Bonnie LaFleur, PhD, a research professor in the University of Arizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, has been appointed to a five-year term on the Data Safety Monitoring Committee for the National Institutes of Health Common Fund’s Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program.
“The invitation to be on the Data Safety Monitoring Committee is an honor as this program is part of a new NIH initiative, and it is linked to the University of Arizona-Banner Health All of Us Research Program,” said Dr. LaFleur, who also is director of the Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research Center, associate director of the UArizona Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics and a member of the BIO5 Institute.
The Nutrition for Precision Health study is a $170 million dollar initiative with the goal of developing algorithms that predict individual responses to food and dietary patterns. The study will recruit a diverse pool of 10,000 participants from the NIH’s All of Us Research Program to inform more personalized nutrition recommendations, also known as precision nutrition. The Nutrition for Precision Health program will build on recent advances in biomedical science including artificial intelligence and microbiome research.
Dr. LaFleur research areas are aging, immunobiology and oncology with a focus on statistical prediction, specifically biomarker-directed clinical studies that inform personalized decisions. Her expertise in statistical methods for patient-level decision making and bioinformatics will help the committee accomplish its goals.
“I am one of five members on the Data Safety Monitoring Committee. It is our role to ensure the safety of study subjects and to provide the NIH with advice on the ethical and safe progression of the studies conducted as part of the Nutrition for Precision Health study,” Dr. LaFleur said. “We evaluate study protocols, procedures and study data as it progresses to make these safety assessments. When necessary, we make recommendations to the NIH and precision nutrition investigators regarding study conduct.”
Ideally, the committee will have to make only minimal changes to protocols and study documents as the study progresses.
“My hope is that there is nothing unusual and this program will fulfill its goal of a multimodal approach of developing tools for individualizing diet and food patterns that can improve health and well-being,” she said.
In addition, Dr. LaFleur is currently serving a three-year appointment as a reviewer on the NIH Review Committee AGCD 1 Career Development Facilitating the Transition to Independence.
“This is a standing quarterly meeting to review K99/R00 applications that are submitted to the National Institute on Aging,” she said. “These applications are for researchers who are in the later stages of their postdoctoral training and transitioning to developing their independent research programs. I help evaluate the scientific merits of the applications, as well as the likelihood of the applicant being able to perform the training or research objectives that they are seeking funding to complete.”
Her goal is to encourage the next generation of scholars and translational scientists who wish to improve the health and well-being of an aging population.