Omenn lecture to bridge science, policy

March 22, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

The future of federal science funding, and of the role of scientific evidence in policymaking, has rocketed into the public spotlight in recent weeks. Many who work in science, medicine and engineering may find themselves pondering whether and how to enter the fray.

A lecture by Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., on Tuesday, March 28 may provide some inspiration.

Omenn has spent decades straddling the worlds of science, medicine and policy — from the Nixon, Carter, and Clinton presidential administrations to the leadership of the university’s academic medical center, the nation’s largest general scientific society and now the global Human Proteome Project.

In his Distinguished University Professorship lecture, he will share reflections on these experiences and the mentors who guided him through the early stages of his career. He’ll also speak about his work over the last 15 years leading the HPP.

Titled “Proteins, Policy, and Paths Less Travel’d: My Career as a Physician-Scientist”, the talk will begin at 4 p.m. in the amphitheatre on the second floor of the Rackham Building. A reception will follow.

A medical geneticist, cancer prevention clinical trialist and former Howard Hughes Investigator, Omenn now holds the Harold T. Shapiro Distinguished University Professorship, with appointments in the Medical School’s Departments of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Internal Medicine, and Human Genetics, as well as in the School of Public Health. He leads the universitywide Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics with 110 faculty affiliates.

Omenn came to Michigan in 1997 as the first Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of what was soon christened the U-M Health System. He mounted major initiatives in faculty recruitment, community engagement and synergies across the missions. The Omenn Atrium in the Taubman Biomedical Sciences Research Building recognizes his accomplishments.

After stepping down from his U-M executive role in 2002, he focused on proteomics and bioinformatics, part of what’s now known as the “big data” movement in medical research. In 2014, he received the David Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Schools for his contribution to healthcare in America.

Through his lecture, Omenn said, “I hope to stimulate some in the audience to make proteomics and bioinformatics important new elements of their research and others to explore roles enhancing our nation’s policies and programs.”