Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) furthers Marshfield Clinic's mission to foster research and education. This private not-for-profit research organization has roots in the Clinic founders, who strongly believed in medical research.
In the 1940s, Clinic physician Stephen Epstein, M.D., initiated dermatology research with $400 from Clinic colleagues; and championed a formal research and education program established in 1959.
MCRI got its first National Institutes of Health grant in 1960 to study farmer’s lung disease. In 1981, the National Farm Medicine Center was established and is one of the longest-running agricultural health and safety research centers nationally.
Clinical research is the largest research program at Marshfield Clinic. At any time, 450 clinical trials are conducted. About half are in cancer, most through the Community Clinical Oncology Program, established in 1983.
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The Marshfield Epidemiologic Research Center, founded in 1991, conducts population-based and other epidemiologic research. It includes the Marshfield Epidemiologic Study Area, a 24-Zip code area in Wisconsin and resource for population-based health research. Research is in infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, vaccine safety and prevention of diabetes and obesity.
Marshfield Clinic was recognized internationally with discovery of short tandem repeat polymorphisms, revolutionizing the study of human genetics. The Center for Medical Genetics (CMG), founded in 1994, focused research on discovering human genome structure. Marshfield Maps became and remain among the most reliable and widely used human genome maps. CMG began the Mammalian Genotyping Service (MGS) for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, contributing to more than 200 genetic research projects nationally and internationally.
In 2001, the Personalized Medicine Research Center was established. Personalized medicine is an individually tailored health care approach to preventing, detecting and treating disease based on knowledge of a person’s genetic profile. The Personalized Medicine Research Project launched in 2002, enrolled about 20,000 participants and is the largest population-based genetic research project in the U.S. In 2004, the Center for Medical Genetics merged with the Personalized Medicine Research Center to form the Center for Human Genetics for discoveries in the human genome, genetic basis of complex disease, genetic epidemiology, pharmacogenetics and population genetics.
In 2005, the Biomedical Informatics Research Center was created to discover knowledge in medical informatics; support basic, applied and clinical research with biomedical informatics and biostatistics support; and provide stewardship for research informatics assets.
In 1989, Marshfield Clinic and MCRI merged. Later, two structures were built, dedicated to research, and named for Ben R. Lawton, M.D., Clinic thoracic surgeon/researcher; and former Congressman, Defense Secretary and Marshfield native Melvin R. Laird. MCRI also has clinical research offices in Wausau, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Minocqua.
Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation was renamed Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in March of 2017.