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New Fall Course: Statistical Models in Molecular Medicine

Date: May 8, 2014

Professor Donald Geman of the Institute for Computational Medicine, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and Center for Imaging Science, Johns Hopkins University will be offering a new course this fall, Statistical Models in Molecular Medicine (EN.550.650)

As stated in the course announcement, "Computational systems biology has emerged as the dominant framework for analyzing high-dimensional ‘omics’ data in order to uncover the relationships among molecules, networks and disease. In particular, many of the core methodologies are based on statistical modeling, including machine learning, stochastic processes and statistical inference. We will cover the key aspects of this methodology, including measuring associations, testing multiple hypotheses, and learning predictors, Markov chains and graphical models. In addition, by studying recent important articles in cancer systems biology, we will illustrate how this approach enhances our ability to annotate genomes, discover molecular disease networks, detect disease, predict clinical outcomes, and characterize disease progression. Whereas a solid foundation in probability and statistics is necessary, no prior exposure to molecular biology is required (although helpful) and the course may be accessible to advanced undergraduates."

This course will be available in the first semester of AY14/15. We encourage interested students to check the JHU Course Schedule at, or ISIS, for further information as it becomes available.

Vote for Trayanova Lab in NIH Video Contest

Date: April 29, 2014

As part of the 10-Year Commemoration of the NIH Roadmap/Common Fund, the Trayanova lab is currently competing in an NIH-sponsored Video Competition. Recipients of funds from the NIH Common Fund (Natalia’s Pioneer Award) have been invited to make a video to explain their work in accessible but entertaining ways, and to promote what they do.

Their video is now live on the NIH Common Fund Website. This is a competition, and the video with the most LIKES will win.

The best songs and videos will be featured at the June 19, 2014 Commemoration Symposium and via live videocast, with songs performed by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, himself. The symposium will recognize 10 combined years of achievement by the NIH Roadmap and the NIH Common Fund, two programs designed to catalyze innovation in biomedical research. The NIH is proud of Roadmap and Common Fund grantees’ achievements including numerous publications in high-impact journals, prestigious awards, and new tools and programs developed for the research community.

Eranga Ukwatta named BME Centennial Postdoctoral Fellow

Date: April 28, 2014

Eranga Ukwatta of the Institute for Computational Medicine has been awarded the Johns Hopkins University Biomedical Engineering Centennial Postdoctoral Fellowship. The BME Fellowship is intended for rising stars who are recent or soon-to-be PhD graduates with a record of achievement, a strong desire for scientific discovery, and aspirations for societal impact.

Eranga joined the team of ICM core faculty members Natalia Trayanova and Fijoy Vadakkumpadan in late 2013. He is working to develop clinically applicable image processing methodologies for the generation of computational models of the heart, particularly in patients with structural disease, such as myocardial infarction. His research will address challenges such as segmentation of cardiac and torso images, and interpolation of infarct geometry.

Congratulations, Eranga, and good luck with your research!

Dr. Rachel Karchin elected to Human Genome Variation Society Board of Directors

Date: April 23, 2014

Dr. Rachel Karchin, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and member of the Institute for Computational Medicine, has recently been elected to the Board of Directors of the Human Genome Variation Society (HGVS) for a three year term. The mission of the HGVS is “To enhance human health through identification and characterization of changes in the genome that lead to susceptibility to illness. To this end, to collate the genomic information necessary for molecular diagnosis, research on basic mechanisms and design of treatments of human ailments.”

More information on the Human Genome Variation Society can be found at their website here.

Congratulations Rachel!

Kelly Chang awarded a JHU ARCS Foundation Scholarship for $15,000

Date: April 10, 2014

Kelly Chang, a predoctoral student in the Trayanova lab, has been selected to receive a Johns Hopkins University 2014-2015 ARCS Foundation Scholarship. The Metropolitan Washington Chapter of the ARCS Foundation funded this program at Johns Hopkins to award merit-based graduate scholarships to students majoring in engineering and the physical sciences whose work could result in a breakthrough technology or discovery with the potential to advance America’s global technological competitiveness. The $15,000 award may be used for education-related expenses such as tuition, books, supplies, travel to conferences, research activities as well as other needs.

Congratulations, Kelly!

Engineering a Smarter ICU

Date: February 11, 2014

Research by Dr. Suchi Saria, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Health Policy & Management and core faculty member in the Institute for Computational Medicine, was featured in the Winter 2014 Magazine of the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering for her use of machine learning techniques to improve the level of patient care in America's intensive care units (ICUs).

“Using ICUs as her proving ground, Saria is wielding innovative machine learning tools aimed at making the health care delivery environment more ‘intelligent.’ Her project is one of the first funded at Johns Hopkins under a nationwide Moore Foundation initiative to improve patient safety with $500 million in grants over the next decade.

“An assistant professor at the Whiting School and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Saria imagines an ICU where computers equipped with sophisticated algorithms help doctors make more efficient and accurate medical decisions, and where unobtrusive sensors alert hospital staff to potentially harmful errors.”

To read the full story, click here.

Journal of Physiology Article from Trayanova F1000 prime recommended

Date: February 5, 2014

The recent Journal Review article, "Placement of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in paediatric and congenital heart defect patients: a pipeline for model generation and simulation prediction of optimal configurations", published in the September 1, 2013 issue of The Journal of Physiology 591, has been recommended as being of special significance in its field by Macdonald Dick and Ira Shetty from the F1000 Faculty. From F1000: "The authors developed an innovative non-invasive ('virtual') advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique to reconstruct torso-heart models in order to simulate defibrillation and cardioversion thresholds in complex cardiac malformations… This technique may prove to be useful when faced with one or more of a complex anatomy, a small patient and heart, and the need for life-long multiple replacements of implantable ICDs."

To see the full written recommendation, visit the F1000 Prime website.
Click here to view the full publication abstract.


Dr. Rachel Karchin receives prestigious appointments in cancer research community

Date: January 31, 2014

Dr. Rachel Karchin, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and member of the Institute for Computational Medicine, has received a joint appointment in the Department of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as well as membership in the Cancer Biology Program at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. These affiliations recognize Dr. Karchin’s productive collaborations with the Hopkins cancer research community.

Congratulations Rachel!

Dr. William Stanley Anderson recently promoted to Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Date: January 30, 2014

Dr. William Stanley Anderson, a member of the Institute for Computational Medicine core faculty since January 2013, has recently been promoted to Associate Professor of Neurosurgery in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Prior to his arrival at Johns Hopkins in 2011 as Attending Neurosurgeon and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Dr. Anderson spent three years as an Instructor of Surgery with Harvard Medical School and Associate Surgeon with The Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 2013, Dr. Anderson also received a joint appointment with the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Congratulations to Dr. Anderson on this well-deserved promotion!

Johns Hopkins Pediatric Heart News Article Features Research by Dr. Natalia Trayanova

Date: January 27, 2014

Dr. Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and member of the Institute for Computational Medicine was featured in a recent news release in Johns Hopkins Pediatric Heart News. The article, entitled “‘A Better Way to Guide Defibrillator Placement in Children” describes the Trayanova lab's groundbreaking research in pediatric cardiology. The lab seeks to remove the guesswork from the process of placing defibrillators on children born with heart defects through the use of 3-D virtual heart models.

To read the full story, Click Here.

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