IGSB research at the University of Chicago is focused on genomics and systems biology projects to discover new mechanisms, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic targets to help improve human health, implement models to predict disease dynamics, and ascertain genomic functions that control homeostasis in living matter.  Resources promote research initiatives aligned with the Institute’s thematic framework: Discover, Predict, and Improve: Advancing Human and Environmental Health.


  • Genetic Mechanisms of Health and Disease, Such as Cancer and Diabetes
  • Annotations of Human and Model Organism Genomes
  • Proteomics and Signaling Networks in Health and Disease
  • Genomics and Cellular Molecular Networks That Control Development
  • Role of Microbes in the Planet’s Carbon Cycle
  • Microbial Systems Biology Networks
  • Genomic & Environment Interactions By Mining Clinical Records
  • Cellular Signaling Networks and Evolutionary Genomics
  • Relationships Between Population Genomics and Complex Diseases


  • Patient Outcomes With Computational Biology, Informatics and Modeling
  • Which Molecules Are The Best Drug Targets
  • Molecular Behavior of Interacting Components in Biological Systems That Help Investigators Design New Therapies
  • Behavior of Gene Networks that Regulate Living Matter
  • Emergence of Biological Properties and Behaviors in Complex Systems


  • Human Health
  • Biological Engineering & Technology Development of Biotech Tools
  • Diagnostic Markers for Molecular Medicine
  • Computational Approaches to Analyze Complex Systems-Wide Data
  • Predictive Models for Transcriptional Robustness Systems in Model Organisms and Humans

IGSB Initiatives

1000 Chicago Cancer Genome Project

Cancer is, at it heart, a genetic disease, driven by the acquisition of mutations in important genes.  Although these mutations produce cancer, recent results in several tumors suggest that these mutations may also represent medical’s Achilles heel. The project is sequencing and analyzing genes in 1000 different human genomes to detect similarities and differences in the genes of malignant tumors, including cancers of the breast, bladder, lung, prostate, and head and neck as well as leukemias and lymphomas.

Metabolic Diseases and Diabetes

In partnership with the IGSB, Mark Ratain, MD (Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology / Oncology) and colleagues are analyzing genome wide variation in DNA sequence and gene expression in a large collection of human livers to discover patterns of genomic variation and expression.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Eugene Chang, MD (Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology) has partnered with IGSB Core Member Dion Antonopoulos, PhD (IGSB, Argonne) to sequence patient gut contents, containing thousands of different bacterial species, to determine the relationship between specific bacteria and inflammatory bowel disease.

Unlocking the secrets of the genome
Press release

Chicago Cancer Genome Project 1000

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