Genomics, Dental and Medical Imaging: Pleiotrophic Models for the Prediction of Alzheimer’s Disease

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 -
4:00pm to 5:00pm
Biotechnology Center Auditorium, 425 Henry Mall

Speaker Name: 

Gary Pack, PhD

Speaker Institution: 

Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics, UW-Madison; Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation




This is a Computational Biology Seminar.

Abstract: In the last twenty years, it has become increasingly apparent that oral and systemic health are deeply intertwined especially in the case of diseases that are influenced by inflammatory processes.  In fact both Alzheimer's disease and degenerative disease of the oral cavity have been associated with genes that control the production of cytokines.  Yet, at least in part because of the challenges of dealing with very high dimensional genetic data, different studies often have provided contradictory results as to which alleles are involved.  Since both of these disease processes are related to inflammation, it seems likely that a common set of alleles could be involved.  Such a situation is known as pleiotrophy.

Pleiotrophy assumes that a specific set of alleles influence the expression of disparate phenotypes. In this case, the phenotypes are Alzheimer's and periodontal disease.  Neuroimaging, along with other clinical indicators, has been used to identify and quantify the changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer's.  We are proposing dental imaging and periodontal data to quantify the effects of inflammation on the maxillofacial region.

The Marshfield Clinic and the Marshfield Research Foundation have collected genomic data on approximately 9,000 patients. Additionally, the Marshfield Clinic has imaging data on many of their patients that includes some brain imaging.  Finally, the Institute for Oral and Systemic Health has collected imaging and periodontal measures for 103,000 patients, many of whom have also had their genome sequenced.

In this talk, we present some of the challenges and barriers to making use of this data and give some sense of our modeling approach.

Speaker Information: Gary Pack, PhD, is currently a NIDCR/NLM-funded postdoctoral fellow in oral health informatics.  He is jointly trained by the Computational and Informatics in Biology and Medicine program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Institute for Oral and Systemic Health at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation. Dr. Pack is working under the mentorship of Dr. Amit Acharya and Dr. Mark Craven. After spending over 15 years in industry researching and designing computer hardware and software for parallel distributed systems, he returned to university and earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science, Neuroimaging and Statistics while doing cross-disciplinary work with the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.