International Science Workshop: Bioinformatics in Personalized Medicine

February 2012

The U.S-Israel Science and Technology Foundation, in partnership with the Florida International University, the Technion, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, convened an international science workshop focusing on knowledge mining and bioinformatics tools to advance personalized diagnostics and therapeutics with the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation on February 4th and 5th in Florence, Italy. The workshop scientific steering committee includes Dr. Naphtali Rishe, Dr. Yelena Yesha and Dr. Eddy Karnieli. The workshop was facilitated by Ron Ribitzky.

The workshop was very successful and included an interdisciplinary group of 40 computer scientists and clinicians representing the United States, Israel, Canada, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands and Germany. We held four scientific sessions focusing on the policy implications of implementing personalized diagnostics and therapeutics based on big data analysis, the technological challenges facing computer scientists and doctors in creating useable systems, the challenges in utilizing big data analysis to predict future health outcomes and the needs of clinicians for utilizing big data in their practices.

The workshop concluded with a long session analyzing and linking the outcomes of our scientific panels to develop a proceeding which fleshes out the conclusions of the mixed computer scientist/clinician group about the future of developing diagnostics and therapeutics. In general, the interdisciplinary group concluded the personalized diagnostics and therapeutics, based on ‘big data’ analysis that includes patient genomic data combined with natural health history and cohort data will revolutionize the ways that clinicians are able to diagnose and treat patients. In order to reach that point, policies must be in place that incentivize the use of these personalized diagnostics by clinicians, computer software must be designed that not only integrates all the available data but that makes it useable to clinical experts and finally that training of doctors will be key to making this a reality.

Moving forward, our next steps will be to write, disseminate and deliver the scientific proceedings of the workshop to the National Science Foundation and broader community, including potentially presenting our results at future international medical and technology conferences. In the longer term, the scientific steering committee, will be developing a Springer Verlag Notes in Computer Science publication fully developing the results of our work in Florence.

U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation Presents U.S.-Israel Innovation Index at the U.S. Department of State

February 2012

On February 29, 2012 the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation (USISTF) presented the U.S.-Israel Innovation Index (USI3) at the U.S. Department of State. The group included professionals representing the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Commerce and National Academies of Sciences professionals working on issues of science and technology cooperation, intellectual property protection, innovation policy studies and export promotion. This important meeting brought together policy makers and senior thought leaders to discuss the ways that the USI3 can be used as a model to measure, track, evaluate and benchmark innovation relationships between other countries.

This group of policy makers emphasized the usefulness of the USI3 for helping them to understand the outcomes of not only U.S. scientific relationships with other countries, but also in terms of the outcomes of various U.S. IP, investment and free trade agreements. The USI3’s distinction from other indexes is that it tracks and benchmarks relationships rather than benchmarking and scoring countries against one another. The USI3 utilizes qualitative and quantitative indicators that explore the human capital, government, private sector and R&D relationships of the United States.

When USISTF produced the USI3, our goal was not only to help industry and policy makers in the U.S. and Israel understand the strengths and opportunities in the U.S.-Israel innovation relationship, but also to create a model for evaluating global innovation relationships. The USISTF looks forward to expanding the number of countries included in the 2012 publication.