A 'unique marriage' & new CSO: The Providence Health & Services-Institutes for Systems Biology partnership

Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services announced Monday a new partnership with Institute for Systems Biology, a nonprofit biomedical research organization in Seattle, and the name of a new chief science officer.

Leroy "Lee" Hood, MD, PhD, a leading researcher in genomics and the president of ISB, will take on an additional role as senior vice president and CSO of Providence, a nonprofit system with locations in five states.

According to Rod Hochman, MD, president and CEO of Providence, Dr. Hood will lead the efforts of integrating ISB and Providence, and also advise Providence on the direction of its translational research and Providence Ventures — a fund Providence founded in 2014 — on what investments to make in areas like bioinformatics and genomics.

"Having him on our team is going to make a tremendous difference in that whole area," Dr. Hochman says.

In addition to bringing on Dr. Hood, the partnership between Providence and ISB — which Dr. Hochman calls a "unique marriage of a…science lab with a health system" — will help develop research programs specific to breast cancer, Alzheimer's and glioblastoma, the brain tumor that took Vice President Joe Biden's son's life.

The two organizations also plan to examine the genomics of the elements that keep people well.

Providence also made a commitment to expand the number of researchers and scientists at ISB, according to Dr. Hochman.

The affiliation is through Western HealthConnect, a secular organization formed that allows Providence to remain Catholic and secular organizations to remain nonreligious. ISB will stay its own separate legal entity and set its own research agenda.

Overall, this new collaboration will help bring groundbreaking research to the bedside for Providence patients.

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