#BioIT16: A Preview of the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo

March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016 |The Bio-IT World Conference & Expo comes early this year--April 5-7 in Boston--and yet we are ready to get into the program. It is shaping up to be one of the best yet. 

Five great speakers will set the tone for Bio-IT World on the Plenary Program. Heidi Rehm of Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School opens the event on Tuesday and Howard Jacob of HudsonAlpha kicks off Wednesday. On Thursday we’ll continue the conversation with a panel and audience discussion featuring Catherine Brownstein, Boston Children’s Hospital, Bill Evans, IBM Watson, and Yaron Turpaz, Human Longevity. 

To those names, add the Bio-IT World awards programs: Best of Show, recognizing the best new products in the industry; Best Practices, recognizing collaborations and solutions that push bio-IT forward; and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences by Bioinformatics.org. 

Here are some of the other sessions we have starred. 

The Editors, Bio-IT World

Chris Dagdigian, BioTeam, never disappoints in his annual lightning round of the best, the worthwhile, and the most overhyped information technologies for life sciences. He’ll cover what has changed (or not) in the past year around infrastructure, storage, computing, and networks. Thursday, April 7, 10:40 am

Actually using the data you’ve captured is becoming the biggest challenge in our increasingly data-rich field. A panel of speakers on Thursday will talk strategy for turning big data into smart data. Eric A. Stahlberg, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research; Kiran Bhageshpur, Igneous Systems; David King, Exaptive; and Timothy Danford, Tamr. Thursday, April 7, 2:00 pm

Dianne Pacheco
, Information Security Officer, and Gregg TeHennepe, IT Project Manager, The Jackson Laboratory, take on accessing and using public genomic data. They will discuss the security policies and practices needed to satisfy the data use requirements associated with major public genomic data sets. How hard can it be, they ask? Thursday, April 7, 11:20 am

Software containers such as Docker and CoreOS Rocket have in the past few years gained popularity among cloud providers for setting up PaaS / IaaS (Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service). But Satu Nahkuri, Roche Innovation Center, will report how Roche has adopted containers for a different purpose: delivering our preferred next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis tools to our collaborators' computing environments while NGS data remains stationary. Wednesday, April 6, 11:30 am

Chris Dwan, Broad Institute, is a Bio-IT World veteran. As acting director, IT, Dwan will outline the Broad Institute’s move to cloud computing. Wednesday, April 6, 1:55 pm 

I’ve had a chance to speak with Jason Hughes and Brian Wells, both of Penn Medicine, about the challenges faced building and supporting a centrally-supported HPC environment, and the technology required the achieve precision medicine. Hughes will go over their experiences over three years housing 2PB of disk storage, 1.8PB of archive storage, and over 4,500 computing cores available to faculty, staff, students, and clinicians on Wednesday, April 6, 1:55 pm. Wells will detail how next-gen sequencing, CTMS, and EMR integration will shape medicine moving forward on Wednesday, April 6, 2:25 pm.

Juhan Sonin’s talk title caught our eye: “From Bathroom to Healthroom: How Magical Technology Will Revolutionize Health.” Sonin, Director, Design, Mechanical Engineering, GoInvo, MIT, plans to introduce participants to the macro factors shaping real-time, health data tracking that’s already in use, along with an in-depth exploration of the various impacts of and opportunities for design. Wednesday, April 6, 4:30 pm

The whole Thursday afternoon session kicked off by Taha A. Kass-Hout, Chief Health Informatics Officer & Director, Office of Health Informatics at FDA, looks fascinating. Kass-Hout will present PrecisionFDA, one of the Best Practices Awards finalists (for background, read Bio-IT World coverage on the program’s launch and Consistency Challenge. John E. Mattison (who serves as—among other titles—Co-Chair, eHealth Workgroup, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health) will present emerging initiatives from the global alliance for genomics and health. And Robert Grossman, Director, Center for Data Intensive Science (CDIS), will discuss large-scale data commons for genomic and clinical data. Finally the three speakers will be joined by attorney John M. Conley, Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson; Andrew K. Porter, Merck & Co.; and Mollie Shields-Uehling, SAFE-BioPharma Association for a panel discussion on data sharing and the regulatory environment. Thursday, April 7, starting at 1:55 pm

Kurt Florus, Bluebee, will present from several recent project on cloud-based high-performance platforms to unblock and speed genome analysis. Cutting-edge innovations in hardware acceleration and distributed computing are affecting cloud-based genomics platforms, Florus says. Leveraging HPC techniques enable researchers to ask even more ambitious research questions, and allow clinicians to take full advantage of these powerful NGS diagnostic tools. Wednesday, April 6, 2:25 pm

With several recent changes at Illumina, we are looking forward to the luncheon presentation from Brady Davis, Senior Director, Informatics. The session will focus on how the company is working to provide solutions that look at data at every stage, from collection and protection to collaboration, storage and analysis. Wednesday, April 6, 12:40 pm

Enoch Huang, Pfizer R&D, compares software and soft drinks. He’ll provide an overview of Pfizer’s molecular design infrastructure and the paradoxical solution that we’ve used to address this classic dilemma. Wednesday, April 6, 2:25 pm

Sandy Aronson, Executive Director, IT, Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine, will predict the potential for IT to enhance and broaden genetics in clinical care. Wednesday, April 6, 11:30 am 

When it comes to data sharing, Jason Bobe of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and PersonalGenomes.org poses a challenging question: What if your biology holds the key that protects others from disease? The societal value of sharing data is immense, but gets much less attention that data security. Bobe believes that designing a biomedical research enterprise that provides individuals access to their own data and improves options for sharing is paramount for addressing critical social concerns like better health, new therapies and disease prevention strategies. Thursday, April 7, 2:00 pm