Faces of Baseline: Nor
Dr. Nor Chiao came across a New York Times story on the Project Baseline Health Study while stuck in standstill LA traffic. She was familiar with clinical studies as a former researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center—but this was different from any other research program she'd encountered. A four-year observational study, the Health Study was a long-term initiative to map human health by collecting deep medical data. Still sitting in gridlock, Nor finished the story and immediately pulled up the Health Study application on her phone.
"Right away, I connected with the Project Baseline Health Study's mission to impact how we understand health, and its longitudinal nature really stood out," said Nor. "You're not just getting a point-in-time snapshot of an individual. Rather, the objective is seeing how health evolves over time across thousands of participants."
Nor was fascinated with science from a young age and highly driven to succeed, immigrating from Taiwan to Southern California at 8 years old. By high school, she had been selected to attend a summer biomedical research program for students sponsored by the City of Hope cancer genetics center. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, delivered a lecture to Nor's program on the transformation of genetic research.
"Because of my early exposure to the breakthrough of gene sequencing—and all the innovation that followed—I wanted to be part of this movement to advance human health," said Nor.
Her ambitions led her to Johns Hopkins' pre-medical program, where she earned internships at the National Cancer Institute and Howard Hughes Biomedical Institute. She would continue her studies at Harvard Medical School and MD Anderson.
As a physician, Nor has seen the impact of preventative care and early detection of disease firsthand. She hopes her health data will contribute to a more precise delineation of health and the transition to disease.
"I'm excited to be part of the Baseline community," said Nor. "And as a participant, I'm really interested to get results back and see how they inform the overall picture I have of my health."