Genomics and Chronic Non-Communicable diseases


Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), primarily cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are responsible for 63% of all deaths worldwide, and 80% of NCDs deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.1

Given its tradition of excellence in research, the University of Chicago is uniquely poised to address the issues of why NCDs disproportionately affect the poor in low- and middle-income countries and U.S. minority populations, and whether we can develop a “precision medicine” approach to reduce health inequities. GHI supports faculty who study NCDs across diverse fields such as medicine, genetics, computational science, and the social sciences. Below are examples of GHI collaborative research initiatives in genomics and non-communicable diseases.

Research in Action

global burden of cancer

Dr. Funmi Olopade and others are organizing to build on U of C strengths in cancer and genomics to create large-scale, prospective cohort studies to better understand the extent and manifestations of cancer globally. This group will also explore how to strengthen health systems so they can respond to the expanding burden of other chronic, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, COPD, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.


personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics 

At the University of Chicago's Center for Personalized Medicine, where Professors Eileen Dolan, PhD, Mark Ratain, MD, and Nancy Cox, PhD,  are interested in advancing the field of clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenomics by studying diverse cohorts of patients undergoing cancer treatment. While undergoing chemotherapy, most patients have a “watch and wait” period in which the effectiveness of the treatment is unknown. Care of cancer patients would be greatly improved if physicians could better predict which individuals are at greatest risk of experiencing chemotherapy-related toxicities and non-response and could choose chemotherapy regimens based on potential clinical benefits and side effects.