Data Can Generate Discoveries

A team from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel Maryland, are using data to push forward the frontiers of precision medicine .

Johns Hopkins Medicine and APL are working on Project Wonder which is a collaboration between clinicians at the Johns Hopkins Myositis Precision Medicine Center of Excellence (PMCoE).

The Center is being led by Christopher Mecoli Physician Lead and Director, Research Operations along with a team of data scientists involved in human factors and software engineers at APL.

The project was initiated by Antony Rosen, Vice Dean for Research and Professor of Medicine at the JHU School of Medicine in Baltimore, as part of the Precision Medicine Analytics Platform PMAP.

PMAP is a multiyear project across the Johns Hopkins system focused on accelerating precision medicine for clinicians and researchers by building a tool to facilitate discovery from data.

Insights can be obtained in minutes by using the Wonder Engine developed as part of the global myositis research community to demonstrate the tool’s promise in facilitating future research on myositis and other diseases.

The Wonder Engine is capable of aggregating and organizing vast quantities of clinical and research data. This enables clinicians to explore their data, identify trends, test intuitions, and formulate and validate novel hypotheses.

The initial goal of Project Wonder was to validate that there is a strong association of cancer with the onset of myositis, a rare inflammatory autoimmune disease. This helped to discover new subgroups of patients using novel data science methods and visualization techniques.

Myositis can afflict multiple organ systems including lungs, joints, muscles, and skin. The Johns Hopkins Myositis PMCoE has amassed a wealth of data from patient care and research pertaining to this disease, but the associated cancer risk is not well characterized.

Using the Wonder Engine, clinicians at PMCoE  began by validating biomarkers that are known to predict cancer diagnosis in their patients within a few hours which previously had taken years for the myositis research community to do. Eventually, the team hopes to turn the Wonder Engine into a tool that can be used in the clinic as well as for research, not just at Johns Hopkins but also nationally and globally 

Go to for more information on PMCoE, and for information on PMAP, go to

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