Medical Mile partners hire scientist


Liz Worthey. Courtesy Spectrum Health

Editor's note: Scientist Liz Worthey won't, in fact, be working for the group of local partners, according to a Spectrum Health spokesperson on March 15. "We regret that Dr. Worthey has had a change of plans."

Several organizations along Medical Mile have partnered to hire an "internationally renowned" scientist.

Liz Worthey, a genomics scientist and informatician, has accepted academic and research appointments at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, as well as research appointments at Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Health, including its Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Worthey will start work on July 1, after leaving her roles as faculty investigator, director of software development and informatics and director of informatics for the clinical services lab at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.

She works in genomic research — the study of how genes affect organisms — a key component in advancing the area of precision medicine, which involves diagnosing and treating diseases based on individual variations.

“Genomics and precision medicine represent the new frontier in health care, and we’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Worthey to West Michigan to advance our work in this area,” said Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, Spectrum Health.

“Her expertise in rare diseases offers the potential of new answers and more hope for the children and families we serve.”

Worthey said genomics programs are more common, because technological advances have lowered costs. This has led to rapid diagnoses in newborns, non-invasive prenatal genetic testing and rapid detection of disease causes.

“Application of these approaches within a forward-thinking health care system will be key in using these advances to further impact health and health care,” Worthey said.

In addition to her roles within HudsonAlpha, Worthey taught in the pediatrics and genetics departments at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and she's an honorary fellow in the pediatrics department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Worthey is also a co-founder and chief informatics and product development officer for Envision Genomics, a resident associate company at HudsonAlpha. Previously, she was director of informatics and an assistant pediatrics professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

She holds a Ph.D. in genetics from the Department of Clinical Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College, London, a post-graduate diploma in quantitative genetics from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. and a B.S. in immunology from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

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