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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Team awarded $973,000 from National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse

DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger has been awarded $973,000 from the National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study the association between genomics and opioid use disorder (OUD).

Drug overdose continues to be a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, and approximately 2.7 million people have an OUD, according to NIDAEvidence suggests that substance use disorders can be hereditary, although the specific genes that contribute to OUD risk are not known. 

The project, led by Vanessa Troiani, Ph.D., will develop phenotypes, or profiles of observable characteristics, using prescription data, clinical diagnoses and other features that can be extracted from health system data. These profiles will be analyzed to identify genes that are associated with risk for OUD. The study will use data from two major biobanks, Geisinger’s MyCode Community Health Initiative and Vanderbilt University’s BioVU. 

“To date, electronic health record data has not been widely used for studying the genetics of substance use disorders or even psychiatric disorders, more generally,” Dr. Troiani said. “Data from existing health system records with large biobanks offer a powerful opportunity to improve our understanding of the genetic factors that may increase risk for developing opioid addiction.”

This project is part of the Integrative Omics Center for Accelerating Neurobiological Understanding of Opioid Addiction (ICAN), a multi-site opioid research network. Findings from this study will be combined with those of other ICAN projects, including studies on mouse models of OUD and genetic expression studies from the brains of individuals who have died from opioid overdose, to identify novel gene networks that will inform future research into the neurobiology of OUD.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

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