InSyB 2018 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

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PROF. N. SRINIVASAN

Molecular Biophysics Unit
Indian Institute of Science

Biography

Professor N. Srinivasan leads a computational biology group at the Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science since 1998. The ongoing research projects in his team include computational genomics, recognition of structures and functions of proteins, signal transduction and host-pathogen interactions. He has published about 280 papers so far in the general area of computational approaches in biomolecular science. He obtained his PhD in computational biology from the Indian Institute of Science on 1991 and he had three postdoctoral stints in the UK with Birkbeck College, London, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, London and Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge. He received International Senior Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust, London. He held positions of honourary Senior Fellow of the Manchester University, UK and visiting professor at Reunion University as well as Nantes University, France. He serves in the editorial boards of several journals. He has been recognized by the award of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize by CSIR, Government of India which is the highest prize for scientists in India. He also received National Bioscience Award by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and J.C. Bose National Fellowship, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Sciences, India.

Title : Multi-domain proteins: Evolutionary features, structure, flexibility and energetics

High prevalence of multi-domain proteins in many organisms has been attributed to higher stability and functional and folding advantages of the multi-domain proteins. In my talk I will present our learning on the evolution of domain architecture and evolution of domain structures of protein kinases I will elaborate on our recent studies on the influence of tethering of domains in multi-domain proteins on the structural, dynamics and energetics properties of the constituent domains and its implications on the functions of proteins. The analyses suggest that tethering influences the structural, dynamic and energetic properties of constituent protein domains. Our observations hint at regulation of protein domains by tethered domains in multi-domain systems, which may manifest as differential function observed between single-domain and homologous multi-domain proteins

Time

Thursday, 20 December 2018 (9:45 am - 10:45 am)

Venue

Auditorium 2

Biography

Prof. Sowdhamini received her basic degree and Masters in Chemistry. Her PhD thesis was on the modeling and analysis of disulphide bonds in proteins. She worked on fold prediction and protein domains during her postdoctoral tenure and subsequently joined National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. Broad research interests in Prof Sowdhamini’s laboratory in NCBS have been in the analysis of protein structural similarities and distant relationships amongst proteins. Sowdhamini is Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow and DBT career fellow. She is a Fellow of Indian National Science Association and Indian Academy of Sciences.

Title : Genome sequencing of medicinal plants – future applications

Medicinal plants and herbs have been used to cure human ailments since time immemorial. Indeed, it is quite common for one plant to provide cures for multiple ailments and there are also multiple plants to cure a particular ailment. For instance, Tulsi or Ocimum tenuiflorum, is an Indian herb which has a variety of medicinal properties -- anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-pyretic and anti-cancer, to name a few. It is rightly referred as ‘Queen of Herbs’. The Ayurvedic texts, written more than 3000 years ago, testify and record the appropriate use of various plants to cure particular diseases. These require good understanding of the secondary metabolites like terpenes and flavonoids that are produced by the plant. With the advent of next-generation sequencing techniques and due to the interests of our laboratory on sequence diversity of enzyme superfamilies, we have ventured into plant genomics and bioinformatics of few medicinal plants. I will be describing our attempts to decipher the whole genome of Tulsi, combined with transcriptomics and our identification of key enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway of secondary metabolites. I will also be describing our attempts to infer such properties for two other medicinal plants, using either genomics-transcriptomics or transcriptomics techniques.

Time

Friday, 21 December 2018 (2:00 pm - 2:45 pm)

Venue

Auditorium 2
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PROF. R. SOWDHAMINI

National Centre for Biological Sciences
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Plenary Speakers

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ASSOC. PROF. DR ZETI AZURA M HUSSEIN

Institute of Systems Biology (INBIOSIS)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Biography

Prof. Zeti is a Deputy Director at Institute of Systems Biology (INBIOSIS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia since June 2016. She obtained her BSc in Biology and MSc in Pharmaceutical Science from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a PhD (Bioinformatics) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. She heads a Bioinformatics and Computational Systems Biology (BCSB) research group that focuses on developing and establishing a systematic method combining protein interactions, functions and networks to an integrative analysis that will yield topological, functional and modules in the following biological problems: a) Disease association in human; focusing on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Colorectal Cancer (CRC); b) Plant defense system; investigating the differences in monocotyledon and dicotyledon defense systems.

