Ohio State grant establishes new center for maternal and pediatric drug research

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new, five-year $17.1 million grant awarded to The Ohio State University College of Medicine will fund the creation of a knowledge bank to support the study of drugs and medical treatments for pregnant and lactating women and children.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant to the departments of Biomedical Informatics, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics will help establish the Maternal and Pediatric Precision in Therapeutics Data, Model, Knowledge and Research Coordination Center. This newly created center will serve as a national resource for multidisciplinary expertise and knowledge in maternal and pediatric therapeutics.

“There is a significant knowledge gap in drug therapy research in pregnant and lactating women and children,” said Lang Li, principle investigator and professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the Ohio State College of Medicine. “Unlike in adult populations, our understanding of the way drugs move through the body, effect the body, act in the body and interact with the body among these patients is sparse and limited. The pharmacology knowledge base, if successfully developed, will have a long lasting impact on therapeutic drug development.”

The Maternal and Pediatric Precision in Therapeutics Data, Model, Knowledge and Research Coordination Center is made up of six core components, including the knowledgebase portal, logistics, outreach, dissemination and training and clinical trial design. There will be two Centers of Excellence in Therapeutics at Vanderbilt University and the University of California San Diego.

“In addition to developing the pharmacology knowledgebase, we will coordinate research activities, promote educational opportunities and model the interactions between drugs and pregnant and lactating women and their children,” Li said. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the true innovations behind our data integration and model development.”

Sara K. Quinney at the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is co-principal investigator. Additional Ohio State researchers include Lijun Cheng and Megan Gregory from the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Dr. Maged Constantine from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Dr. Carl Backes from the Department of Pediatrics.

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