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Clay Marsh, M.D.: Using Systems Medicine Tools to Transform Health Care



Today’s health care is broken. The health system is concentrated in hospitals and doctor’s offices, fragmented, expensive, and reactive. Health care of the future is without walls, patient-centered, proactive, on demand, and precise. Today’s medicine focuses on disease; tomorrow’s medicine focuses on health and wellness. How do we achieve the medicine of tomorrow? New integrated scientific knowledge and tools are needed to reinvent health care.

With completion of the human genome project in 2003, an immediate and in-depth understanding of health and disease was expected. Instead, this discovery highlighted the knowledge gap between the genetic code and complex systems of living organisms. The complex biological systems of life are defined by interactions among genes, environment, and behavior and the dynamics, regulation, and organization of these elements. Systems biology dissects these complex systems (the organization, dynamics, and control of the system) to understand health and disease.  Thus, a “systems approach” refers to the integrated data elements that will enable a deep and precise understanding of the molecular and biochemical pathways—and the “systems” biology of these pathways—in health and disease.  Because the study of complex systems is paramount to advancing the understanding of health and disease, establishing the tools to capture and analyze these large data sets is part of the goals of this program. In disease networks, microRNA and transcription factors are projected as hubs in gene network pathway, and are a focus of the work of Clay Marsh’s group.

Dr. Marsh will discuss the area of pulmonary fibrosis, as an exemplar for disease and will discuss health. This talk focuses on the application of these tools to clinical domains, and how they may be used to explore disease and, ultimately, health. These observations will be used to build a framework for how to restructure and transform health care delivery to realize the promise of predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory (P4) medicine to serve others.


At the College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Dr. Marsh is Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences, Research, Vice Dean of Research for the College of Medicine, Research, Executive Director of the Center for Personalized Health, and the Director of the Center for Critical Care and Respiratory Medicine. He is also Professor of Internal Medicine and former director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Marsh received his undergraduate (Biology) and medical degrees at West Virginia University and did his Internal Medicine Residency and Pulmonary and Critical Care fellowship at the Ohio State University in Internal Medicine. Dr. Marsh is an NIH-funded investigator and his laboratory focuses on translational research in the area of macrophage biology, focusing on pulmonary fibrosis and tissue microenvironment/angiogenesis and applied genomics related to these areas.