Her work also investigates the relationships between two distinct types of interaction networks: the metabolic pathway map and the protein-protein interaction network to shed light on the relationship between disease genes and disease networks in order to understand phenotype associations between proteins and diseases as well as identifying many interesting modules, which can’t be fully annotated using a single type of data only. Her active research areas are:
• Identification of biomarkers through computational approach.
• Identification of driver genes through computational approach.
• Identification of protein complexes and functional modules by integrating PPI network and omics data.
• Development of specialized biological databases

Title : Computational systems biology in life sciences: inspiring hope in creating a better future

Advancement in techniques and approach in molecular sciences has brought forth a deluge of omics data that lead to the field of big data analysis. Computational intervention in combination with mathematical modelling are used to analyse the data for meaningful biological interpretation. Different omics technologies are combined to examine biological systems from a holistic and interdisciplinary perspective. This approach is known as systems biology and is characterized by large datasets and modelling. Systems biology requires biologists and systems-oriented scientists to work together. It offers many advantages to biologists to understand interconnected biological pathways by implementing modelling, perturbation and simulation of complex networks. Various algorithms have been developed to deal with large datasets and to model biological network of interest. This development has led to the emergence of many sub disciplines in systems biology and one that received many attentions is computational systems biology. This term, first coined by Hiroaki Kitano in 2002, uses computation to model and analyse biological data to derive system-level understanding. Under the guiding vision of systems biology, sophisticated computational methods are used to study the interconnection parts to unravel complex biological events (i.e. diseases) from protein interactions, pathways, networks, to whole cells and multicellular complexes. This effort can transform the understanding of disease processes in facilitating medical treatment and drug development. Here, a computational systems biology approach of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome will be presented to demonstrate how network analysis can be used to identify potential biomarkers. The identification of PCOS biomarkers will lead to better diagnosis and medical treatment to the patients ergo giving them hope for a better way of life.

Time

Thursday, 20 December 2018 (11:15 am - 12:00 pm)

Venue

Auditorium 2

Biography

Mohd Firdaus Raih currently heads the Centre for Frontier Sciences at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He has a BSc (Biochemistry) from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a PhD (Computational Structural Biology) from the University of Sheffield. He currently leads a research group investigating mechanisms of epigenomic regulation, the structure and function of complex RNA molecules and the structure based computational characterization of proteins with unknown functions (hypothetical proteins).

His research is primarily directed at understanding molecular function regulation by exploring the mechanistic interactions that effect molecular level switching and the associated regulatory pathways. To accomplish this, his research group study: (i) the structure and function of non-coding RNA molecules and how their interactions with other macromolecules effect regulatory changes in the cell and (ii) the structure, function and evolution of proteins with currently uncharacterized functions (hypothetical proteins). The approaches employed in exploring these key areas of interest include bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, X-ray crystallography, synthetic biology and systems biology. The insights revealed from these investigations can provide clues as to how molecular level regulation and responses in living systems are carried out that eventually lead to an organism’s capacity to adapt to extreme (ie. extremophiles) or diverse environments (ie. pathogenic soil bacteria) as well as the discovery of novel factors associated with bacterial pathogenesis. More recent work in his group include the genome and transcriptome sequencing of several species of wide interest; examples include the Rafflesia holoparasitic flower, extremophilic organisms and a Malaysian firefly species that is noted for synchronous flashing.

Title : Three-dimensional motif searching and comparisons: applications in drug development and synthetic biology

The functions of biological macromolecules are dependent on their three-dimensional structures. Although the overall structure of these molecules are important for their functions, only a subset of residues are actively involved in a particular function mechanism. These functionally important residues are usually conserved as 3D motifs and are involved in molecular interactions as binding sites or catalytic mechanisms. In my research group, we have developed methods to identify and compare these 3D motifs, especially as a means to investigate the evolution of functional convergence in cases where similar motifs exist and carry out similar functions despite the overall structure being different with no detectable sequence or fold similarities. We then explore whether our methods could be deployed in applications such as drug development and synthetic biology.

Time

Thursday, 20 December 2018 (3:00 pm - 3:45 pm)

Venue

Auditorium 2
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ASSOC. PROF. DR. MOHD FIRDAUS MOHD RAIH

School of Biosciences & Biotechnology
Faculty of Science & Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
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DR PAWEL SUWINSKI

Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Berhad

Biography

Dr Pawel Suwinski is a medical professional with extensive knowledge and experience in clinical genomics, bioinformatics, healthcare informatics and economics. He has a medical degree from Warsaw Medical Academy in Poland and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Management from Swansea University, and Postgraduate Diploma in Human Clinical Genetics from New Zealand. In 2011, Dr Pawel joined Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Berhad (MGRC),­ one of Asia’s leading providers of genomics solutions for analysing and interpreting DNA-based sequence data, as clinical geneticists and a medical bioinformatician. His duties span over two main areas of MGRC core business activities: research and commercial services:
  • In research, he is involved in biomarker discovery for early cancer detection and treatment monitoring as well as new approaches for common variants annotations.
  • On the commercial services front, he is providing assistance to doctors for genetic tests interpretation and management of patient cases, conducts educational seminars for physicians and public, while continuously working on services enhancement and new product development. 
 
Dr Pawel received acclaim for his research through articles and quotes published in Market Mergers, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The Edge, The New Straits Times and other local and regional dailies, and business publications. He has authored several White Papers and has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences on Medical Genomics, Personalised Medicine and Hospital Information Technologies.

