7 November 2018

On 1 November 2018, the Radboudumc New Frontiers symposium about the way big data changes healthcare, took place in front of an audience of about 300 scientists.

The symposium was chaired by René Melis. The complete program can be found here.

With new scientific insights and increasing technological possibilities medical research is rapidly changing. Increased computer capacity, availability of data and connectivity between databases have propelled the development of fields such as multi-omics, network medicine and computational medicine. Insights derived from the application of these new methodologies change the way we look at diseases: what once was one disease increasingly turns out to be a collection of rare entities with their own etiology, diagnosis and treatment. Vice versa, we begin to understand how health and disease are inherently multiscale phenomena that emerge out of complex and dynamic interactions within and between a person and his environment. Technologies like lab on a chip and self monitoring with all kinds of sensors change the way we collect data to make a diagnosis and the way we monitor diseases. At the same time, healthcare has seen a strong fragmentation leading to a more complex healthcare delivery and organization.
During the symposium a peek was provided into the promise and challenges of big data application to healthcare.
Examples from the application of deep learning to image reading in pathology and radiology and the application of network medicine to monitor infectious disease outbreaks or collective mood states using twitter data showed the huge potential of big data approaches for building a better (public) healthcare. If we invest in carefully opening up the data sources such as electronic health records through for example natural language programming, high quality data are available for healthcare data science. Several challenges still remain. For example when to apply which methodology and the ethical and legal repercussions of healthcare data science. This requires that experts from different disciplines team up for the best result.

John Graunt award
Alessandro Vespignani received the John Graunt Award 2018, in recognition of his ground breaking research in the spreading of lethal infectious diseases.
John Graunt is considered as one of the first demographers and epidemiologists. An award in his name serves to honour the recipients for their eminence and influence in the health sciences.
Professor Vespignani’s research activities focus on the data-driven computational modeling of epidemic and spreading phenomena and the study of biological, social and technological networks. With his work, he contributed to health protection of people around the planet by combining two research fields: epidemiology and network science. He showed that the social network of people plays a major role in the spreading of viruses. And this forms the basis for health scientists who are building models for the prediction and prevention of the spreading of viruses such as Zika and Ebola.
Laptop presentation award
During the lunch PhD candidates and postdocs presented their research via laptop presentations. An excellent jury reviewed the presentations. The winner of the Laptop presentation award was Ankie Suntjens with her presentation ‘Text mining in electronic patient records for the early identification of the palliative phase’.

Here you can view all the pictures (made by Rob Gieling).

Past symposia
Every year, RIMLS and RIHS each organize an international symposium across one of the thematic areas of the Radboudumc with the intention of exploring the newest scientific research and pioneering developments from molecule to man and population. Here you can find more information about the past symposia.

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