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Jul 18, 2020

The complexities of disease require sophisticated approaches for understanding and treating them. On Innovation Unleashed, we often introduce listeners to the latest approaches and technology solutions for big global challenges. On today’s episode, we are going to  explore Computational Healthcare,  an emerging method of using computer models and sophisticated software to figure out how  human disease develops - - - - and how to prevent it. Using digital tools, computational biologists leverage experimental and clinical data to build models that can unravel complex medical mysteries through quantitative approaches for understanding the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of human disease through applications of mathematics, engineering and computational science.

Central to the challenge of how to use computers to improve healthcare is to develop computational models of the molecular biology, physiology, and anatomy of disease. Computational Healthcare can provide insight into and across many areas of biology, including genetics, genomics, molecular networks, cellular and tissue physiology, organ systems, and whole body pharmacology.

Close your eyes for a moment (unless you are listening while you are driving) and think of your kitchen table…imagine a half made puzzle of a picture of a snowy landscape.  Now complete the puzzle in your mind.  You can see the whole picture, even though you only started with an idea and half the pieces in place.  Computers can look into every aspect of biology and medicine…see how the pieces come together and tell us how to build the puzzle.   Computational medicine gives us enough of the pieces to see a much clearer view of the big picture of what causes disease and how to treat it.  Computers have changed every aspect of our lives…today we are going to have a chance to learn how they will change our health and wellbeing.

Today’s guest not only uses computational medicine to lead research to solve big healthcare problems, he also works to educate the next generation of scientists in this field. Dr. Chris Langmead is a Professor in the Carnegie Mellon University Computational Biology Department. He is a globally-recognized Computer Scientist with expertise in Machine Learning as well as modeling and simulating biological systems. His work stretches from drug and protein design … to clinical applications in acute and chronic illness. Dr. Langmead’s research is focused on the development and application of passive and active machine learning algorithms to address critical challenges in Medicine and Bioengineering.