Translational Bioinformatics to Enable Precision Medicine: Achievements, Obstacles and Opportunities

Friday, October 7, 2016 -
1:15pm to 2:15pm
Pyle Center, Room 313, 702 Langdon St.

Speaker Name: 

Jessica Tanenbaum

Speaker Institution: 

Duke University




The past decade has seen the emergence and expansion of the new discipline of translational bioinformatics (TBI). The field of TBI centers around the development of novel methods to transform increasingly voluminous amounts of molecular and biomedical data into improved human health. Evidence of the rise of TBI can be seen through new journal issues, textbooks, and conferences devoted to the topic. The 2011 NRC "Toward Precision Medicine" Report and the Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Obama in 2015 have both served to magnify the importance of TBI. The analytic, interpretive, and data storage methods enabled through TBI will be a critical component in realizing the vision for Precision Medicine, in which disease is classified not solely by macroscopic symptoms, many of which have been observed for centuries, but rather based on underlying molecular and environmental causes. This paradigm shift promises to do nothing short of rewrite the textbook of medicine moving forward. It will change the way we approach biomedical research and practice across the physical spectrum, from molecules to populations. As technology continues to advance, assay costs to decrease, and methods are further refined, the next decade is likely to feature increasingly pervasive examples of applied translational bioinformatics, both in healthcare and in daily life. This talk will highlight success stories and outstanding achievements in, or enabled by, translational bioinformatics. It will also address some important caveats and obstacles we face in this rapidly advancing field, as well as some ideas on how to address those hurdles. The talk will conclude with discussion of the tremendous opportunities ahead for TBI to facilitate the practice of precision medicine.