Team of researchers led by Tal Korem, PhD awarded grant to advance precision medicine research

A team of Columbia University Irving Medical Center faculty members, led by Tal Korem, PhD, an assistant professor of systems biology and reproductive sciences (in Obstetrics and Gynecology) at CUIMC, recently received a Precision Medicine Pilot Award supporting their research on spontaneous preterm birth. Dr. Korem is the Principal Investigator for the team, and his Co-PIs are Anne-Catrin Uhleman, MD, PhD; George Gallos, MD; and Joy-Sarah Vink, MD.

The grants were given to five teams of researchers from CUIMC in order to fund a diverse set of precision medicine research. Jointly awarded by the Columbia Precision Medicine Initiative (CPMI), the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (Irving Institute), the Precision Medicine Pilot Awards underscore Columbia’s commitment to supporting research targeting the promise of precision medicine, across multiple diseases.

The five teams will each receive $100,000 in funding for one year. The researchers will present their projects at an annual symposium for the precision medicine awards in fall 2021.

Dr. Korem’s project aims to uncover novel insights regarding the involvement of the microbiome in different manifestations of spontaneous preterm birth. His team will study how the microbiome interacts with the body in the context of spontaneous preterm birth and its clinical presentations, using microbiome analysis methods that provide biological insights to the link between microbial genomes and host outcomes.

Dr. Korem joined the Department of Ob/Gyn this year. The Korem Lab conducts research aimed at facilitating the downstream development of microbiome-based therapeutics. They use machine learning, network inference and metabolic modelling to obtain a mechanistic understanding of host-microbiome interactions in clinically relevant settings.

To learn more about the Precision Medicine Pilot Award and see the full list of awardees, visit