In a new era of high-throughput environmental exposure assessment, there is an urgent need for new analytics approaches to drive discovery of new exposures associated with disease and phenotype. This is particularly critical as many burdensome diseases are complex and a combination of both hereditary factors and environmental factors. However, we lack analytic tools and data to discover new exposures to explain missing phenotypic variation in the population. We will present an approach called ‘exposome-wide association studies’ or equivalently ‘environment-wide association studies’ (EWASs) as one way to discover new exposures to drive discovery of new exposures in disease and the missing phenotypic variation in the population.
My long-term research goal is to address problems in human health and disease by developing computational and informatics methods to reason over both genomic and environmental information spanning molecules to populations toward a more precise medicine. The proposed research project involves building big data computational tools to search for interacting environmental and genetic factors using the tools of bioinformatics in a complex and burdensome disease, cardiovascular disease, ultimately enabling me to take a step toward that goal. Currently, I am a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. Furthermore, I am an affiliated faculty member at the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH) at Massachusetts General Hospital, where I develop large data analytics methods for discovery of new disease biology and adverse events using electronic medical record (EMR) streams and smart phones (Apple ResearchKit GlucoSuccess application). After my undergraduate work at UC Berkeley, I worked as a software engineer in the biotechnology industry (Applied Biosystems, Inc) for eight years, and attained training in biomedical informatics (PhD and post-doc) at Stanford University.