CHIRP About Us

CHIRP

Our Facility

CHIRP is located at 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD, 20814, on the campus of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). CHIRP is served by the Medical Center Metro stop (Red Line).

About Us

Vision

The Collaborative Health Initiative Research Program (CHIRP) was established on Oct. 1, 2014 at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). It represented a strategic alliance between the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and USU. CHIRP is intended to advance the National Institutes of Health's Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) by exploring the problems of particular importance to NHLBI and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), especially disorders of the heart, lungs, blood and sleep. 

Oversight

A Governance Board led by NHLBI's director and USU's president directs the effort. An Executive Steering Committee is co-chaired by the dean, USU School of Medicine, and the senior advisor to the director, NHLBI, and by the vice president for research, USU. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) leadership support a “unity of effort” with the NHLBI/CHIRP enterprise and with other institutes at NIH, including the National Cancer Institute

Operations

CHRIP and its Department of Defense operations subsidiary, The American Genome Center (TAGC), is now one of only four academic genome centers in the United States. CHIRP/TAGC’s operational cores include the Laboratory Core, the Bioinformatics Core, the Clinical Core and the Research Core. The Laboraty Core’s primary task is profiling human whole genome sequences (WGS) at population-scale. Production utilizes robotic automation and Illumina HiSeq X and NovaSeq platforms. Since inception, the Laboratory Core as generated genomic data for 11,009 samples across 62 research studies, sourced from NHLBI, other NIH Institutes, DoD and USU investigators. The Bioinformatics Core supports the Sequencing Core with a High Performance Compute Cluster, featuring and online storage capacity of 6.8 petabytes and a total archival storage of 7 petabytes. The Bioinformatics Core has managed and executed the CHIRP production analysis pipeline with minimal interruption for its first full year on the CHIRP Computational Laboratory. The Clinical Core, centered presently at WRNMMC, includes division and department chiefs from across the clinical spectrum and focuses attention on developing clinical cohorts particularly relevant to CHIRP interests. The Research Core has managed funding and operational support of precision medicine projects by USU investigators, in collaboration with clinical investigators at WRNMMC and NHLBI.

Science 

NHLBI- and DoD-centric cohorts are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disorders including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and other cancers. Specific cohorts with both NHLBI and DoD relevance include the PTSD-centric cohorts from the Veterans Administration Vietnam Twins Repository (1,740), and the Department of the Army’s Army STARRS project (48,000). Both feature a search for genes associated with resilience. CHRIP/TAGC is also the sequencing center and genome data analysis center for the APOLLO Cancer Moonshot project, and collaborates for this purpose with the Murtha Cancer Center (MCC) at Walter Reed, the National Cancer Institute and the Veterans Administration. There have been 21 peer-reviewed publications from CHIRP over the past two years (2015-2017) with significant contributions in outstanding, high-profile journals, including Nature, Cell and Cancer Cell.