Scalable Knowledge Discovery Platform for Health Informatics: From Precision Medicine to Population Health

July 08, 2015 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET

In the era of big data, effective use of increasingly larger, complex, and diverse datasets has become a critical challenge for healthcare transformation. To meet the challenge, the scientific community must deliver innovative and scalable frameworks for interpreting the influx of information to keep pace with rapid scientific developments. The mission of a national lab is to enable scientific innovations and transformative technical breakthroughs for grand challenges by leveraging unique resources. ORNL is taking on this "Big Data to Knowledge" challenge for health innovations via its Health Data Sciences Institute (HDSI). In this presentation Dr. Tourassi will discuss informatics innovations coordinated by the institute to expand and accelerate biomedical knowledge discovery. Dr. Tourassi will illustrate the value of these innovations with two cancer-related examples from precision medicine and population health. The first example will demonstrate how linking of heterogeneous information across The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) can provide novel insights into cancer-specific mutations at the individual level that can then directly inform molecular epidemiology of specific tumor states. The second example will demonstrate the use of cyber-informatics to accelerate discoveries in environmental cancer epidemiology. Underlying the two applications is a powerful semantic reasoning framework built at ORNL that enables seamless hypotheses generation for exploratory research.

Dr. Georgia Tourassi

Dr. Georgia Tourassi is the Director of the Biomedical Science and Engineering Center and the Health Data Sciences Institute at ORNL. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. She received the Young Investigator’s Award from the National Institute of Health and the Whitaker Foundation. Before joining ORNL in 2011, Dr. Tourassi was Associate Professor of Radiology and the Medical Physics Graduate Program at Duke University Medical Center, where she currently holds an Adjunct Professor position. She is also Adjunct Professor of Radiology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Her research interests include biomedical informatics, medical imaging, and computer-aided decision support and her research has been featured in publications such as the Economist, Physics Today, and others. She has authored over 200 peer-reviewed journal, conference proceedings papers, and book chapters. She serves regularly on NIH grant review study sections. Dr. Tourassi has also served on the FDA advisory committee on computer-aided diagnosis devices. In 2014 she won an R&D 100 Award and in 2015 she was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).


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