Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in cardiology, a professor in pathology, biostatistics and bioinformatics, a professor of biomedical engineering, and a professor in Duke’s School of Nursing, will leave Duke to assume the role of Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program, effective January 2022. Dual announcements were made on Nov. 3 by the NIH and Duke School of Medicine.
In his new role, Ginsburg will have the opportunity to build out the research agenda for All of Us and to engage research scientists across all 27 institutes of the NIH as well as the research community across the U.S. and internationally.
“As I reflect on what I’ve been doing across most of my career both at Millennium Pharmaceuticals in the late 1990s and early 2000s and then at Duke for the last 17 years, this opportunity with All of Us is the capstone for everything I’ve been thinking about,” says Ginsburg. “In the U.S., this platform is second to none in terms of the ability to carry out the research agenda for precision medicine. It encompasses an amazing set of resources that has the potential to really change how we practice medicine, how we do research, and it brings to fruition my particular focus on individualized care, health, and population health.”
Originally announced as the Precision Medicine Initiative cohort program in 2015 by former U.S. President Barack Obama, the name was later changed to the All of Us Research Program, which aims to gather data from at least one million diverse people aged 18 and up who reside in the U.S. as a means of accelerating biomedical research and improving health. The data repository is expected to permit researchers to “take into account individual differences in lifestyle, socioeconomic factors, environment, and biologic characteristics in order to advance precision diagnosis, prevention, and treatment,” according to a 2019 special report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
All of Us is enrolling participants from a network of more than 340 recruitment sites. According to the All of Us research website more than 429,000 participants have joined the program and more than 329,000 have contributed biospecimens to the repository, with more than 80 percent of those participants hailing from groups that have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research. The first 80,000 whole genome sequences will be released by the end of the year.
“A visionary leader in genomics and precision medicine, Dr. Ginsburg has been instrumental in Duke’s work to advance this still emerging field of science, foster important collaborations, and improve human health,” said Mary E. Klotman, MD, Dean, Duke University School of Medicine.
Indeed, Ginsburg has been a transformative leader for Duke University and the School of Medicine for 17 years. He is the founding director of the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine (CAGPM) and also founding director of MEDx, a partnership between Duke’s Schools of Medicine and Engineering, which is designed to stimulate collaboration and innovation. During his tenure at Duke, Ginsburg has pioneered translational genomics, the development of novel diagnostics, and precision medicine. With a strong commitment to interdisciplinary science and innovation, he has led projects to develop predictive models for common complex diseases using high dimensional genomic data and developed partnerships with engineering colleagues to develop novel point of care sensors.
“Dr. Ginsburg’s achievements at Duke are numerous, and they all center around genetic science and entrepreneurship fueled by innovation and collaboration,” says Kathleen Cooney, MD, chair, Duke Department of Medicine. “Geoff has made an enormous difference here as founder of both the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine and MEDx. His ability to identify and build partnerships across the Duke enterprise with the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke Heart, and many, many others has been a driving force behind our leadership in precision medicine.”
An internationally recognized expert in genomics and personalized medicine, Ginsburg has authored or co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications. His research has been supported by the NIH, the Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Gates Foundation, and others. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to interdisciplinary science and innovation, with work spanning oncology, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. He is a founding co-chair of the International HundredK+ Cohorts Consortium, and founder and president of the Global Genomic Medicine Collaborative (G2MC), a not-for-profit organization aimed at creating international partnerships to advance the implementation of precision medicine.
Ginsburg has served on a number of advisory councils for the NIH including the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Board of External Experts (2007-2016), the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research (2009-2011), the External Advisory Committee of the Pharmacogenomics Research Network (2010-2013), the National Center to Accelerate Translational Science (NCATS) Advisory Council (2012-2017), the NHLBI External Advisory Board for Precision Medicine Initiative (2015-2016), and most recently on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the NIH (2016-2020), and the Genomic Medicine Working Group for the National Human Genome Research Institute (2011 to present). He has held leadership roles as the Chair of the NIH CTSA Translational Steering Committee and as Vice Chair of the Cures Acceleration Network Advisory Board.
Ginsburg will step down from both of his directorship roles at Duke in late December. He will remain on faculty at Duke as an adjunct professor in the School of Medicine. The Center for Applied Genomics will continue to grow and succeed at Duke thanks to the team Ginsburg has grown over the years. Dr. Cooney will serve as interim center director to ensure a smooth and orderly transition once a new director is named. Dean Klotman, Provost Sally Kornbluth, and Jerome Lynch, who was recently named dean of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, will work together to plan the future direction of MEDx.
We are so excited for Geoff and this incredible career opportunity for him at the NIH! He has done an outstanding job at Duke and he will be deeply missed. Please join us in congratulating him on this exciting next step in his accomplished career!
Originally posted in the Pulse newsletter for Duke Heart.