Argonne National Laboratory

Upcoming Events

There and Back Again: Taking Genomics Research to Commercial Product, and from that Driving New Research Opportunities

ALCF Seminar
Alan Keahey, IBM Watson
February 17, 2017 10:00AM to 11:00PM
Building 240, Room 1404



Abstract: Rapidly lowering costs in sequencing technology have offered a huge promise for finding effective targeted genomic treatments for cancer patients, but a large bottleneck to availability has been the time and specialized medical knowledge required at the clinical level to transform genomic profiles into actionable treatments. In this talk, I will describe how my team within IBM transitioned a partial research prototype into a scalable commercial offering for clinical precision medicine called Watson for Genomics. Using NLP, analytics, and specialized domain knowledge, we have created a system that can keep up to date with the tens of thousands of new oncology publications generated each month, as well as changes in clinical trials availability, to provide automated "up to the minute" recommendations for cancer patients within minutes. This system is now available through partnerships with major medical diagnostic labs, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it is generating vital information on tens of thousands of cancer cases. This new case information is now being used to drive improvements to our analytics engine, and further research opportunities at IBM and partner institutes such as University of Chicago.

Bio: Alan Keahey has played a leading role in the research and development of innovative data visualization systems for close to 20 years. His experience spans a wide range of environments including national lab research scientist, research director at a Lucent Bell Labs Venture Company, and founder of a visualization research and development company. He has published seminal papers in the field of information visualization and created a number of significant visualization techniques and software systems.

Alan is currently a senior data visualization Scientist at IBM Watson, where he has consulted closely on visualization with major IBM customers and internal divisions from a variety of industries. He has also architected and led the development of a number of interactive visualization projects within IBM, most recently for the Watson for Genomics offering, which has become the dominant player in the clinical application of precision medicine for oncology. Alan is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University where he teaches graduate-level courses on data visualization. A regular speaker at both research and commercial conferences, he thrives on forging connections between the innovations created in research environments and the real-world needs of business customers.