ICBI Symposium Convenes Experts to Spark Collaborations and Address Challenges

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December 10, 2017 — Increasing collaborations and breaking down silos between biomedical research, clinical and translational research and informatics are critical for the future of big data, Subha Madhavan, PhD, said at the 6th Annual Big Data in Biomedicine Symposium, hosted by the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics (ICBI).

As the director of ICBI, Madhavan described some of their ongoing collaborations, including a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop an app-based intervention for PTSD and Gulf War illness and a cannabis genome research program in collaboration with Teewinot Life Sciences and Seach Ltd. 

“We and others are developing data infrastructures, tools and methods to drive T1-T4 clinical translational research in a learning health system model,” said Madhavan, who also serves as associate professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We need to work together to prepare for the challenges and opportunities in biomedical informatics, digital health and technology development to solve important problems in research and ultimately impact care.”

More than 300 registrants from academia, government and industry attended the event, held October 27 at the Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center. In addition to Georgetown Lombardi and the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science, symposium sponsors included Deloitte, GenomeOncology, ESAC, CARIS, Perthera and CERSI. 

Panels covered topics including ways large, distributed cancer networks and precision oncology, training the next generation of data scientists, informatics and cancer surveillance, molecular diagnostics and the roles that artificial intelligence and machine learning will play in the future of biomedicine. Speakers from the Biden Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Flatiron Health, M2Gen, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, Virginia Tech and more participated in the event.

In her keynote address titled “Data Powered Health,” Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, director of the National Library of Medicine, spoke about the wide range of the challenges that informatics can help address. “It’s great to know we have these resources close to the National Library of Medicine,” she said, referring to ICBI.  

Robert Clarke, PhD, DSc, dean for research at Georgetown University Medical Center, closed the formal sessions by inviting symposium attendees to collaborate on bioinformatics projects. “ICBI is a jewel on our crown at Georgetown,” he said. “Please engage with them to leverage their expertise for your research endeavors.”

The morning concluded with a session on educating the next generation of data scientists through flipped classrooms, massive open online courses, international capstones and hackathons. The afternoon included panels on machine learning, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in health care.

Each session highlighted a different application of recent advancements made possible by multidisciplinary teams. The day concluded with a poster session and networking amongst attendees to continue the conversation of how to continue to push forward in creating shared value.

Photos on the symposium and details about the speakers can be found here

Meg Lyons
GUMC Communications