Mapping The Week: An Overview Of #BioIT19

March 20, 2019 | With 17 tracks, 13 workshops, and countless networking opportunities, the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo 2019 promises to be the most informative event yet. Next month in Boston, thousands of your colleagues will converge on the Seaport World Trade Center to dig deeply into data-driven drug discovery, AI and machine learning, bioinformatics, FAIR data, cloud technologies, R&D informatics, data transfer, and much more. It’s a packed program, so here’s a guide as you plan your week. A.P.

The Plenary Program

The plenary program at Bio-IT World kicks off on Tuesday night with John Wilbanks, Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks. We are now decades into the advance of “open” policies for biological and health sciences, Wilbanks says, and there’s greater urgency than ever as we ramp up our data creation and sharing capabilities. But open science is not a policy, or a technology. Open science, he argues, is fundamentally a methodological practice of knowledge generation.

On Wednesday morning, a panel will explore how new technologies are changing Bio-IT. Anne E. Carpenter, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; Iya Khalil, GNS Healthcare; Mariana Nacht, Vivid Biosciences; and Susie Stephens, Pfizer will report how artificial intelligence is impacting biology, drug discovery, and life sciences, and hopefully tease out what’s real, what’s artificial, and what’s next for AI in Bio-IT.

At Pfizer, Vijay Bulusu heads Data and Digital Innovation. He leads the creation and execution of global digital science, data sharing and innovation programs. Bulusu will speak on Thursday morning, starting the last day of the event looking at how a cross functional approach can accelerate drug discovery.

And The Award Goes To…

If you want a lightning round of the best new products, the most innovative collaborations, and the champions of the Bio-IT space, the awards program at Bio-IT World will get you up to speed.

The Innovative Practices Awards recognizes partnerships and projects pushing our industry forward with a focus on collaboration and problem-solving. Finalists and winners are announced during the plenary session on Thursday, April 18.

Best of Show Awards highlights the best new products available in biotech and life sciences—all of which will be available at the Bio-IT Expo to demo and explore. In addition to the judges’ awards, we also grant a People’s Choice Award, voted on by the Bio-IT World community. Winners are announced in the Expo Hall during the evening reception on Wednesday, April 17.

Last but not least, the Benjamin Franklin Award honors excellence in open science. Nominated by and voted on by the members of the community, The Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences is a humanitarian/bioethics award presented annually to an individual who has, in his or her practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the life sciences. The winner will give a laureate address during the plenary session on Thursday, April 18.

All’s FAIR

Now in its third year, Bio-IT World’s FAIR Data Hackathon focuses on making genomic datasets findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. The hackathon will first evaluate the FAIRness of a range of different data sets. Then teams, each working with a different dataset, will work to improve the FAIRness of that dataset through unique identifiers, linking to additional data sets, collection of appropriate metadata, and other techniques.

The two-day intensive hackathon will begin on April 15, preceding a full conference track dedicated to FAIR Data. Hackathon groups will report out on Wednesday, April 17.

Registration for the Hackathon is still open. Groups already participating include Collaborative Drug Discovery, NCBI and NIH, The Broad Institute, Jackson Laboratory, Joint Genome Institute, and Find Bioscience.

Session Scramble

Last, but not least, is all the content available at Bio-IT World! At 17 tracks and workshops, we recommend spending some quality time with the program. Our agenda is still evolving, but here are a few of the talks we’ve flagged thus far. (Our sister publications are marking agendas as well. Read clinical research session highlights at Clinical Research News and AI session highlights at AI Trends.)

Taking the big picture approach, Edmon Begoli, Chief Data Architect, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, says AI is becoming a key player in the convergence of medical data and computer technologies. Begoli will provide a big picture look at how AI’s role has evolved in precision medicine, what the key drivers and challenges are, and trends to look for during the next 10-15 years. Wednesday, April 17, 11:00am

On Thursday, Bill Evans, Managing Director and CEO, Rock Health will outline the various responsibilities of entrepreneurs, enterprise leaders, and investors to discriminate between incremental improvements and the 10X improvements that will transform the industry. Evans will share practical, real-world use cases while providing a framework for evaluating impactful technologies. Thursday, April 18, 3:20pm

Margaret Bray at Alexion is applying AI to rare disease diagnostics. She’ll describe her work as well as a look at the limitation of current methodologies and areas for future growth. Thursday, April 18, 2:30pm

Anthony Philippakis, Chief Data Officer at the Broad Institute and a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital will outline the Broad Institute’s Data Sciences Platform, a methods development and software engineering group dedicated to maximizing the impact of the data sciences on the life sciences. Philippakis will focus on how DSP engineers, analysts, and designers build applications and capabilities to serve patients, data generators, and researchers. Wednesday, April 17, 1:55pm

Arlene E. Chung, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, calls it person-generated health data (PGHD)—data derived from wearables and other data streams. She’ll present on using interactive data visualization approaches to allow clinicians and patients to better understand the impact of lifestyle on symptoms and health outcomes, while overcoming data challenges including heterogeneity, missingness, and sparsity are inherent within these data. Thursday, April 18, 3:30pm

