21. The World's Most Detailed Health Profile

Michael Snyder created one for himself.  Before long you'll have one, too, so every doctor's visit can be customized to you.



Blood, sweat, and tears: Every researcher experiences them from time to time, but for Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder, they are at the heart of his work. Three years ago, he set out to create a microscopic profile of personal health, cataloging not just an individual’s genes but also proteins, snippets of RNA, and other crucial molecules. Snyder needed a reliable test subject who would not balk at any distressing information the project might uncover, so he volunteered himself. Over the next 14 months, he donated 20 blood samples. He sequenced his own genome and then analyzed 40,000 molecules, tracking how their levels changed over time. It was the first time such a detailed, integrated profile had been created. In the end, Snyder got more than he bargained for as he watched himself develop type 2 diabetes. DISCOVER reporter Valerie Ross spoke with him about the project and about his hopes for a new medicine that is personalized to a patient’s precise molecular makeup.


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