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Bio-IT World Expo Announces 2013 Keynote Speakers

By Bio-IT World Staff  

November 20, 2012 | Bio-IT World has announced a pair of renowned keynote speakers and an exciting panel of life science CIOs among the upcoming attractions at its 2013 Conference & Expo, to be held in Boston next Spring (April 9-11, 2013).

The keynoter speakers will be Professor Andrew L. Hopkins (University of Dundee, UK) and Professor Atul Butte (Stanford University), both leading authorities in the development and application of new informatics tools for drug discovery and genomics. The closing plenary session will feature an assembly of life science CIOs to discuss trends in big data and bioinformatics from the perspective of a breadth of academic, industry and government organizations, including the National Institutes of Health.

A-Hopkins“We’ve always prided ourselves on picking some spectacular keynote speakers for our flagship conference, including the likes of Stephen Wolfram, Ray Kurzweil, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Craig Venter,” said Kevin Davies, PhD, founding editor of Bio-IT World. “Our 2013 keynoters will provide attendees with a fascinating picture of where innovative strategies and technologies in informatics and computational biology are pushing the science of drug discovery and clinical genome analysis and interpretation.”

The opening keynote speaker on April 9 is Professor Andrew Hopkins, Professor at the College of Life Sciences, and Chair of the Department of Medicinal Informatics, University of Dundee, UK (see, “Drug Discovery in Dundee”). Hopkins is a leading researcher in the fields of chemoinformatics, chemogenomics and drug discovery, developing novel computational and experimental methods to improve the drug discovery process. He spent several years at Pfizer, collaborating with Chris (“Rule of Five”) Lipinski and others and helping establish the concept of the “druggable genome.” Since moving to Scotland, Hopkins and his lab have focused on devising new informatics strategies to optimize the design of new drug molecules, incorporating advances in medicinal informatics, network pharmacology, in silico evolutionary optimization, database and machine learning techniques.

Hopkins calls this concept the “chemical beauty” or drugs, measured by a new parameter, the quantitative estimate of drug-likeness (QED).He is the co-founder of a new technology platform company, ex scientia, operating at the IT/health care interface by using data analytics and machine learning to enhance drug design and pharmacogenomics. Hopkins took a first class honors degree in chemistry from the University of Manchester and a doctorate in biophysics from Oxford. He was recently elected director of SULSA (Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance), a research community of some 11,000 biologists in Scotland.

Butte_AProfessor Atul Butte, is Chief of the Division of Systems Medicine and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and by courtesy, Computer Science, at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (see, “The Medical Utility of Genome Sequencing”). Butte trained in computer science at Brown University, worked as a software engineer at Apple and Microsoft, received his MD at Brown University, trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology at Children's Hospital, Boston, and received his PhD in Health Sciences and Technology from Harvard Medical School and MIT. The research program of the Butte Lab builds and applies tools that convert billions of points of molecular, clinical, and epidemiological data into diagnostics, therapeutics, and new insights into disease. Two areas in particular that show the impact of this approach center on areas of medical genome interpretation (in a pioneering study of the analysis of the full genome sequence of Stanford colleague Steve Quake), and computational approaches to drug repurposing, highlighted in a series of leading publications. The Butte Lab has also developed novel methods for comparing clinical data from electronic health record systems with gene expression data. Butte is the co-founder of several companies, including Numedii and Personalis. His keynote is on April 10, 2013.

The closing plenary session (April 11) will feature a Life Science CIO Panel featuring five outstanding CIOs from leading pharma, academic and government institutions. The participants are:

  • Remy Evard (CIO, Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research);
  • Martin Leach (CIO, Broad Institute);
  • Andrea T. Norris (Director of Center for Information Technology (CIT) and CIO, National Institutes of Health);
  • Gunaretnam Rajagopal (VP/CIO, R&D IT, Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson); and
  • Christopher J. Ross (CIO, Mayo Clinic).

“For 2013, with so much discussion about the challenges and opportunities posed by ‘Big Data’, we thought we’d assemble a panel of true experts—all chief information officers at world-famous organizations—to share their thoughts on managing the volume and complexity of research and clinical data, and strategies to make the most of those opportunities. It should be a fascinating and enlightening discussion,” said Davies.

Several other special noteworthy sessions are planned for the 2013 conference, including:

  • Managing Big Data: The Genome Center Perspective – a discussion on strategies for storing and managing petascale data featuring Guy Coates (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute UK), Geraint Morgan (BCM), Matthew Trunnell (Broad Institute) and others.
  • Trends in the Trenches 2012 – the ever-popular annual appraisal of cool technology, hot trends and dismal hype in the bio-IT arena from BioTeam co-founder Chris Dagdigian
  • Building the IT Architecture of the New York Genome Center – an examination of design and implementation of the IT infrastructure to support the creation of a new state-of-the-art genome center in Manhattan. Presenters will include NYGC executive director Nancy Kelley and Acting SVP, IT and Research Computing, Chris Dwan.
  • The annual Benjamin Franklin Prize for Bioinformatics, presented by
  • The presentation of Bio-IT World’s annual Best Practices Awards for 2013, recognizing innovation and collaboration in the life sciences.

For more information on the 2013 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, visit the event website at

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