The Role of Genomics and Metagenomics in Human Health: Recent Developments in Statistical and Computational Methods (19w5128)


(Columbia University)

Hongzhe Li (University of Pennsylvania)

Lluis Quintana-Murci (Pasteur Institute)

Lei Sun (University of Toronto)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "The role of Genomics and Metagenomics in Human Health: Recent Developments in Statistical and Computational Methods" workshop in Banff from February 3 to February 8, 2019.

Some of the central problems in human genetics and evolutionary biology are (1) understanding the precise biological mechanisms underlying complex disease risk (such as autism, schizophrenia, cancer, infectious and inflammatory diseases, etc.), and (2) how disease has affected the evolutionary history of modern humans. Despite recent progress, the genetic basis remains poorly understood for most diseases. With new advances in massively parallel biotechnologies, it is becoming increasingly more efficient to generate vast amounts of information at the genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metagenomics, metabolomics etc. levels, opening up as yet unexplored opportunities in the search for the causes of human diseases and their evolutionary impact. Despite this tremendous progress in data generation, it remains very challenging to analyze, integrate and interpret these data. Scientific as well as medical advancements are increasingly driven by the ability to analyze the ever-growing massive data sets. The development of efficient statistical methods for these large and diverse datasets is, thus, an area of key importance and critical for the progress in the biological and medical sciences. We propose to organize a workshop to bring together statisticians and biologists to discuss the integration of two area of major importance to human health, namely genomics and metagenomics.

We propose to focus our workshop on statistical methods aimed at pinpointing the role that genomics and metagenomics play in human health, and how integration of various types of omics data, such as genome, epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, metagenome, phenome can lead to a deeper understanding of causes for disease, and new biomarkers for human health and disease. The topics proposed here are at the frontier of human genetics, and a focused workshop will provide the ideal platform for discussion of these important areas.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides 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 is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and 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).