Wading through the literature: Using Charisma to explore body fluid based biomarkers in Multiple Sclerosis
by Rick Blevins, PhD, Co-founder and CIO at Virtual-Rx, and Allison Provost, PhD, Scientific Program Manager at Orion Bionetworks
May 21, 2015 at 12pm ET
The progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by debilitating relapses that are difficult to predict. Biomarkers that can predict relapses or response to therapeutic intervention could be very helpful in the management of MS. Basic science research has identified a wealth of possible biomarker candidates, but very few have been clinically validated.
In our webinar, we discussed a new computational tool we are using to evaluate the MS biomarker literature. Charisma is a new cyber-infrastructure which provides facile and normalized access to a wide range of data currently in use in the bioinformatics, genomics and clinical informatics domains (and many others). State of the art big-data, semantic and natural language tools allow the creation of knowledgebases which are self-updating and classically cybernetic.
We proposed that computational approaches in the review of basic science literature will aide in the efficient identification of predictive biomarker candidates that may be prime for clinical validation in MS.
About Rick Blevins
Rick Blevins, PhD, has 30 years of pharmaceutical and academic research experience, and is an informatics expert – from chemical informatics through systems biology. Rick served as the global head of bioinformatics at Merck, the US head of bioinformatics analysis at GSK and the director of cyber-infrastructure development for the NSF funded iPlant project at the University of Arizona Bio5 institute. Rick also designed and developed the infrastructure used at Caris Life Sciences in support of personalized medicine in oncology. Currently, Rick is a co-founder and CIO for Virtual-Rx, a virtual pharmaceutical platform company and president of Bridlewood Consulting.
About Allison Provost
Allison Provost is a Scientific Program Manager at Orion Bionetworks and overseeing Orion’s Initiative on Biomarkers in Neurodegenerative Disease, which seeks to facilitate the development of brain disease diagnostics through translational approaches. She received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow and Sackler Fellow in Psychobiology. Allison’s dissertation research focused on the role of serotonin in normal brain function and the effects of neuromodulator release on time scales relevant to ongoing behavior. Additionally, she has developed her business skills through coursework at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Harvard’s Mini-MBA. Allison obtained her BA with honors from UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology.
Orion Bionetworks is a Cambridge, MA, non-profit 501(c)(3) research organization that builds Bionetwork Alliance communities to assemble and integrate high-dimensional biomarker, biosensor, and phenotypic data and advance knowledge discovery through the power of predictive analytics and computer modeling to accelerate the development of new diagnostics, treatments, and cures for brain disorders.
Orion’s webinar series fosters an exchange of knowledge on the latest breakthroughs in a variety of technical fields including bioinformatics, computational modeling, biomarker research, and nanotechnologies, and discusses how these can be utilized to accelerate time to cure for brain disease. We are inviting expert speakers to submit proposals for future webinars on the above topics. Each webinar is 50 minutes in length, followed by a 10-minute Q&A with questions submitted virtually by the participants. All webinars are free and open to the public.