Intel's life sciences head moves camps to lead Precision Medicine Initiative research

Eric Dishman

Back in February, tech giant Intel ($INTC) said that it would launch a new program under President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) to improve data analytics for genomics research. Now, the company's general manager of Health & Life Sciences is moving camps and joining the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead PMI research.

As Director of the PMI's Cohort Program, Eric Dishman will focus on building up the initiative so it eventually has one million or more U.S. study volunteers. Dishman was already working with the PMI Working Group that developed the study design, the NIH said in a statement, so his recent appointment builds on those efforts.

Dishman brings an extensive resume to the table. The PMI's new helmsman has worked on some of the first and largest research and policy programs in the U.S. that focus on personal health records and behavioral markers for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. And he led Intel's healthcare strategy & research for more than 15 years, most recently serving as VP and Intel Fellow of the company's Health & Life Sciences Group.

In this role, Dishman fleshed out Intel's health IT, genomics and personalized medicine initiatives. In February, the Santa Clara, CA-based company announced that it would launch a new program aimed at helping patients get a diagnosis and personalized treatment plan sooner through better data analysis.

The program, called "All in One Day," will include an open-source proof of concept for data center infrastructure, which speeds processing and analysis of large genomic data sets. Intel also said that it would train researchers on proprietary technology that makes data sharing easier for scientists and clinicians.

"When researchers and doctors have the data, tools, and training to create a personalized treatment plan based on an individual's data, life goals, and needs, we will have ushered in a new era that is vital for our families, economy and future," Dishman said at the time.

Dishman's new appointment comes as the Obama administration dials up its PMI efforts. In December, President Obama signed legislation that would put more than $200 million toward the project this year. Part of that would go to the NIH to help it build its research cohort.

In February, the NIH tapped Alphabet ($GOOG) spinoff Verily and Nashville's Vanderbilt University to recruit a large-scale research participant group for the project. The agency's pilot program plans to enroll 79,000 volunteers by the end of this year.

- read the statement