Wednesday, February 10, 2021

CCMB Seminar: "AI, Big omic data, and Pan-cancer Analysis"

4:00 PM

This seminar will be web stream only

CCMB Seminar Series – sponsored by DCMB
by Dr. Han Liang (MD Anderson)


The increasing omics data and advanced AI technology present a great opportunity for novel biomarker-driven cancer therapies. My talk will cover two parts. First, I will introduce DrBioRight, a natural language-oriented and AI-driven analytic platform for omic data analysis. This platform allows users to perform analysis directly through human languages and it improves the performance through adaptive learning. Armed with NLP and AI technologies, this analytic will maximize the utility of omics data and lead to a new paradigm for biomedical research. Second, I will discuss our recent work on enhancer RNAs. We show that the eRNAs provide explanatory power for cancer phenotypes beyond that provided by mRNA expression through resolving intratumoral heterogeneity with enhancer cell-type specificity. Our study provides a high-resolution map of eRNA loci through which enhancer activities can be quantified by RNA-seq, enabling a broad range of biomedical investigations.

Short Bio

Dr. Liang is a Barnhart Family Distinguished Professor in Targeted Therapies and the Deputy Chair of Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is also a professor in the Department of Systems Biology. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Peking University (China) in 2001 and Ph.D. in quantitative and computational biology from Princeton University (NJ, USA) in 2006. Dr. Liang then finished his postdoctoral training in evolutionary and computational genomics at the University of Chicago. He joined MD Anderson Cancer Center as Assistant Professor and started his own group in 2009.

At MD Anderson, Dr. Liang’s group focuses on bioinformatics tool development, integrated cancer genomic analysis, regulatory RNA regulation/modification, and cancer systems biology. His systematic studies on enhancer regulation, RNA editing, functional proteomics, sex effects, and driver mutations in cancer have generated profound impacts on the biomedical research community and attracted wide attention such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. The bioinformatics tools his group developed (such as TCPA, TANRIC, FASMIC, DrBioRight) collectively have >110,000 active users worldwide. Since 2010, he has published >140 papers total citation >25,000 times), including 41 corresponding-author papers in top journals such as Cell, Cancer Cell, Nature Genetics, Nature Biotechnology, and Nature Methods.

Dr. Liang has taken leadership roles in large cancer consortium projects, including chair of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) PanCanAtlas working groups, one co-leader of International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) Pan-Cancer Whole Genome Analysis Project, and one co-chair of NCI Genomic Data Commons (GDC) QC working group. He won several awards including MD Anderson R. Lee Clark Fellow Award (2014), the University of Texas System STARS Award (2015), MD Anderson Faculty Scholar Award (2018), and AACR Team Science Award (2020). He is an elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).