Skip to navigation Skip to content


The NextGen Initiative targets Missouri’s greatest health needs by focusing on three major areas of research: cancer, vascular and neurological.


More than three new cases of cancer are diagnosed every hour in Missouri.* UM investigators are developing new ways to prevent, find, image, and treat cancers with drugs and patients’ own immune systems to transform the future of patient care.

Cancer research efforts include:

  • Treating leukemia with molecular inhibitors and fewer side effects
  • Fighting liver cancer by manipulating the microbiome
  • Developing personalized cancer vaccines and tumor immunotherapies
  • Targeting delivery of cancer inhibitors directly to the tumor site
  • Creating new tools to diagnose cancer earlier and faster

*Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services


Heart disease is the leading cause of death and accounts for nearly 15,000 deaths per year in Missouri. UM investigators are using state-of-the-art high resolution imaging, mechanical measures and computational modeling to develop diverse, patient based strategies for treating these serious conditions.

Vascular research efforts include:

  • Pioneering noninvasive diagnostics for patients’ heart function
  • Leveraging technology to make patient well-being the focus of care
  • Modeling heart function with newly available computational programs
  • Studying comparative biology in mice to understand human heart function
  • Making fundamental connections between neuron activity and heart rate


Many Missourians are affected by nervous system disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders and addiction. UM neuroscientists are developing new ways to use brain imaging and neural devices to understand and treat brain disorders, as well as train the next generation of neuroscientists.

Neurological research efforts include:

  • Identifying over 48 disease-causing mutations in companion animals
  • Predicting brain disease using innovative deep imaging techniques
  • Developing diagnostic microdevices for mental health disorders
  • Integrating addiction research with community engagement through the Missouri Center on Addiction Research and Engagement (MO-CARE)