Ann Conkle
Mar 15, 2012

Researcher watches the start of his own disease with unprecedented detail

Geneticist Michael Snyder has almost no privacy. For more than two years, he and his lab members at Stanford University pored over his body’s most intimate secrets: the sequence of his DNA, the RNA and proteins produced by his cells, the metabolites and signaling molecules in his blood. They spied on his immune system as it battled viral infections. They discovered that he was predisposed to type-2 diabetes and then watched his blood sugar shoot up as he developed the condition during the study. It’s the first time the birth of the disease as been viewed on a molecular level. It’s also an important milestone in personalized medicine. The researchers call the unprecedented analysis, which relies on collecting and analyzing billions of individual bits of data, an integrative Personal “Omics” Profile, or iPOP. The researchers say that Snyder’s diabetes is but one of myriad problems the iPOP can identify and predict, and that such dynamic monitoring will soon become commonplace.