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 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




PMWC 2017 Silicon Valley: Data sharing, privacy, and security

pmwc2017sv-logoThis year’s Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC 2017 Silicon Valley) was comprised of many exciting sessions and presentations (almost 300 speakers across four tracks) in the area of next-generation sequencing, different diagnostics applications, precision medicine, big data analysis, the microbiome, large cohort studies, biobanking, and data interpretation/knowledge extraction. In addition to providing a great set of overview talks on latest developments and achievements across the health care sector, in pharma, and related to regulatory aspects, this latest rendition of PMWC also featured a government presence (the former FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and the former Cancer Moonshot Task Force Director Greg Simon) and Elizabeth Baca (Health Advisor to Governor Brown’s Office of Planning and Research) among others that shared with the audience their respective Continue reading

Repositive Wants to Overcome Data Analysis and Sharing Challenges to Facilitate the Advancement of Science

Repositive-logoLast month I had a chance to meet Fiona Nielsen, CEO of Repositive, when she was visiting San Francisco for the BlackBox Connect program. I took this opportunity to learn more about Repositive, the platform the company has built, its intended application, and why data sharing is so important. This blog addresses genomic data questions related to data sharing, challenges encountered with analysis and sharing platforms, and what Repositive is focusing on to mitigate these issues.

The following summarizes questions and answers from my dialogue with Fiona Nielsen.

EB:  What are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to working with genomics data both in the research and the clinical setting, and what are suggested solutions to address these challenges? What are the promises and challenges of sharing clinical and research genomics data?

FN: All research in a data-intensive science is challenging and hard work. There are high demands put on research data management and efficient analysis tools. In addition, within genomics linked to studying human genetic diseases, you have to deal with the extra Continue reading