Institute of Systems Medicine

The Institute of Systems Medicine (ISM) was created jointly by CAMS and Suzhou Industry Park (SIP), which is under the local government of Suzhou Municipality, Jiangsu Province. It serves as a model for using systems biology and translational medicine to generate innovative research and development that addresses important medical and health care problems. ISM is fortunate to have a strong, international scientific advisory board co-chaired by Baltimore and Chen, who provide visionary advice and oversight for the institute’s strategic planning and academic development. ISM is committed to gaining an international reputation for excellence in medical research and education by combining its academic resources with those of affiliated hospitals and translational research incubators. Its goal is to become a fully integrated patient-to-bench-to-product powerhouse for fighting human diseases.

The seeds for the Center for Systems Medicine were planted in Shanghai on September 9, 2011, when Zhu Chen, then the Minister of Health, hosted Nobel laureate David Baltimore, and other dignitaries. Much of the conversation was about the rapid growth of biomedical research in China and how Chinese health sciences could play a leading role in combatting major human diseases. At the end of the meeting, a consensus emerged: A new systems medicine institute should be established in China.

The Institute of Systems Medicine (ISM) was created jointly by CAMS and Suzhou Industry Park (SIP), which is under the local government of Suzhou Municipality, Jiangsu Province. It serves as a model for using systems biology and translational medicine to generate innovative research and development that addresses important medical and health care problems.

ISM is fortunate to have a strong, international scientific advisory board co-chaired by Baltimore and Chen, who provide visionary advice and oversight for the institute’s strategic planning and academic development. ISM is committed to gaining an international reputation for excellence in medical research and education by combining its academic resources with those of affiliated hospitals and translational research incubators. Its goal is to become a fully integrated patient-to-bench-to-product powerhouse for fighting human diseases.

ISM conducts cutting-edge basic medical research in cancer as well as infectious, inflammatory, autoimmune, metabolic, and degenerative diseases. In one high priority project, integrated bioinformatics, “big data” analysis, and computational modeling is being used to seek a better understanding of the fundamental molecular mechanisms linking environmental and genetic factors to disease susceptibility, and drug and treatment responses. These efforts will ultimately enable the building of more effective and more personalized programs for disease prediction, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. 
ISM is also a pioneer in scientific research reform in China. It has a board of directors—an innovation for Chinese research institutions—and has benefited greatly from their strong and efficient leadership.

ISM has put in place an enterprise-like employment system, organized around principal investigators, to encourage innovation, competition, and attract talented researchers. It has also adopted a novel evaluation system to promote basic and translational research that is now being integrated with the more than 25 education institutes and thousands of biotech and pharmaceutical companies in the Suzhou Industrial Park.