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Machine Learning for Computational Biology and Health
Anna Goldenberg · Barbara Engelhardt

Mon Dec 09 11:15 AM -- 01:15 PM (PST) @ West Ballroom A + B

Questions in biology and medicine pose big challenges to existing ML methods. The impact of creating ML methods to address these questions may positively impact all of us as patients, as scientists, and as human beings. In this tutorial, we will cover some of the major areas of current biomedical research, including genetics, the microbiome, clinical data, imaging, and drug design. We will focus on progress-to-date at the intersection of biology, health, and ML. We will also discuss challenges and open questions. We aim to leave you with thoughts on how to perform meaningful work in this area. It is assumed that participants have a good grasp of ML. Understanding of biology beyond high school level is not required.

Author Information

Anna Goldenberg (SickKids/University of Toronto)

Dr Goldenberg is a Senior Scientist in Genetics and Genome Biology program at SickKids Research Institute, recently appointed as the first Varma Family Chair in Biomedical Informatics and Artificial Intelligence. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, faculty member and an Associate Research Director, Health at Vector Institute and a fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Child and Brain Development group. Dr Goldenberg trained in machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University, with a post-doctoral focus in computational biology and medicine. The current focus of her lab is on developing machine learning methods that capture heterogeneity and identify disease mechanisms in complex human diseases as well as developing risk prediction and early warning clinical systems. Dr Goldenberg is a recipient of the Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research and Innovation. She is strongly committed to creating responsible AI to benefit patients across a variety of conditions.

Barbara Engelhardt (Princeton University)

Barbara E. Engelhardt is an associate professor in the Princeton Computer Science Department, on leave in 2019-2020 working as a principal scientist at Genomics Plc. Previously, she was an assistant professor at Duke University in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and Statistical Sciences. She graduated from Stanford University and received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, advised by Professor Michael Jordan. She did postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago, working with Professor Matthew Stephens. Interspersed among her academic experiences, she spent two years working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a summer at Google Research, and a year at 23andMe, a DNA ancestry service. Professor Engelhardt received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, and the Walter M. Fitch Prize from the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. As a faculty member, she received the NIH NHGRI K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, a Sloan Faculty Fellowship, and an NSF CAREER Award. Professor Engelhardt’s research interests involve developing statistical models and methods for the analysis of high-dimensional biomedical data, with a goal of understanding the underlying biological mechanisms and dynamics of complex phenotypes and human disease.

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