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Welcome to Season 2!

Dr. Roy Smythe Explains the Importance of Protein Expression in Practicing Precision Medicine


In this episode, we talk with physician scientist Roy Smythe, M.D, Chief Executive Officer of SomaLogic, a leading-edge, biotechnology company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. The company scans human proteins to gain insights into the past, current, and future health of patients, making it a promising new technology for precision medicine outcomes.

WRS Boulder Office.jpg

Dr. Smythe began our discussion by explaining why proteins are more useful than genes for understanding the human body and creating precision medicines to heal it.

He pointed out that, unlike genes, proteins are highly contextual and always changing, so they can tell scientists something new about a patient’s current health state and potentially their future health state. He notes that if you test genes more than once, you will always get the same result, which makes them less useful for gauging changes in overall health patterns.


In the past, scientists could only identify about 100 proteins out of 20,000+, but Dr. Smythe says that this is changing. SomaLogic can now measure thousands of proteins at a time and then look at that pattern of expression to reveal information about disease states. He notes that the pattern of expression can also tell doctors what risk category a patient will fall into, whether it be high, medium, or low.

Dr. Smythe adds that pharmaceuticals are beginning to leverage protein expression at a time when machine learning can tell us interesting things about what those patterns mean, making them valuable for identifying and treating secondary and even tertiary pathways.

He says, “You can imagine the power of the combination of whole genome sequencing in the ability to measure what we call high-plex proteins, because that second and third-order target will now be able to be found, and then therapies that either eliminate or shut off or in some cases increase the action of a protein therapeutically will be possible.”

Protein inhibition is a fascinating area of study and will clearly have an impact on the future of precision medicine. We hope that you will listen to the entire podcast above to hear more about Dr. Smythe and his work.

Download the full transcript of the episode here (pdf).


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About Our Guest

Roy Smythe, M.D

Chief Executive Officer of SomaLogic, Inc.

Dr. Smythe is the acting CEO of a leading-edge, biotechnology company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. During the course of his career, he has been an internationally recognized surgeon, biomedical scientist, academician, health system administrator, and healthcare business entrepreneur.


While in medical school at Texas A&M, he was a Charles A. Dana Foundation Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Wharton School of Business. Following medical school, Smythe trained in general surgery, surgical oncology, and thoracic surgery and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in molecular therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania. His medical and translational research career then began at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he was the recipient of NIH and numerous other funding awards. He subsequently chaired the Department of Surgery at Baylor Scott & White Health System and the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine where he was the Roney Endowed Chair. Dr. Smythe later became the Medical Director of Innovation and Executive Vice President for Institute Development before moving into expanded roles in corporate healthcare.


Dr. Smythe came to SomaLogic from Royal Philips, where he served as Global Chief Medical Officer for Strategy and Partnerships. Before joining Philips, he served as Chief Medical Officer at Valence Health, a Chicago-based healthcare company. He held the same title previously at AVIA, a healthcare technology accelerator.


A highly sought-after lecturer and the author of more than 300 papers, abstracts and essays in academic, literary, and humanities publications, Smythe is also currently a member of more than 20 U.S. national learned societies.


On Twitter at @DrRoySmythe

On Linked In:

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