson Hinds Clinic and Stanford University.

MH-GRID is establishing an EHR (Electronic Health Record)-linked bioinformatics/bio-repository infrastructure that facilitates in depth genotyping, phenotypic characterization and longitudinal surveillance of minority patients. The infrastructure is designed to enable the integration of genetic markers, clinical data and social environmental factors in order to characterize the predictors of health outcomes in minority patients across a wide spectrum of health disparity conditions. The initial "use case" project focuses on a sub-phenotype of primary hypertension that is common among African Americans and enriched for genetic determinates based on its early-onset, severity and associated premature kidney disease. MH-GRID is exploiting high throughput sequencing technology to create a genome-wide exome catalogue of 2,400 African American patients. The MH-GRID team will define contributions of genetic markers in the context of social-environmental factors and co-morbidities such as diabetes and obesity. The MH-GRID infrastructure heavily leverages the ACTSI BIP infrastructure and research capabilities and supports biomedical informatics training by engaging MSCR Informatics Track and Biomedical Informatics PhD program students.

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