Both the 21st Century Cures Act and the PDUFA VI legislations call for wider use and acceptance of complex innovative clinical trial designs with the goal of streamlining drug development and bringing needed new medicines to patients in a more timely and efficient manner. Raj Malathker and Vlad Dragalin, both at Janssen Pharmaceuticals R&D, will describe Janssen’s in-house platform, aptly named ACTIVE (Adaptive Clinical Trial’s Interactive Virtual Environment), for efficient implementation of such complex innovative designs. Thursday, April 18, 10:40am

At Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, electronic medical record (EMR)-linked biobank data have emerged as a source to conduct genome-wide association scans on a broad spectrum of medical and clinical phenotypes. Ron Do will evaluate the utility of such data in the context of drug research and development. He will present results on using genetic association data from a large EMR-linked biobank, for the purposes of informing efficacy and side effect prediction of drug therapeutics in clinical trials. Thursday, April 18, 10:40am

Karl Gutwin, with BioTeam, will share the most prevalent automation tools that he has seen in practice, and give real, working examples to try yourself. Gutwin will cover the why, the how, and what could possibly go wrong when using automation for your IT infrastructure. Wednesday, April 17, 4:00pm

Chris Dagdigian of BioTeam is back giving his original style “Trends from the Trenches” address, and he’s soliciting key questions, problems, issues facing our community. Chris will incorporate feedback (anonymously) as he builds his talk. Take the survey to participate. Thursday, April 18, 3:20pm

Patrice M. Milos of Medley Genomics will reveal the software platform Medley uses to combine patent-pending algorithms and advanced data analytics to describe a patient's diverse tumor cell mixture. The approach enables creation of unique molecular diagnostic fingerprints for improving patient diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of cancer, and helps to improve novel oncology therapies and therapeutic combinations including individual cancer vaccine development. Thursday, April 18, 3:00pm

Everyone wants to generate insights from their data. Where do you even start when data is not centrally available and is constantly evolving? Data needs to have the proper linkage information and metadata and be stored in a flexible way so it can be used for downstream analysis. Christina Lu of Genentech will explore work done to date with establishing a framework for exploratory biomarker data so it can be consumed for analysis. Wednesday, April 17, 4:00pm 

DB4Sci, Open Source Database as a Service (DBaaS) for On-Prem and Cloud

Cloud-based databases as a service (DBaaS) have simplified database management, but databases are sensitive to latency and cloud-based databases cannot be used effectively from on-prem says John Dey of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. DB4Sci is the ideal DBaaS solution for on-premise and multi-cloud deployments that supports high performance backup to cloud storage. Wednesday, April 17, 11:00am

As a “virtual” biotechnology company, Nimbus Therapeutics’ operations are entirely enabled through partnering with a wide array of academic and contract research organizations across the globe. Within this model, the coordination of data transfer and integration between multiple partners has historically been a challenge, creating a bottleneck that negatively affected the speed and scalability of the organization. Rebecca Carazza describes an automated workflow solution using a combination of AWS Lambda, Egnyte Connect, Jira Software and ACAS implementations. Now, data exchange is less error prone, requires approximately 50% less manual intervention, and the content is available to scientific decision makers faster. Wednesday, April 17, 1:55pm 

How should organizations use a consultancy? When should you use a consultant, and when should you hire? What’s the right kind of project for a consultant? Building on questions raised at Bio-IT World last year, Chris Dwan, Senior Technologist and Independent Life Sciences Consultant, leads a panel of consultants as they discuss their role in leading and managing projects for organizations to help them achieve goals. Thursday, April 18, 2:00pm 

Much effort with the FAIR data community has focused on dataset catalogues, a prerequisite toward finding FAIR data. But once discovered, what can we do with FAIR datasets? Mathew Woodwark explores the internal and external FAIR data ecosystem under construction at AstraZeneca/Medimmune that can provide a loosely-coupled knowledge graph; an environment for initiating complex analytics and recording key insights; a human and machine agnostic data science playground for meaningful collaboration and knowledge extension to drive novel discovery and informed decision making. Both experts and novices should participate and derive value from the FAIR ecosystem. Wednesday, April 17, 1:55pm 

Eric Neumann, AIDAKA, believes acceptance and implementation are critical for FAIR to attain its objectives. This means that existing systems, both academic and industrial, should be able to adopt and benefit from FAIR principles without the need to perform expensive, time-consuming, complex system integration or re-development. In order to do this, an additional set of principles is recommended here, with the associated label NICE: Noninvasive, Integrable, Cost-Effective, and Extensible. Their utility and implementation will be discussed in this talk. Thursday, April 18, 11:10am

The Broad Institute has fully embraced a transition to public clouds to power its world-class genome center. Stacey Gabriel will describe the many lessons learned over this journey and how we’re using the cloud to process and share over one million human genomes. Wednesday, April 17, 2:25pm

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