Building Precision Health

Fighting the toughest diseases facing Hoosiers

As part of IU's Precision Health Initiative, physicians and scientists at IU, IU Health, and IU School of Medicine have made tremendous progress in battling diseases where few or no targeted treatments exist, let alone preventions or cures, including Alzheimer's disease, childhood sarcomas, multiple myeloma, Type 2 diabetes, and triple negative breast cancer.

Milan Radovich and Bryan Schneider. Photo courtesy of Indiana University.
  • IU School of Medicine researchers discovered how to predict when triple negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive and deadly form of the disease, will recur, and which women are likely to remain disease-free. The discovery, made by Milan Radovich and Bryan Schneider of the IU School of Medicine, is bringing newfound peace of mind and freedom to women with the disease and revolutionizing the way clinical studies for triple negative breast cancer are conducted worldwide. 
  • IU pediatric researchers discovered a unique drug combination that stops an aggressive form of osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, in children, based on tumor donation from the late Tyler Trent.
  • IU School of Medicine faculty are targeting gestational diabetes to stop its translation into Type 2 diabetes among women. 


  • A new IU Alzheimer's disease drug discovery center, designed to accelerate the identification of new drug targets, is focusing on proteins, or targets, related to the brain's immune system that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease. There is growing evidence that certain genes associated with the immune system may be linked to Alzheimer's disease, opening a new avenue for research and drug discovery. The center is funded with $36 million from the National Institutes of Health.

Preventing child maltreatment

Researchers in the IUPUI School of Social Work aim to protect the state's children

Indiana ranked third in the nation in child maltreatment-related fatalities in 2017, according to the Children's Bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. More than 18 per 1,000 children in Indiana are victims of maltreatment, twice the national rate.

A young girl sitting alone in stairway looking sad.

To address the problem of childhood maltreatment in Indiana, IU researchers are establishing family resource centers, located in places where families already gather such as schools and libraries. Their goal is to reduce foster care entry by connecting families to prevention-focused, evidence-based services and strategies before formal child welfare intervention becomes necessary.

The researchers are emphasizing prevention, creating public awareness campaigns to de-stigmatize the need for parenting training and enhance linkages to the support centers.

The Strengthening Indiana Families program is being carried out in Indiana’s Madison, Delaware, Tipton, and Grant counties by Susana Mariscal and Bryan Victor, associate professors in the IU School of Social Work at IUPUI, using a $2.74 million grant. Along with the Children’s Bureau and the involved counties, the program is a partnership with the Indiana Department of Child Services; the Indiana State Department of Health; the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration; and the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana.

Susana Mariscal.  Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University
Bryan Victor.  Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University