Skip to main content

UC San Diego Included in NIH Multi-Omics for Health and Disease Consortium

Louise Laurent, MD, PhD, will lead a disease study site as part of the NIH’s Multi-Omics for Health and Disease Consortium. Photo credit: UC San Diego Health Sciences

Researchers at UC San Diego have been awarded a new grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) as part of the Multi-Omics for Health and Disease Consortium, a $50.3 million NIH initiative that aims to advance the use of “multi-omic” data for human health research.

The grant will establish a disease study site at UC San Diego for preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of kidney damage. The research team will be led by Louise Laurent, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Multi-omics refers to research that integrates several “omics” data types derived from different research areas, such as genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Each of these data types provides distinct information about different aspects of a biological system. In this way, multi-omics offers great promise in helping scientists define disease subtypes, identify biomarkers and discover new drug targets.

UC San Diego is one of six disease study sites within the consortium, which will collect data from participants on a wide range of diseases. Importantly, at least 75% of participants will be from ancestral backgrounds underrepresented in genomics research.

In addition to various types of omics data, these study sites will also collect data on participants’ environments and social determinants of health. Synthesizing all this information can offer a much more comprehensive view of the factors that contribute to disease risk and outcomes than any single approach could achieve on its own.

While the study will yield many new insights into individual diseases, the broader goal of the consortium is to develop scalable and generalizable multi-omics research strategies and methods to analyze these large and complex datasets. This will allow future research groups to benefit from the work of the consortium.

“Multi-omics studies are at the forefront of biomedical research and promise to advance our understanding of disease onset and progression, all while potentially providing important clues for treatment design and drug-discovery efforts,” said Erin Ramos, PhD, MPH, deputy director of NHGRI’s Division of Genomic Medicine. “This new consortium is an important step in making those advances a reality.”

Learn more about the Multi-Omics for Health and Disease Consortium.

Miles Martin