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Biomedical Informatics & Genomics Center

 

Mission

The mission of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Genomics (CBG) is to promote research and education in biomedical informatics, computational biology, various omics, drug repurposing, and translational research of human complex diseases/traits with the goal of accelerating the pace of scientific discovery, reducing mortality and morbidity, and improving the quality of human life.

 

Research

The CBG faculty conduct multi-/inter-disciplinary research with the goal of accelerating the pace of scientific discovery, reducing mortality and morbidity, and improving the quality of life of Americans. One of the primary research interests includes all those areas that are related addressing the question: What and how genetic and environmental factors incur higher risk of, or better protection against, complex diseases, such as osteoporosis, in different sex and ethnic groups. Theoretical (e.g., methodology development in biostatistics/bioinformatics) and empirical (e.g., clinical data collection and wet/dry labs data collection/management/processing/analyses) approaches are used. We are most interested in generating, analyzing, and integrating big data of various omics in vivo in humans. The purpose is to elucidate how DNA variants affect gene expression/regulation and protein expression/modification in the form of functional networks/modules/pathways and how the knowledge gained on these molecular mechanisms in humans would translate into better prediction/intervention/precision medicine and drug development/repurposing. CBG faculty have won numerous NIH/NSF grants, including P50 center grant and U19 program grant, and has advised/mentored more than 100 graduate students and faculty. Many of the mentees have become tenured professors winning their own grants with their own research centers/programs and some become academic and industrial administrators such as associate deans, department chairs and vice president of genomics companies. Other important areas of research include big data, medical image analyses with integration to multi-omics data, machine learning/deep learning, as applied to electronic health record and omics approaches.

 

Collaboration

The CBG encourages, promotes, and supports interactive and collaborative research in various fields, such as biomedical informatics (especially bioinformatics and image informatics, now expanding to health informatics), biostatistics, health informatics, computational biology, data sciences, human genetics, genomics, and proteomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, metabolomics, drug repurposing, machine learning and deep learning, and single cell sequencing based research.

 

Current Research Areas

  • Analytical methodology development for association studies, whole-genome sequencing studies, genome-wide transcriptome studies, epigenetic/epigenomic studies, proteomics, metagenomics, metabolomics, biomedical informatics, and imaging informatics studies.
  • Clinical, genetic epidemiologic, genomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic, proteomic, metagenomic, and metabolomic studies of human complex diseases/traits, such as osteoporosis, sarcopenia, obesity, osteoporotic fracture, female health-related diseases/traits (e.g., age at menarche, age at menopause), and recently, COVID-19.
  • Machine learning and deep learning for biomedical big data research (including electronic health/medical records)
Future Research Directions

  • Short term goals: to develop and establish biomedical informatics, bioinformatics, various omics, system medicine, and computational research as a major area of research and education strength at Tulane University for research funding, publications, and education hub of next-generation researchers.
  • Long term goals: to build a first-class center leading cutting-edge research in biomedical informatics, multi-omics, computational, molecular biological and translational research of human diseases; to attain national and international recognition for excellence in biomedical informatics, various omics, system medicine, and computational research; and to be predominantly extramurally funded.
Service

The CBG is dedicated to providing a broad range of services (fee based and/or collaboration) and education opportunities to the research community inside and outside Tulane University. Available services include:

  • Assisting/advising researchers in exploiting existing and emerging biomedical informatics and computational approaches and tools.
  • Helping researchers focus on their own expertise in research and be increasingly competitive in extramural grant applications through the assistance of biomedical informatics and genomics from the CBG.
  • Educating and training young and new investigators in biomedical informatics, omics research and system medicine, and the related fields.
  • Offering services for various types of omics studies such as whole genome sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, and genomic methylation pattern characterization.
  • Providing aids in designing and managing biological databases, supports for exploring the high-performance computing facilities housed in the CBG, and appropriate statistical, genetic, and genomic analyses of experimental data, based on the Center investigators' expertise.
  • Advising/consulting on, participating in, and organizing large grant applications (such as P01, P50, and U-19 grants) from the aspects of the expertise of the CBG faculty. 
Meeting

The American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting (ASHG):