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Biomedical Informatics: A Critical Component Towards Precision Medicine

Event Details:

  • Date: Thursday 23rd March 2017
  • Time: 16:00 - 17:00
  • Venue: The Cyprus Institute – Guy Ourisson Building, Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Prof. Georgios M. Spyrou, PhD Bioinformatics ERA Chair, Head of the Bioinformatics Group, The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics

*The colloquium will be in English, the event is open to the public, light refreshments will be served after the talk.

Abstract 
The existing and continuously developing high-throughput technologies produce a wealth of -omics data. This data, combined with related imaging and clinical records, comprises an ocean of information that requires sophisticated mathematical and computational analysis implemented into specialized computational hardware and software. The delivery of precise medical diagnosis and care, based on patient measurements across various levels, is the basic idea of Precise Medicine. This horizontal (population-based) and vertical (personal multi-level) approach drives data science to very demanding roadmaps in the so-called Big Data era making Bioinformatics a key player in the field.

The major challenges faced by Bioinformatics towards Precision Medicine are: (i) the development of a robust information system capable for data integration, information extraction and knowledge sharing, (ii) the design and development of proper bioinformatics pipelines to provide valid and sufficient biological information from the high-throughput molecular profiles of the patient, (iii) the production of sophisticated mathematical models to predict the evolution of the disease, its relation with the measured markers, its tolerance/resistance to various drug families and the existing risks to the patient. Bioinformatics is using state-of-the-art computational methodologies and techniques to rise to the occasion, such as computational intelligence, machine learning, pattern recognition and data mining, modeling and simulation, network reconstruction and visualization, complex network analysis, deep learning, text mining/semantics and association analysis.

Further to these, Bioinformatics employ the most powerful computational ideas, setups and tools to create handy but powerful databases, number crunching systems and visualizers of networked heterogeneous information in order to provide the medical experts with a comprehensive picture of the worthiest of the measured information regarding each patient.

About the Speaker
g m spyrouDr. George M. Spyrou holds a BSc on Physics, an MSc on Medical Physics and an MSc on Bioinformatics as well. During his PhD he worked on algorithms and simulations focusing on breast cancer imaging. Early in 1990s Dr. Spyrou started thinking and working on the ways he could apply his knowledge in mathematics and physics on medicine and biology. In 1994 he joined the Medical Imaging Research Group of Prof. George Tzanakos at the Physics Department of University of Athens as Research Associate, working in the project of the small animal PET prototype design and construction. In 1998 he was selected by the Academician Prof. Panos Ligomenides to work at his Lab on a medical image analysis and decision support project concerning the early diagnosis of breast cancer. At the very beginning of the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), the Foundation asked for an informatics-oriented scientist to be responsible for the design and development of the whole informatics infrastructure at BRFAA. Dr. Spyrou was then selected to take this responsibility being appointed as a Research Scientist of level B.

Since 2001 and for over 10 years he worked on the strategic plan and implementation of IT development at BRFAA, acting as the Head of the Department of Informatics and New Technologies of BRFAA. Among his tasks was to design, organize and supervise from scratch the whole Information Technology infrastructure of the Institute. Namely, he had been involved in the design and supervision of network infrastructure, computational infrastructure, multimedia infrastructure, data services, web hosting services, administration databases, video/web conference services, e-learning, high performance computing infrastructure. In parallel, he was organizing his research group and was running his own research on bioinformatics and medical informatics. In 2007 Dr. Spyrou was promoted to Senior Research Scientist (Level A) at BRFAA after successful evaluation.

Since 2009 he is teaching a full semester course in the Postgraduate Program “Information Technologies in Medicine and Biology” at the University of Athens.  He is also a visiting instructor on Systems Bioinformatics and Network Analysis in other two postgraduate courses, namely the Master program on “Complex Systems and Networks” at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Master program on “Translational Research in Molecular Biology and Genetics” at the Democritus University of Thrace. Through these teaching activities Dr. Spyrou has the opportunity of supervising/mentoring a number of MSc and PhD students.

His work includes computational methods that act as bridges between molecular biology, systems biology and molecular medicine, exploiting computational intelligence and high performance computing for multi-omics network analysis, systems bioinformatics and in silico drug discovery. Up to now, he has served as Reviewer, Invited Speaker, Chairman and Scientific Advisory Board Member in topics related to Biomedical Informatics topics while he has authored over 150 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals and international conference proceedings. Since March 2016, Dr. Spyrou is the Bioinformatics ERA Chair Holder and the Head of the Bioinformatics Group at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics.

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This event is part of the CyI Colloquium Series.  View all CyI events.

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