A team from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, is leveraging the power of data to foster wonder, inspire novel insights and push the frontiers of precision medicine.

Project Wonder is a collaboration between clinicians at the Johns Hopkins Myositis Precision Medicine Center of Excellence, led by the center’s physician lead and director of research operations Christopher Mecoli, and a team of data scientists, human factors and software engineers at APL.

Initiated by Antony Rosen, vice dean for research and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, the project was part of the Precision Medicine Analytics Platform (PMAP), a multi-year project across the Hopkins system focused on accelerating precision medicine for clinicians and researchers by building a tool to facilitate discovery from data.

The insights they were able to glean within minutes using the Wonder Engine represented three to four years of work on the part of the global myositis research community, demonstrating the tool’s promise in facilitating future research into myositis and other diseases.

The Wonder Engine has proven capable of aggregating and organizing vast quantities of clinical and research data, enabling clinicians to explore their data, identify trends, test intuitions and formulate and validate novel hypotheses – in short, to experience the moments of wonder that lead to breakthrough discoveries.

“The idea behind the Wonder Engine is that we can harness the power of data science to generate moments of wonder for clinicians, moments that show them something unique or interesting about their patient data,” said Suma Subbarao, the project manager of PMAP at APL. “That could be a confirmation of something they’ve suspected from experience, or a completely new insight. The goal is to catalyze the creativity of clinicians with these analytics and visualization tools.”