Alain van Gool
Integrated ‘omics and their role in personalized healthcare now and in the future
Alain van Gool is professor Personalized Healthcare at the Radboud university medical center and applied biomarker scientist at Netherlands Institute for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), with a strong passion in the application of biomarkers in translational medicine and personalized healthcare. His professional background since 1991 is a mix of academia, pharmaceutical industry, applied research institutes, university medical centers. He has been leading technology-based biomarker laboratories, cross-functional expert teams, therapeutic project teams and public-private consortia, many of which were focused on the discovery, development and implementation of translational biomarkers in a variety of therapeutic areas. While working in Europe, USA and Asia, he and his teams contributed to over 200 projects in various phases of biomarker R&D. His technical expertise resides most strongly in molecular profiling (various Omics approaches), analytical biomarker development, and applications in translational scientific research. Alain currently heads the Radboudumc center for proteomics, glycomics & metabolomics, coordinates the Radboudumc Technology Centers, is Scientific Lead Technologies of DTL (the Dutch Techcenter for Life Sciences), is Chair Biomarker Platform of EATRIS (the European infrastructure for Translational Medicine) and is co-initiator of Health-RI (the Netherlands Personalized Medicine and Health Research Infrastructure), thus contributing to the organization and coordination of local, national and European technology infrastructures.
We are now in midst of the era of personalized medicine: provide the right drug to the right patient at the right dose at the right time. Recently, society is driving this even more upstream towards early diagnosis of non-healthy states and prevention of disease using mHealth and eHealth tools, changing the model to personalized healthcare. Key drivers of the personalized medicine and healthcare models are molecular biomarkers. As human systems are extremely complex, multiple biomarkers are needed to reflect the state of the biological system. The various ‘omics technologies are powerful approaches to identify and validate such biomarkers, in combination with cellular and clinical researchers, high quality biobanks and data scientists, to name a few. Although the ‘omics platforms have not fulfilled the great expectations of the past decades regarding impact on healthcare, several promising developments suggest major breakthroughs in the years to come. Examples will be discussed, along with new initiatives to organize technology infrastructures to drive personalized medicine and health research.