Marylyn Ritchie, Ph.D., will lead a new collaboration between the Penn State and Geisinger Research to connect the genome data of 100,000 anonymous patients with their medical histories. The initiative aims to identify the genetic and environmental basis of human disease.

Dr. Ritchie is professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and director of the Center for Systems Genomics in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State University. She was named the founding director of the new Biomedical and Translational Informatics Program of Geisinger Research.

The new program was developed to harness the data resources being generated through a large-scale DNA-sequencing project at Geisinger in collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced in January 2014.

As part of her role as director, Dr. Ritchie will recruit additional researchers to build the new Geisinger program while continuing to promote collaborations between Geisinger and her colleagues. “This collaboration with Geisinger provides an enormous opportunity for faculty, graduate students, and post docs across Penn State to engage in discovery that seeks to improve human health,” Dr. Ritchie said. “Geisinger has a unique and robust resource for big-data analysis and Penn State has phenomenal data-science researchers.”

Dr. Ritchie has been with Penn State since 2011. She is the lead investigator in coordinating the genomic data in the electronic medical records and genomics network of an initiative in this area, eMERGE, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute. Ritchie is also a leader in the Statistical Analysis Resource (P-STAR) of the Pharmacogenomics Research Network.

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