January 23, 2019

6th Annual Omenn Lecture

2:30 PM to 5:30 PM

4th Floor, Palmer Commons, Forum Hall

  • 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm – Poster Session and Refreshments in Atrium Hall, 4th floor of Palmer Commons (deadline for printing posters is 2:30pm on Mon 21 Jan and posters for printing can be submitted online; you will be required to log into the online order form using your UMICH Level 1 login and password).  For those presenting posters, please provide your full name, e-mail address, lab name, poster title, and abstract to Jane Wiesner (similar to the format on the attached Excel file from last year’s 5th Annual Omenn Lecture). 
  • 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm – Lecture in Forum Hall, Palmer Commons

Presented by Dr. Olga Troyanskaya

Olga Troyanskaya is a professor at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University, where she has been on the faculty since 2003.  In 2014 she became the deputy director of Genomics at the Center for Computational Biology at the Flatiron Institute, a part of the Simons Foundation in NYC.  She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics from Stanford University, has been honored as one of the top young technology innovators by the MIT Technology Review, and is a recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowship, the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the Overton award from the International Society for Computational Biology, and the Ira Herskowitz award from the Genetic Society of America.


Talk Title:

"Data-driven understanding of human disease: from AI to biological discoveries"


How does the same DNA sequence lead to such different cells in the brain versus the lungs?  What genomic signals encode our predisposition to Parkinson’s disease?  Why and how do scientists use worms to study human disease?  I will discuss these questions with a focus on development and application of machine learning methods, including deep learning, Bayesian, and semi-supervised approaches, for biomedical data.   

More specifically, I will address a key challenge in biomedical science - development of a complete understanding of the genomic architecture of disease. High-throughput technologies hold promise in addressing this challenge. Yet the increasingly wide availability of genomic data (including whole genome sequencing and expression) has far outpaced our ability to analyze these datasets.  Challenges include interpreting the 98% of the genome that is noncoding (sometimes referred to as ‘junk’ DNA), detangling genomic signals regulating tissue-specific gene expression, mapping the resulting genetic circuits in disease-relevant cell types, and, finally, integrating the vast body of biological knowledge from model organisms with observations in humans.  In my seminar, I will discuss methods that we have developed to address these challenges, and present their applications to autism, Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular disease.