Prof. Alfonso Valencia, Professor and Director of the Life Sciences Department, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre

TITLE: Large networks of disease-disease interactions at the medical and molecular level.

ABSTRACT: Biomedicine is confronting significant challenges for the handling and analysis of large data sets, among them a particularly relevant one is the interaction between diseases, i.e. disease comorbidities. Comorbidities are an important medical and social problem that demands an interpretation of the underlying physiological causes, as a necessary step to progress in its management and control. As a first step in this direction, we have analysed two complementary data sets, one composed by a large collection of expression data (RNAseq data 72 human diseases analysed by 107 studies, including a total number of 4.267 samples, from the GREIN platform) the other one base on medical records from three different medical systems (Blumenau, Brazil; Catalonia, Spain; and Indianapolis, United States) or from previous publications (Hidalgo et al. 2009 and Jensen  et al. 2014). With this information, we have constructed two disease-disease interaction networks, one reflecting real-world medical associations and the other the similarities of the molecular profiles of patients of different diseases. Interestingly, the two networks have striking similarities in terms of their organization and characteristics. More importantly, we can show for the first time that most disease interactions have a counterpart at the molecular level. This molecular relationship can be translated into detailed molecular basis of specific disease interactions. I will discuss the implications of these results for the interpretation of diseases interactions at the level of specific genes and pathways, as well as the potential consequences for the management of disease comorbidities.

Based on the work of: Beatriz Urda-García, Jon Sanchez, Rosalba Lepore at BSC.

BIO: Alfonso Valencia is a Biologist by training with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He is ICREA Research Professor and Director of the Life Sciences Department at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC), Director of the Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB) and head of the Spanish Node of the European Bioinformatics Infrastructure ELIXIR. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), and former President of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). He was honoured as ISCB-Fellow in 2010. He has served in numerous Scientific Advisory Boards, including the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), of which he is currently Vice Chair, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics, the EBI INTERPRO and chemical database, Curie Bioinformatics Unit among others. He has also been part of a number of evaluation committees, including the Spanish Grant Evaluation Agency (ANEP) and the European Research Council ERC. He is Co-Executive Editor of Bioinformatics, the main journal in the field of bioinformatics, and member of the editorial boards of eLIFE, PeerJ and FEBS letters and F1000 Prime. The main interest of his group is the study of the molecular bases of cancer and other diseases, by bringing an evolutionary perspective to the study of the interplay between genomics and epigenomics. Our research is largely carried out in the context of large-scale genome projects, where we develop new computational methods for the study of genome/phenotype relationships from ML/AI to NLP/text mining. He has published more than 400 articles with an h-index of 89 (Scopus profile).
Event Search