Date(s) - 16 Dec 2019
1:10 PM - 2:00 PM
2222 Coover Hall
Title: Biomedical Informatics: Omics, Imaging, and Alzheimer’s
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are growing public health problems for an increasingly aging world population. By 2050, Alzheimer’s disease alone will cost Medicare $1.1 trillion dollars a year. To date, clinical trials have failed to stop or slow the onset and progression of these diseases. There is a critical need to better understand the complex biology underlying the dementias, in order to discover and validate novel markers that track decades-long changes in the brain or to develop potential drug targets. To this end, the National Institute on Aging has funded longitudinal, observational studies that collect immense amounts of neuroimaging, ‘omics, and behavioral data. This talk will introduce the grand challenges for content experts and bioinformaticians to effectively collaborate. Topics include what types of “raw” and processed data are conventionally available, unique issues with harmonization and standardization across these observational studies, and trade-offs between agnostic machine learning versus constrained a priori modeling of biological networks.
Bio: Dr. Willette is an assistant professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. He is also the co-director and Imaging Core lead of the Big Data Brain Initiative, a bioinformatics-to-bench-to-bedside initiative to mine biomedical data and translate findings to basic science experiments and clinical applications. His areas of expertise include structural, functional, and molecular neuroimaging, systems biology, bioinformatics, and computational neural science. Dr. Willette’s lab focuses on the impact of obesity on the brain in normal aging and the dementias. Dr. Willette is ranked within the top 0.84% of over 241,000 researchers in dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. His work is consistently published in top-tier neurology, endocrinology, and immunology journals, such as JAMA Neurology, Diabetes Care, and Brain Behavior and Immunity. His recent awards include the College of Human Sciences Early Career Research Award and Alzheimer’s Association Howie Dean Award, which honors the most meritorious junior faculty member in the Midwest conducting Alzheimer’s disease research.
ECpE Seminar Host: Ashfaq Khokhar