Yves A. Lussier is a leader in translational bioinformatics, actively involved with the development of the field and its conferences (PSB session co-chairs x2, co-founder and chair of the AMIA Summit on Translational Bioinformatics and of the Translational Bioinformatics Conference). Recently, his research group computationally predicted antagony between noncoding DNA (disease risk polymorphisms) located in distinct chromosomes that paradoxically interact to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and of bladder cancer, which were then confirmed in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) by Jason Moore’s group.
Maricel G. Kann is a leader in translational computational biology and has been actively involved in organizing PSB scientific sessions for over a decade (2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2016). Her research interest lies on computationally determining the mechanisms of complex biological processes that underpin healthy vs. diseased organisms. Dr. Kann has developed a unique expertise in accurately predicting protein domain interactions and consequent drug development.
Jason H. Moore’s research focuses on using informatics methods for identifying combinations of DNA sequence variations and environmental factors that are predictive of human health and complex disease. He and Marylyn Ritchie developed the multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) machine learning method for detecting and characterizing combinations of attributes or independent variables that interact to influence a dependent or class variable. He then applied MDR for improved understanding of the interplay of multiple genetic polymorphisms of complex traits in GWAS. Recently, in collaboration with Yves Lussier, he validated in GWAS computational predictions of antagony between noncoding DNA (disease risk polymorphisms) located in distinct chromosomes that paradoxically interact to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and of Bladder Cancer.
Kenneth S. Ramos was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine in 2015 for his pioneering work in understanding the expand mechanisms of long interspersed nuclear elements (LINE1) retrotransposon activity and its contribution to pathophysiology. He is deeply committed to initiatives that advance modern technological applications to improve the quality of health care and reduce both disease burden and health-associated costs. One of his primary areas of focus in partnership with Banner – University Medical Center is the development of precision-health strategies and approaches to advance health-care delivery and outcomes.
Joanne Berghout has been research faculty at The University of Arizona since 2016. Her research is centered on using ontologies to discover patterns and new insights from genetic data. Recently, this led to the discovery of convergent regulatory mechanisms for intergenic SNPs associated with complex disease, revealed by 2-locus analysis of GWAS candidate SNPs, eQTL data, and enriched ontology annotations. Dr. Berghout holds a PhD in Biochemistry/Molecular Genetics from McGill University and worked previously as the Outreach Coordinator for the Mouse Genome Informatics database at the Jackson Laboratory.
Francesca Vitali has been research faculty at The University of Arizona since 2016. Her research focuses on machine learning, network and systems approaches to pharmacogenomics, and drug repositioning. Her PhD and post-doctoral studies, conducted under Dr. Riccardo Bellazzi, led her to extend the flexibility of graph-theoretic approaches for integration of biological knowledge and data, which were applied software tools she developed. In collaboration with Drs. Lussier and Berghout, she is investigating drug repositioning in eQTL networks anchored on noncoding disease-associated polymorphisms.