Title : The Growing Up of Genomic/Personalised Medicine: Present and Future Trends

It has been 15 years since the first human genome data was published, generating high hopes for improved medical care. The promise of genomic medicine and the inevitable end to human suffering were celebrated by bringing about early diagnostics, effective treatments and improved clinical outcomes. A decade and a half on, we are still waiting for the genomic medicine to be moved from the “bench” to the “bed”. Despite many setbacks and delays, the scientific community has made significant progress in unlocking genomic information and the creation of knowledge repositories. Medical researchers also learned to be more patient and realistic in their expectations, setting smaller but achievable goals. Personalised medicine was the first concept to emerge from the post-genomic era. It can be characterised as a subset of genomic medicine, related to diagnostics and treatments. It utilises genomic data to tailor interventions to specific individual needs. It has been successfully implemented in cancer management, the use of common drugs (pharmacogenetics), and recently extended to polygenic and multifactorial diseases. The transitions of genomic data to clinical care was possible thanks to the advances in computational sciences, allowing for fast and accurate analysis of large biological data. New and powerful bioinformatics tools are underway, capable of processing Big Data using a variety of Artificial Intelligence technologies, and perhaps fulfilling the original promise of genomic medicine.

This presentation aims at showcasing the main uses of medical genomics in the clinical practice, main technologies used, and most likely future directions.

Time

Friday, 21 December 2018 (9:00 am - 9:45 am)
 

Venue

Auditorium 2

Biography

Dr. Sorayya Malek obtained her Phd in Bioinformatics from University of Malaya in 2011. She is a senior lecturer in the Bioinformatics unit Institute of  Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science ,University Malaya. She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate level. She is also currently the Masters of Bioinformatics program coordinator.  She has a special interest in ecology informatics, with a primary focus on ecological system development and data mining. Areas of special interest include water quality management. Besides ecological informatics her research work also involves medical data mining particular for pediatric orthopedic and acute coronary heart syndrome in Malaysian population.

Title : Ecological informatics : data mining and knowledge discovery

Ecological informatics is a combination of information technology and ecological theory to assist in dissemination of ecological research involving (genomes, organisms, population, communities, ecosystem, landscape) to researchers and the community. It is an evolving field that uses ecological data to communicate results and decisions associated to exploration, preservation and resource management. Ecologists need appropriate tools to deal evolving nature and volume of ecological data and proper data management. Ecological data management must fulfil requirements of variety of ecological information sources , and appropriate to a wide range of spatial and temporal scales such as habitat-specific to global, and real-time to historical dataset. Ecological data management process begins with conceptualization of the project and ends when ecological data have been archived and the outcomes used for proper resource management, preservation, and decision-making using data mining approaches. Application of data mining methods to ecological data allows exploration, analysis, visualization and understanding of ecological data that can then be communicated to other scientists and the community. Ecological data analysis involves inferential and process based modelling techniques, and uses remote sensing and GIS-based tools. Principal component analysis (PCA) and Self Organising Maps (SOM) reduces data dimension and allows discovery of nonlinear relationships by ordination and clustering of complex ecological data. Conventional statistical methods are not suitable for analysis of multivariate nonlinear intrinsic characteristic of ecological data compared to, inferential models using artificial neural networks (ANN) and evolutionary algorithms (EA). Communicating and results generated by data analysis using data mining approach is important for recognizing feasible management of ecological data and long-term forecasts and decision-making involving ecological data.

Time

Friday, 21 December 2018 (10:45 am - 11:30 am)

Venue

Auditorium 2
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DR SORAYYA MALEK

Institute of Biological Sciences , University of Malaya

Industry Invited Speaker

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MR NICHOLAS LOW

STI Capital Holding Group Co. Ltd

Biography

Mr Nicholas obtained his MBA in Strategic Management from the West Coast Institute of Management & Technology Australia (WCIMT). He is also a Certified Professional Manager (CPM) of the Society of Business Practitioners, Manchester, United Kingdom. Currently the Founder Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Adviser of STI Capital Holding Group Co. Ltd, Mr. Nicholas also sits on the board of Fortune 500 company - China Railway First Group Co. and Limited (CRFG) Malaysia Berhad as Director of Public Relationship & Technical Adviser.

Mr Nicholas is a technopreneur and venture capitalist in high-tech, cultural and creative industries, premium real estate development and public infrastructure projects. He also serves as a federal & state government hi-tech & ICT solution adviser. He also does corporate strategy advising and coaching. His previous portfolio includes Regional Sales Director Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI), Project Manager at Knowledge Management of Golden Hope Plantation Berhad, Project Consultant in MAGLEV HSR with Renong Group, Online Web Consultant and Journalist of China Press, Nanyang Siang Pau Group

Time

Friday, 21 December 2018 (11:15 am - 12:00 pm)

Venue

Auditorium 2


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