Mayo Clinic to house ASU department

RELOCATION: ASU President Michael Crow and Dr. John Noseworthy, President and CEO Mayo Clinic, chat with CEO of Mayo Clinic in Arizona Dr. Victor Trastek (not pictured) before a press conference Monday to announce ASU's Department of Biomedical Informatics relocation from downtown Phoenix to Mayo's Scottsdale campus. (Photo by Christopher Leone)

Students, faculty and staff in ASU’s Department of Biomedical Informatics will move their work and studies to the Mayo Clinic this summer.

ASU President Michael Crow announced Monday that the department of about 60 people will move from its home on the Downtown campus and into the Mayo Clinic’s campus in north Scottsdale sometime late this summer.

Dr. Victor Trastek, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said the decision is the next step in a collaborative relationship between the Mayo Clinic and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation that began in 2003.

Crow said several new degrees and disciplines would emerge from the partnership in biomedical informatics.

This medical field will enable medical professionals “to operate at a level of information beyond anything that we’ve ever been able to do before,” providing more personalized treatment and lowering costs, Crow said.

Biomedical informatics is an emerging field related to technology for personalized medicine. It incorporates knowledge about the human genome with a patient’s personal medical history to improve outcomes, Crow said.

Biomedical informatics is about data mining and making intelligent decisions based on the data. The data reaches well beyond traditional areas, like a patient’s blood type, and into such areas as a patient’s genetic predispositions to certain types of cancer.

Trastek said medical information is exploding at many levels and biomedical informatics is the discipline of bringing that information together and using it to improve individual patient outcomes.

The partnership will be a blend of ASU faculty and students with Mayo researchers and physicians, Trastek said.

Putting faculty and students on a Mayo campus is a first for Mayo, said Michael Yardley, chair for public affairs of Mayo Clinic Arizona.

About 45 students and 15 faculty members will relocate to the 75,000-square-foot Samuel C. Johnson Research Center on Mayo’s Scottsdale campus, Yardley said.

“In the future what our hope is is to take everything that is known in the world of biomedical research and science and practice, and filter out the stuff that is wrong or doesn’t apply, and then focus that [what does apply] on the individual patient,” said Dr. John Noseworthy, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic.

Crow said if not much is known about a patient, particularly his genomic background, “a lot of money will be spent by some health care provider trying to find something that will help [him].”

Right now there are huge inefficiencies stemming from bad decision-making, Crow said. For instance, every patient may not need their blood pressure taken every two hours, as is customary now, he added.

Some patients need a blood pressure check every 10 minutes and others never, Crow said.

Reach the report at cbleone@asu.edu