It is Hard to Define What is Beyond Bioinformatics

The following blog entry was written by ClarLynda Williams-DeVane, Assistant Professor Bioinformatics/Biostatistics, Department of Biology and Director of Bioinformatics Genomics and Computational Chemistry Core (BGCCC) at the Biotechnology Biomedical Research Institute (BBRI), North Carolina Central University; Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH)  Duke University.


ClarLynda Williams-Devane

Dr. ClarLynda Williams-DeVane

Two weeks ago I participated in SAMSI’s Opening Workshop for the 2014-15 Program on Beyond Bioinformatics: Statistical and Mathematical Challenges. I was particularly interested in participating in this program because of the focus on data integration and large-scale data methodology. The focus of my research is in large-scale data integration for complex women’s diseases. As an assistant professor at a smaller university, it was an amazing opportunity to spend a week thinking about and discussing current and developing methodology in my research area. The discussion of exploratory data analysis (eda) methods in comparison or compliment to Bayesian model based methods was insightful and of great benefit as I have these discussions often with my K-award mentorship team. The thought leaders in these areas all made very well defined and supported arguments about which methodology was best given specific research questions.


Terry Speed talk at SAMSI

Dr. Terry Speed, UC-Berkeley, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

2014-09-09 12.19.12

Throughout the meeting, it was difficult for most speakers and attendees to define what it means to move beyond Bioinformatics. Many of the speakers and discussions following the speakers exemplified moving beyond bioinformatics while discussing how to move from exploratory data analysis methods to more model based analysis methods, which defines for me the need to move beyond bioinformatics. I appreciate the focus on mathematical and statistical approaches to problems. As a junior faculty member, the discussion about publishing in this area and developing clinically relevant methodologies was very helpful. At the end of the workshop as we broke into working groups, we continued our discussions of data integration. The working group process was a bit overwhelming attempting to find the appropriate fit. Through the various discussions on data integration, it was possible to find a working group that complimented my current research and to which I could be a major contributor. I am eagerly anticipating the next face-to-face meeting of my working group and seeing the outcome of the other working groups.

Former Postdoc Kenneth Lopiano Speaks at RTP180

Dr. Kenneth Lopiano, co-founder of Roundtable Analytics and former postdoctoral fellow at SAMSI, spoke to a sold out crowd last night at the RTP180 event. RTP180 is a monthly after-hours get together where speakers spend about 5 minutes talking about a topic they are passionate about, and that highlights some of the research happening in the Triangle region. It’s kind of like a mini TED talk meets Pecha Kucha.

Kenneth Lopiano on stage

Kenneth Lopiano talking at RTP180.

Lopiano spoke about the simulation model he and others developed to help ER departments become more efficient. You can read more about it here.

Some of the comments on Twitter included: @nxtstop1 “”Round table analytics” ~ does work in ERs using simulation models to determine best practice for that particular dept~

@Jnewbay “Emergency departments moving more efficiently? I’m in! Shorter wait times in the ER?

@bentanthony01 “ pitching at – Are you tired of waiting at Emergency Department? ED simulation models

@HealthView “We need actionable insights to healthcare data says Roundtable Analytics <Hear! Hear!”

You can watch the full video, including Kenneth Lopiano’s presentation here.

Professional Development Luncheon Featured Robert Rodriguez of SAS Institute

Bob Rodriguez of SAS talking to postdoctoral fellows

Bob Rodriguez of SAS shares his experience working for industry.

Robert N. Rodriguez, senior director of statistical research and development at SAS Institute in Cary, North Carolina, spoke to the SAMSI postdoctoral fellows at a professional development luncheon today. Dr. Rodriguez is responsible for the development of statistical software, including SAS/STAT and SAS/QC software.

table of postdoctoral fellows listening to Bob Rodriguez

Everyone was interested in hearing what Bob Rodriguez of SAS had to say.

Rodriguez shared with the postdocs some tips about pursuing a career in industry. While many postdocs enter academia, several are also interested in careers in industry and government. It was extremely valuable to them to have a fresh perspective on what a career in industry is like.

Two people listening to Bob Rodriguez as he talks

(l-r) Sujit Ghosh, Tom Witelski and Ilse Ipsen, Associate Directors for SAMSI, also enjoyed Bob Rodriguez’ talk