Bioinformatics; Cell Free DNA; Oncology; Clinical Testing

2C - Bioinformatics: Approaches to Liquid Biopsy
CME (AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™) 1.5; CEU (NSGC Category 1) 0.15; Attendance CEU 1.5

Monday, October 9
1:20 PM - 2:50 PM

This session focuses on bioinformatics methods to process and analyze different types of sequencing data from liquid biopsies.

Learning Objectives:

Jean-Pierre Kocher

Director Bioinformatics and Data Science Program
Mayo Clinic

Jean-Pierre Kocher, PhD, joined Mayo Clinic in October 2005 to create and direct the activities of the Bioinformatics Program. Between 2008 and 2016, he was the Chair of the Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics (BSI) that includes experts in Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Medical Informatics and Computer Science. In 2014 his was also appointed as Associate Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Arizona State University (ASU). More recently, in 2017 he became the Director of the Data Science Program at Mayo.

Dr. Kocher received his Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry from the University Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, and his M.S. in Informatics and B.S. in Chemistry from the University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.

His scientific background is in Bioinformatics, Chemoinformatics, Computational Biology and Machine Learning. Dr. Kocher's current scientific focus is on the analysis of genomics data to advance the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of clinical disorders.


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Muhammed Murtaza

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Mayo Clinic

Muhammed Murtaza, MBBS, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Noninvasive Diagnostics at TGen, a non-profit research institute in Phoenix, AZ and jointly appointed at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. His group focuses on development of novel methods and applications for circulating tumor DNA analysis in cancer patients. Murtaza has published groundbreaking studies describing sequencing of circulating tumor DNA for tracking cancer burden and evolution. Prior to his current position, he received a PhD from the University of Cambridge and an MBBS (MD) from Aga Khan University in Pakistan.


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Chen Wang

Senior Associate Consultant
Department of Health Sciences Research, Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic

Chen Wang, Ph.D., is a senior associate consultant in the Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research, with joint appointments in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Wang holds the academic rank of assistant professor of biomedical informatics since 2014 at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 2011.

Dr. Wang earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering and information science at University of Science and Technology of China. He further completed his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, VA.

Dr. Wang’s research focuses primarily on two major areas. First, with emerging next generation sequencing techniques, he leads the development and implementation of computational algorithms to detect copy number variations and structural variants for clinical applications. Second, Dr. Wang also has long-term research interests in gynecological cancers, especially ovarian cancer, with an emphasis in identification of molecular and genetic signatures relevant to prognosis and therapeutic options. As Associate Director of Bioinformatics for the Clinical Genome Sequencing Laboratory since 2015, Dr. Wang serves as the faculty leads for designing and overseeing informatics pipelines for non-invasive parental test and germline copy number change tests for various clinical sequencing panels. He consistently publishes in high-impact scientific journals and is frequently invited to give presentations on his research.

In recognition of his work, Dr. Wang received the career award from Mayo Clinic SPORE in Ovarian Cancer from 2015-2016, and 2017-2018. He has also been the co-investigators for several NIH- and DOD-funded projects in studying breast and ovarian cancers.

Dr. Wang’s memberships with professional organizations include the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as senior member since 2015, and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), for which he serves as advisory committee for translational bioinformatics working group. He has also been a member of Women’s Cancer Program at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center since 2017.


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Joshua D. Cohen

MD-PhD Candidate
Ludwig Center Johns Hopkins

Joshua Cohen is pursuing a joint MD-PhD degree within the Medical Scientist Traning Program and Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. He holds Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical-Biological Engieering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and subsequently earned a Master of Philsophy degree ​​​​​in Computational Biology from the University of Cambridge as a Gates-Cambridge Scholar. Under the mentorship of Bert Vogelstein and Kenneth Kinzler within the Ludwig Center Johns Hopkins, he is developing new ultra-sensitive technologies to detect cirulating cell-free tumor DNA (ctDNA) in plasma for early detection of cancer.


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Oliver Venn

Senior Bioinformatics Scientist

Oliver Venn, DPhil, is a Senior Bioinformatics Scientist at GRAIL Inc. GRAIL is a Life Sciences company headquartered in Menlo Park whose mission is to detect cancer early when it can be cured. Oliver worked in the field of Population Genetics as a Wellcome Trust and Clarendon Scholar researching the processes that generate and shape genetic diversity in populations. He now applies these methods to understand genetic diversity within and between tumors and the processes that generate it. His current work at GRAIL is to develop methods and identify features to classify cancer versus noncancer from cell free circulating nucleic acids.


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2C - Bioinformatics: Approaches to Liquid Biopsy
CME (AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™) 1.5; CEU (NSGC Category 1) 0.15; Attendance CEU 1.5

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Send Email for Bioinformatics: Approaches to Liquid Biopsy
CME (AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™) 1.5; CEU (NSGC Category 1) 0.15; Attendance CEU 1.5