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May 1, 2018

Imaging expert from Harvard to lead MSU’s Precision Health Initiative

Anna Moore has joined Michigan State University as the director of the Precision Health Program and assistant dean of the College of Human Medicine.

Moore was previously professor of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

As director of MSU’s Precision Health Program, Moore’s vision is to lead health care away from simply treating symptoms to restoring health before symptoms occur. Moore said this can be done by conducting genetic screens early in life to look for complex genetic factors and assess disease risk. With this risk assessment a person can be monitored over their lifetime for early indicators or symptoms and treated as early as possible.

“As diseases develop, the costs increase dramatically and the treatment options are more limited,” Moore said. “Therefore, we will develop tools and technologies that will be used to detect disease early, allowing for more effective options that are less costly. This approach will serve to better distribute health care to underserved populations and save more lives.”

Moore’s research in cancer imaging and therapy has advanced the new field of theranostics, which combines therapies and diagnostics. Her studies on image-guided therapy for metastatic cancers showed a unique way to eradicate the disease and will soon enter clinical trials. The theranostic approach also has been used by Moore to treat type 1 (juvenile) diabetes where imaging is crucial for detection, diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic guidance. 

"Precision health is an important part of our Global Impact Initiative, a three-year plan to recruit 100 new faculty in some of the most challenging, yet exciting, areas of research," said Stephen Hsu, vice president for research and graduate studies. "Moore's cutting-edge research in cancer therapy is quite promising and may lead to important advances."

According to Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., associate provost and vice president for health affairs and dean, College of Human Medicine, too many in our nation don’t have access to the best health care either because it is unaffordable or inaccessible, and this is not acceptable.

“Safe, patient-centered, value-based care requires the reinvention of health care,” Beauchamp said. “It will require transformative innovative leaders, and Anna Moore is such a leader. We are fortunate to have her leading our new initiative in precision health. She will be a game changer for MSU and for human health.”

Moore’s decision to leave Harvard for MSU had everything to do with opportunity. 

“MSU’s two medical colleges, coupled with the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Nursing, creates rare collaborative opportunities to push the envelope of discovery in precision health,” Moore said.

In addition, a recent agreement with McLaren Health Care to build a new state-of-the-art hospital on MSU grounds offers the opportunity for efficient clinical translation of MSU’s discoveries and provides patients with quality evidence-based care, she said.

“Great resources combined with enthusiasm and support from administration is why I came to MSU,” Moore said. “And the fact that Cisplatin, the most prescribed therapy for treating cancer in the U.S., was invented at MSU, compels me to continue this tradition of research excellence.”

Moore graduated from Moscow State University with a master’s degree in chemistry. She earned her doctorate in bioorganic chemistry from A.N. Bach Institute of Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences in Moscow. She is a fellow of the World Molecular Imaging Society and a recipient of multiple grant awards from the NIH and other funding agencies.

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