With the advent of genotyping and whole genome sequencing technologies, more and more omics data is becoming available for integrative analysis and provides an opportunity to ask new questions about disease. We are interested in leveraging the genetic data across phenotypes to elucidate the genetic architecture of disease with a special interest in autoimmune diseases (Plos Genetics 2009). Furthermore we are interested in leveraging and applying next-generation sequencing technologies in order to better understand the role of the immune system in disease (JCI 2012, STM 2014).
We are interested in using publicly available gene expression and genetics data to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for cancer. We are actively working on developing computational approaches for target identification, therapeutic prediction and selection of validation models (CPT 2015, BMC Med Genomics 2015, PSB 2015). We have a special interest in studying the tumor microenvironment and the interaction of immune cells in the context of cancer (Nature Communications, 2015).
Computational Drug Discovery
The identification of novel disease indications for approved drugs, or drug repositioning, offers several advantages over traditional drug development. The traditional paradigm of drug discovery is generally regarded as protracted and costly, with studies showing that it takes approximately 15 years and over $1 billion to develop and bring a novel drug to market. The repositioning of drugs already approved for human use mitigates the costs and risks associated with early stages of drug development, and offers shorter routes to approval for therapeutic indications. We are interested in leveraging publicly available data to carry out data-driven computational drug repositioning (STM 2011, JID 2016).
Integrative Methods for Preterm Birth Research
Each year, 15 million babies (representing 10% of the world’s births) are born preterm, defined as before the 37th week of gestation. Survival for most children born preterm has improved considerably, but surviving children remain at increased risk for a variety of serious complications, many of which contribute to lifelong challenges for individuals and their families, as well as to burdensome economic costs to society. The exact mechanism of spontaneous preterm birth is unknown, though a variety of social, environmental, and maternal factors have been implicated in its cause. We are in particular interested in applying computational integrative methods to investigate the role of the immune system in pregnancy and elucidating genetic and environmental determinants of preterm birth. The March of Dimes funds lifesaving research and programs and works to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.