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Big Data and Deep Learning

The importance of big data capabilities in advancing precision medicine cannot be overstated.

Teacher and children working with blocks
UM System researchers are using big data approaches to lay a foundation for more individualized autism diagnosis and targeted treatment.

Big data analytics can effectively study massive data sets, such as those required to make meaningful connections between an individual’s genetic sequence and risk for complex diseases, including neurological conditions such as autism. Director of the MU Informatics Institute Dr. Chi-Ren Shyu created a new computational method to make these connections by identifying subgroups in patients with autism who had similar behavioral and communication characteristics. His interdisciplinary research team discovered 193 new genetic candidates associated with autism subgroups. Dr. Shyu’s work is building a foundation for more accurate and individualized autism diagnosis, which is important because early detection of autism in children is key to producing the best outcomes.

The MU College of Engineering’s Dr. Dong Xu uses deeplearning methods to accelerate drug development and improve personalized diagnoses and treatments. His creative research develops computational tools based on DNA, RNA and protein sequences that can be used in synthetic biology and health care. He is just one of the many MU Engineering faculty who are leading the way in cutting-edge informatics research and are poised to make synergistic research connections with other Big Data centers across the UM System.

UMKC will harness its deep strengths in data science and bioinformatics to transform the project. UMKC is merging research in these areas into the Institute for Data Education, Analytics and Science (IDEAS), and its purpose will be to find ways to move research discoveries rapidly and successfully from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside to the marketplace. It is one of four university partners in the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Big Learning, which works with 50+ industry partners to rapidly transfer research discoveries to meet industry needs. Under the guidance of the NextGen Initiative, our researchers can work together to streamline systemwide research processes. The continued expansion of our Big Data capabilities will be especially complementary to personalized medicine research from MU Health or UMKC hospital affiliates as well as neurological imaging studies at both MU and Missouri S&T, to name only a few possibilities.