High performance computing system donated to Marshfield Clinic
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — Milwaukee Institute Inc. recently donated a high performance computing (HPC) system to Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI).
Dr. Peggy Peissig, director of MCRI’s Biomedical Informatics Research Center, said the HPC will transform MCRI’s ability to analyze patient health data and develop predictions that will assist physicians in identifying adverse events or ways to better care for patients.
“That means that science done in our lab can be used quickly by providers to help patients during their appointments,” Peissig said. “Patients will receive the right treatments at the right dose at the right time. A person suffering from a particular disease can avoid a medication that could have an adverse effect. A patient can learn if they are susceptible to a certain type of cancer based on their genetic makeup. All this and more can be determined and used more quickly than we ever could before.”
The gift will impact MCRI’s ability to continue conducting research that ultimately improves patient care. The HPC system harnesses the power equivalent to hundreds of computers to solve problems and analyze large amounts of data.
“We are in the era of big data,” Peissig said. “Medicine alone has nonillions of facts surrounding diagnoses, medications, laboratory, procedures, and genetics that we can analyze to unlock the mysteries of disease.”
The Milwaukee Institute is a nonprofit organization focused on helping people learn, connect, and unlock the potential of technologies and high-growth businesses in the region. After deciding to move away from providing high performance computing assistance to academic and industrial researchers, the Institute offered to donate the computing equipment to MCRI to advance its research and patient care mission.
“Our HPC system was configured for genomic and other health care-related applications,” said John Byrnes, Milwaukee Institute chairman. “Marshfield Clinic is a nationally recognized leader in genomic research, so we were pleased that the clinic can use this equipment to expand its associative studies in a very important way.”
Marshfield Clinic has a long history of applying genomics to human health. Following a discovery by MCRI’s Center for Human Genetics in 1989 involving variations in DNA sequences among humans, researchers in Marshfield developed the Marshfield genetic maps, which are used by researchers around the world to study the human genome.
Today, the Center for Human Genetics operates the country’s first population-based genetic research project, which works with health and genetic information provided by more than 20,000 central Wisconsin residents.