Challenges and Synergies in the Analysis of Large-Scale Population-Based Biomedical Data (17w5134)

Arriving in Oaxaca, Mexico Sunday, November 26 and departing Friday December 1, 2017


(University of Toronto)

(Microsoft Research)


The Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO) will host the "Challenges and Synergies in the Analysis of Large-Scale Population-Based Biomedical Data" workshop from November 26th to December 1st, 2017.

In the past 15 years, the cost of sequencing a single human genome has plummeted
from nearly $3 billion dollars to nearly $1,000. In the coming years, hundreds of
thousands, and perhaps millions, of people will have their genome fully sequenced.
Indeed companies like 23andMe have already partially genotyped more than a million people.
Furthermore, in addition to measuring genotypes, researchers and clinicians are also
now systematically measuring other large-scale biological data on top of the genetics
(e.g., “epigenetics”). In response to the low cost and ease of generating genetic and
epigenetic data, biomedical research has moved toward the study of large human
populations. However, the computational methods to analyze populations of
individuals in order to connect disease risk to genetic ancestry are not yet prepared to
scale to hundred of thousands of individuals.

Sequencing technologies are being used to generate not only individual genomes, but
also summary measurements of populations of billions of individual genomes. A
number of fields, including microbial genetics and tumour evolution, are using these
summaries to make inferences about the population structure and dynamics of the
cells or organisms being sequenced. The results of such work will have a direct
impact on human health, such as how we treat cancer and stop the spread of infectious

Analyses of the aforementioned data, all from large populations, require similar
mathematical and computational tools; but so far these fields have had little
communication. The goal of this workshop is to bring together experts working in
various biomedical research areas that deal with large populations of individuals,
cells, or organisms, to solve complex computational and mathematical problems that
are common among their fields. This workshop will provide a forum to translate
existing solutions into new fields, as well as identify upcoming challenges, and
ultimately, prepare biomedical researchers for the rapidly approaching onslaught of data from large

The Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO) in Mexico, and the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) in Banff, are collaborative Canada-US-Mexico ventures that provide an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry.

The research station in Banff is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT). The research station in Oaxaca is funded by CONACYT.