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Hacking Disease: Using Computational Biology to Exploit Pathogenesis

  • Friday, December 1, 2017
  • 1:30 PM–2:30 PM
  • Science Building 010

Benjamin K Johnson, Ph.D., Bioinformatics Research Scientist Bioinformatics & Biostatistics Core, Van Andel Research Institute

The ability to probe and understand disease progression has been revolutionized through high-throughput DNA and RNA sequencing technologies. Next- and third-generation sequencing approaches are accelerating biological discoveries and positively impacting patients in the clinic. For instance, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) infections remain a global threat to public health. The current approach to treat TB infections requires that a person undergoing treatment takes a multi-drug regimen for 6-9 months and if not taken for the full course, may lead to disease relapse and drug resistance. Treating drug-resistant TB requires a multi-drug regimen to be taken for more than two years. Thus, we need faster acting antibiotics. We have leveraged high-throughput screening and sequencing approaches to identify a vulnerability during TB infection that can be exploited to develop new therapies against the disease. Additionally, I will highlight an example of how computational biology can complement personalized medicine to identify treatable targets of rare disease.

December 2017
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