Big Data in Biomedicine conference set for May 21-23

Todd Park, chief technology officer of the United States, will be among the featured speakers at the Big Data in Biomedicine conference May 21-23 at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The conference, jointly sponsored by Stanford Medicine and Oxford University, will highlight opportunities for mining the rich repositories of biomedical information available today.

The gathering will bring together hundreds of participants from academia, information technology corporations, venture capital firms, the U.S. government and foundations interested in harnessing the power of big data to improve human health around the globe. The event will be held at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge on the Stanford campus.

“We are excited to bring together such a diverse group of participants,” said Euan Ashley, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and of genetics and director of the Stanford Clinical Genomics Service. “To realize the potential of large-scale data for biomedicine will require collaboration among professionals, and integration among data sources at population, individual and molecular scales. We are thrilled to be enabling that conversation.”

An assistant to President Barack Obama, Park will deliver a keynote address at the conference. In his position at the White House, Park provides advice to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on how to harness the power of data, technology and innovation to improve the nation’s health.

The conference will feature a number of other high-profile speakers, including Ewan Birney, PhD, director of the European Bioinformatics Institute; David Glazer, director of engineering at Google; Taha Kass-Hout, MD, the Food and Drug Administration’s first chief health informatics officer; Vinod Khosla, MBA, founder of Khosla Ventures and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems; and Philip Bourne, PhD, associate director for data science at the National Institutes of Health.

Online and in person

Now in its second year, the conference was first held at Stanford in May 2013, when it drew more than 300 attendees, as well as 2,700 participants who logged in to watch it live on the Web. The Li Ka Shing Foundation has provided support for both this year’s and last year’s conference.

This year, John Hennessy, PhD, president of Stanford University; Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine; and Sir John Bell, BM, BCh, DM, the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, will give the opening remarks at the conference.

“Our ability to extract new knowledge from large-scale databases will transform our understanding of disease and lead to new methods of prevention and treatment,” Minor said. “The conference will help bring us closer to this goal by providing a forum for knowledge-sharing in the field. We are very grateful to the Li Ka Shing Foundation for its support of this effort.”

Several leading Stanford scientists will participate in the conference, including Sylvia Plevritis, PhD, professor of radiology; Julie Parsonnet, MD, professor of medicine; John Ioannidis, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center; Stephen Quake, MD, PhD, professor of bioengineering and of applied physics; and Michael Snyder, MD, professor and chair of genetics.

In addition, Paul Yock, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and bioengineering; Greg Kovacs, MD, PhD, professor of electrical engineering; Michael McConnell, MD, professor of cardiology; and Marta Gaia Zanchi, PhD, a lecturer in surgery, will present a session on the use of mobile technology in data sharing, together with Lionel Tarassenko, PhD, a professor of engineering at Oxford.

Teri Manolio, MD, PhD, director of genomic medicine at the National Human Genome Research Institute, will lead a session on genomics and how the U.S. government is investing in the field. This year’s program also will include two new sessions: one on computing and architecture, which will be moderated by Hector Garcia-Molina, PhD, a Stanford professor of computer science and member of the Stanford InfoLab; and one on infectious disease genomics, a particular strength of Oxford.

Stanford and Oxford are collaborating on a big-data initiative, called the Global Initiative for Biomedical Data Science, which will harness the world’s data to improve human health. Oxford scientists are leaders in the one of the largest patient databanks in the world, the UK Biobank, which has biomedical information on some 500,000 individuals. Stanford, with its excellence in computer science, engineering, statistics, genetics and bioinformatics, as well as its connections to Silicon Valley, excels in technical innovation and data management and analysis.

Researchers will work to build bridges between the world’s large databanks of health information and develop new methods for secure sharing and analysis of information, among other projects, Ashley said.

The cost of the conference ranges from $300 for a single day to $750 for the full three days. For more information or to register, go to http://bigdata.stanford.edu.



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