Renown Institute for Health Innovation

Genomic Medicine & Population Health Sciences

Renown Institute for Health Innovation (Renown IHI) is a collaboration between Renown Health – a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California; and the Desert Research Institute – a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet.

Renown IHI research teams are focused on integrating personal healthcare and environmental data with socioeconomic determinants to help Nevada address some of its most complex environmental health problems; while simultaneously expanding the state’s access to leading-edge clinical trials and fostering new connections with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Research Projects

The largest community-based population health study in the world.

Influence of germline mutations on susceptibility to environmental carcinogens

Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Liver Disease Genome Atlas Study

Lab of Genomic Medicine

The Laboratory of Genomic Medicine is fully equipped for state-of-the-art molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, and culture-based research and has capabilities to facilitate high-throughput work and recombinant DNA research. It also has full instrumentation, supporting equipment, and computational resources.

Team Members and Results and Clinical Data

Joseph Grzymski, Ph.D.
Director, Renown Institute for Health Innovation; Chief Scientific Officer, Renown Health; Research Professor, Computational Biology and Genetics

Joe conceived and is the Principal Investigator of Healthy Nevada Project – the largest community sponsored population health program in the U.S. He is responsible for developing new applied research initiatives at DRI and has helped expand DRIs expertise and presence in data analysis, statistics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, public health, business development and visualization through more than $7m in funding. He works closely with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. cares deeply about improving health, wellness and social capital in Nevada. His academic research over more than 20 years spans biophysics, informatics and molecular biology. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Biology at Bowdoin College, his Ph.D. from Rutgers University and was a Fulbright Scholar studying mathematical ecology. As the CSO of Renown Health, Joe helped launch the largest liver disease genetics study in the United States in partnership with the pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences.

 

Craig Kugler, MBA: Program Manager

Craig brings extensive finance, operations and project management experience to the IHI. He has worked for both private firms and large public companies, managing business unit and group finance teams, business unit operations as well as facility relocations, ERP system conversions, product development teams and capital equipment projects. He provides program and finance administration support for the team. Craig received his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and his M.B.A. in Finance from National University in San Diego, CA.

 

Karen Schlauch, PhD
Research Professor – Bioinformatics

Karen has been the Bioinformatics Core Director at Boston University School of Medicine and the University of Nevada, Reno. Her expertise in genome-wide association and family-based linkage studies stem from her work at deCODE in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Boston University. Karen’s publication record includes a number of manuscripts focusing on whole-omics studies targeting human disease, including NASH and NAFLD, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Gulf War Illness. Additionally, she has several publications directed towards human genome-wide association studies. Karen has a B.S. in Mathematics (concentration in Computer Science) from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from New Mexico State University.

 

Jim Metcalf, MS
Associate Research Scientist

Jim comes to the IHI from the private sector having worked at SAS Institute developing commercial grade analytic software for 23 years. He led highly-skilled teams of Ph.D. statisticians, econometricians, forecasters and operations research experts who were responsible for independently verifying the numerical correctness of the company’s industry-leading analytic, business intelligence and data management software. As the Chief Data Scientist, Jim has led his team in developing a variety of data analytic and machine-learning techniques used on EHR to extract valuable data and corresponding insights. Jim has a B.S. and M.S. in Geophysics from the University of Oklahoma.

 

Gai Elhanan, MD
Associate Research Scientist – Data Science

A veteran physician with more than 12 years of experience in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Gai also has more than 20 years of experience with healthcare information systems including research, design, development and implementation in clinical and administrative environments. Additionally, he has a formal medical informatics education with a broad informatics skill set. Dr. Elhanan has unique knowledge in the field of semantic networks and medical/healthcare ontologies. He has considerable experience in healthcare data analytics combining environmental and genomic data, healthcare informatics and medical terminologies. Gai received his M.D from Tel Aviv University and his M.S in Information Systems Management from Columbia University. He also completed a NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the Medical Informatics Department, New York Presbyterian Medical Center/Columbia University.

 

Bruce Lipp
Assistant Research Scientist – Software Development Programmer

Bruce has wide-ranging experience in software development, embedded systems, device drivers and system integration, industrial controls and project management. His significant projects include development of a human/machine interface for water treatment facilities, test automation projects for a casino gaming company and numerous device drivers for robotics applications. He has worked on the Healthy Nevada Project since its inception focusing on operational processes, electronic consenting, and data collection and aggregation. He graduated with a B.S. from the United States Military Academy and later earned his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

 

Robert Read, MS
Assistant Research Scientist – Biology

Robert is an informatics expert who has collaborated on several environmental and health related research studies in his career. The main focus of these studies was discovering how environmental stress impacts an organism’s physiology and the identification of high value gene targets with human therapeutic potential. He also has completed several genome and phenome wide association studies using the Healthy Nevada cohort. Robert received his B.S. and M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno.

 

Harry Reed, MA
Assistant Research Scientist; Software Development Programming

Harry’s IHI focus includes maintaining the medical, geospatial, genetic and environmental databases and programming tasks in SQL, SAS and other languages. Recently he developed a genetic analysis script that quickly returns results for participants at risk for selected CDC Tier 1 applications. Along with his formal training in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Harry has also provided computer support for the US Forest Service Forest and assisted in the development of various exposure/risk assessment programs for the US EPA, the EU JRC and chemical industry leaders. Harry has a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and an M.A. from Westminster Seminary California.

 

Daniel Kiser, MS
Assistant Research Scientist – Data Science

Daniel is a recent addition to the Applied Innovation Center team. Before coming to DRI as a Data Scientist, he served as an intern at the National Institutes of Health in the Computational Genomics and Statistics Branch, where he helped develop novel machine-learning methods. Daniel is familiar with several programming languages and has a strong background in statistical methods. Daniel received his B.S in Biology from Harding University. He is a recent graduate from the University of Arkansas where he received his M.S in Statistics and Analytics with a concentration in Biological Analytics.

 

Iva Neveux: Staff Research Scientist – Medical Sciences

Iva supports the Healthy Nevada Project through literature research, protocol development and survey creation and roll out to the Healthy Nevada Project participant base. In addition, she has provided data analytics on survey results to key stakeholders. As part of providing actionable results to participants, Iva is responsible for the Incidental Findings Report and web available FAQ’s for the CDC Tier 1 diseases reported to “at risk” participants. Iva has degrees in cell biology, molecular biology and genetics.

 

Andrew Joros, MS
Staff Research Scientist – Software Development Programmer

Andrew is a data scientist and has contributed to a variety of environmental studies at DRI. He was a key member of DRI’s precision agriculture project – Predira – where he has advanced methodologies for real time data capture of localized weather data used for field level forecasts. Andrew uses his formidable coding skills and deep knowledge of the AWS platform to support the IHI in a variety of cloud based computing and other data science initiatives. Andy has a B.S. in Meteorology from San Jose State University and a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Nevada, Reno.

 

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Joe Grzymski, Ph.D.
Director, Principal Investigator of Genomic Medicine
Joe.Grzymski@dri.edu

LOCATION

Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512

DIVISION

Earth & Ecosystem Sciences