SBI Seminar Series: Dr Igor Jurisica, University of Toronto
Date: 06 March 2015
Venue: UCD Conway Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Dr Igor Jurisica, University of Toronto
Title: 'High-performance computing in integrative cancer informatics: Challenges and opportunities in intelligent molecular medicine'
Abstract: Cancer development is a multi-step process that leads to uncontrolled tumor cell growth. Multiple signaling cascades are involved, some are activated while other pathways are supressed. To fathom these processes, biomedical researchers use models of biological systems to integrate diverse types of information. This ranges from multiple high-throughput datasets and functional annotations to expert knowledge about biochemical reactions and biological pathways. Such integrative systems are used to develop new hypotheses and answer complex questions in precision medicine such as what factors cause disease; which patients are at high risk; will patients respond to a given treatment; how to rationally select a combination therapy to individual patient, etc.
Precision medicine needs to be data driven and corresponding analyses comprehensive and systematic. We will not find new treatments if only testing known targets and studying characterized pathways. Thousands of potentially important proteins remain poorly characterized. Computational biology methods can help fill this gap with accurate predictions, making disease modeling more comprehensive. Intertwining computational prediction and modeling with biological experiments will lead to more useful findings faster and more economically.
These computational predictions improved human interactome coverage relevant to both basic and cancer biology, and importantly, helped us to identify, validate and characterize prognostic signatures. Combined, these results may lead to unraveling mechanism of action for therapeutics, re-positioning existing drugs for novel use and prioritizing multiple candidates based on predicted toxicity, identifying groups of patients that may benefit from treatment and those where a given drug would be ineffective.
Biography: Dr Igor Jurisica is Tier I Canada Research Chair in Integrative Cancer Informatics, Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Professor at University of Toronto and Visiting Scientist at IBM CAS. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Computing, Pathology and Molecular Medicine at Queen's University, Computer Science at York University, and an Honorary Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
His research focuses on integrative computational biology and the representation, analysis and visualisation of high-dimensional data to identify prognostic/predictive signatures, drug mode of action and in-silico repurposing of drugs. Interests include prediction and analysis of protein interactions networks, modeling signalling cascades and high-throughput protein crystallography. He has published extensively on data mining, visualisation and cancer informatics, including multiple papers in Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Methods, J Clinical Oncology, and has over 7,201 citations since 2010. He has been included in Thomson Reuters 2014 list of Highly Cited Researchers and The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014 Report.