Big Data Breakout Meetup – Healthcare and Precision Medicine

We had two fantastic speakers from the cutting edge of their respective fields, Ronan Cunningham from BrainWaveBank and Tim Davison from Almac Diagnostics. Here is a quick overview of what they chatted about.

Ronan Cunningham, CEO, BrainWaveBank

Ronan Cunningham is CEO of BrainWaveBank, a brain health research company whose aim is to make daily monitoring and tracking of cognitive health at mass consumer levels through direct measurement of brainwaves as cheap, easy, engaging, and informative as monitoring your activities, sleep, and diet is today. The ultimate goal is to use the huge volumes of this rich, objective brainwave data to drastically improve our ability to identify neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia before the onset of physical or cognitive disabilities, enable a transformation in early intervention, support the development of better therapies and reduce long-term health care costs. Ronan has more than 20 years of experience in new technology development, business development, and innovation strategy.  He is also an Entrepreneur in Residence with the Northern Ireland Science Park where he provides mentoring support to a number of high technology startups.

Talk Description

The incidence of age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia is rapidly rising. The number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s alone will triple to 135 million people by 2050 and the global cost of care will exceed $2 trillion/year.  Ronan will discuss some of the challenges facing the medical community in diagnosing and treating these diseases and how BrainWaveBank is using Big Data to provide new solutions to aid the community in tackling these problems.

Dr Tim Davison B. Math, PhD | VP, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, Almac Diagnostics

Timothy Davison is VP of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics within Almac Diagnostics. In this role, Tim leads a team of scientists, supporting technology benchmarking and the development of diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tests. Timothy received his Bachelor of Applied Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and PhD in Medical Biophysics from the University of Toronto. He spent 2 years as a post-doctoral research scientist, jointly appointed to the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Department of Empirical Inference for Machine Learning and Perception, and the Institute for Developmental Biology, Department of Molecular Biology.

Talk Description

The concept of precision or personalised medicine is something that has moved to the forefront of scientific research in recent years. Fundamentally the idea of precision medicine is based on providing better healthcare through a better fundamental understanding of disease and drug response. It focuses on ensuring that patients are treated with the right drugs, at the right dose at the right time. To do this, better diagnostic tests based on biomarkers are required. The discovery and validation of these biomarkers require complex analytics pipelines utilising large complex datasets of patient information. Tims talk will give an overview of his experience in leading a large team of bioinformaticians focussed on biomarker discovery and validation. The challenges in building successful analytics and the improvements that have been made in the last few years through the use of Big Data analytics technologies and approaches.

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