AHSG 2017 Roundup – A Shout Out to the Women in Science

This year’s ASHG conference in Orlando was kicked off with an inspiring plenary talk by the ASHG President Dr. Nancy Cox, celebrating diversity, inviting refugees to join the human genetics research mission, and longing for the day when contributions by female scientists will be as valued and as acknowledged as those of men. She concluded with highlighting contributions of women to genetics and science thus far, and by sharing her desire that the future will have a more positive outlook in this regard.

This powerful opening talk was followed by a presentation by Bill Gates and a conversation between Bill Gates and Dr. Francis Collins on global health and genomics. Gates highlighted different projects the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had been Continue reading

Bio-IT 2017 – Data Security, Data Sharing, Data Access, Data Integration, Data …


The 15th annual Bio-IT conference – with the theme “Building a global network for precision medicine by uniting the Bio-IT community” – clearly had as its underlying theme the many different aspects of data that need to be addressed to make precision medicine a true reality, as echoed throughout the many talks and discussions. This was reflected in both the keynotes, as well as the panel discussions that focused on data regulations, security, and getting patients to feel good about sharing their data. The first hackathon launched by Bio-IT World had the focus on FAIR [findable, accessible, interoperable, and reproducible] data. Many commercial announcements or recent advancements in artificial intelligence revolved around new and improved data analysis solutions. This year’s Best in Show award selections featured Starfish Storage’s Starfish V4, SciBite LaunchPad, SolveBio’s Operating System for Molecular Information, Dana Farber Cancer Institute / The Hyve’s MatchMiner v1.0, and Seven Bridges’ CAVATICA.

Coinciding with Bio-IT were a number of major announcements as listed below:

Benjamin Franklin Award

  • This year’s Benjamin Franklin Award – an award presented annually by bioinformatics.org to an individual who has, in her or his practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the life sciences – was awarded to Rafael Irizarry, Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who has dedicated his career to developing statistical methods and open source software for helping researchers analyze genomics data.

Best Practices Award

  • As every year the commercial sector is actively following the Best Practices awards leading up to this event (check out the pre-conference finalists). This year’s Best Practices award winners included the Maccabi Healthcare System “Clinical IT & Precision Medicine” for the implementation of an advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to identify high-risk, under-the-radar patients, Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine in “Informatics” for improved and expedited precision medicine for newborns by 26-hour whole genome sequencing, Allotrope Foundation in “Knowledge Management” for developing a holistic set of capabilities to improve data access, interoperability, and integrity through standardization, and the Earlham Institute in “IT infrastructure/HPC” by applying high-performance computing to improve global food security, Biomedical Imaging Research Services Section (BIRSS) as the Judges’ Choice Award, and last but not least Alexion Pharmaceuticals as the Editors’ Choice Award.

Best of Show Award

Data management and analysis

Data interpretation

Informed drug discovery