APRIL 22, 2013

May 22-24 Stanford/Oxford conference will highlight big data's role in biomedicine

BY BRUCE GOLDMAN

Atul Butte

A three-day conference, to be held May 22-24 at the Stanford University School of Medicine's Li Ka Shing Center for Learning & Knowledge, will highlight the burgeoning opportunities for those who can creatively mine the rich veins of data steadily accumulating in biomedical databases.

Those wishing to register for the conference or to learn more about it can do so by visiting http://bigdata.stanford.edu. The event is open to the public.

"We're bringing together people from academia, industry, government and foundations who want to learn more about how big data can drive innovation for a healthier world," said Atul Butte, MD, PhD, chief of systems medicine and associate professor of pediatrics and of genetics at Stanford, who is the conference's scientific program committee chair.

The event, jointly sponsored by Stanford Medicine and Oxford University, will feature 32 speakers representing large information-technology corporations, startups, venture-capital firms and academia. Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of the consumer-genomics company 23andMe, and David Duncan, author of Experimental Man, will deliver keynote speeches.

After introductory remarks by Stanford President John Hennessy, PhD, and medical school Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, attendees will hear talks by several leading Stanford scientists who have successfully used information technology in the service of biomedicine, among them Carlos Bustamante, PhD, professor of genetics; Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH, professor of medicine; Mark Musen, MD, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics research; and Butte.

Sir John Bell, MD, the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, and Mark McCarthy, MD, the Robert Turner Professor of Diabetes at Oxford, and researchers from other leading academic institutions will also give presentations.

"We are honored to be hosting the Big Data in BioMedicine Conference with our partners at Oxford University," said Minor. "Extracting new knowledge from the massive amounts of data available for individuals and populations is going to transform the way we make discoveries as well as the ways we prevent, diagnose and treat disease." Minor expressed gratitude to the Li Ka Shing Foundation for its support of the conference.

Butte said, "We expect that attendees will walk away from this with a strong understanding of the latest tools and technologies available for studying and using big data in biomedicine, of where the unmet medical needs are and how they can be addressed with these approaches, and of what the tractable next steps are that they can take to become innovators."

The cost of the conference, which ranges from $200 for a half-day to $400 for the full three days, includes meals and an evening trip to the Computer History Museum in nearby Mountain View. Members of the Stanford community and other academic organizations may also apply for a limited number of complimentary passes to the conference.

Registration remains open but seats are filling up fast. The deadline to apply for complimentary passes is May 3; recipients will be notified by May 8. Information about special rates at some local hotels is available on the conference's website.

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