Today's Bioinformatics: Where Big Data Meets Personalized Medicine

With the rapid advance in sequencing technologies, biomedical data are being generated at an unprecedented rate. Since 2008, the amount of genomic data has been doubling in size every year in just a decade. A high-throughput sequencing machine nowadays can generate more than half a terabyte of data a day, which means roughly seven whole human genomes at 30X sequencing depth. In other words, if every YouTube user of the billion users is going to sequence their genomes once, we are talking about a hundred of exabytes of sequence data, which is six-hundred times more than the video data they would have uploaded (assuming three-hundred video hours per minute) in three years.

I was fascinated by the complexity of the human genome and the opportunity to apply my skills to solve the challenging algorithmic and data science problems in the new era of biomedicine.

I was a software engineer before I did my Ph.D. in Bioinformatics at Yale and later my Post-Doctoral in Computational Genomics at Stanford. I was fascinated by the complexity of the human genome and the opportunity to apply my skills to solve the challenging algorithmic and data science problems in the new era of biomedicine. My passion became even stronger after my training, which drove me to several exciting genomics startups. My startup journey was truly a fruitful experience but I also realized that if we have to ultimately succeed in personalized medicine, it involves not only sequencing but a full end-to-end solution, i.e. from sample preparation to data interpretation. In addition, it relies on deep domain expertises as well as highly efficient and accurate computational solutions to transform the gigantic information into meaningful insights. That is exactly why I feel so attracted to working at Roche.

At Roche, we are humbled to work with our top-notch scientists and engineers in multi dimensions, from research to product, from diagnostics to pharmaceuticals, and from hardware/software to informatics. It provides a unique environment that can bridge diagnostics with pharmaceuticals within the same company (two thirds of our R&D projects are being developed with companion diagnostics) and so the opportunities to develop applications that can have the largest impact in healthcare possible. Our data science, for example, goes from diving into primary sequencing signals to data mining large-scale cohorts for medical insights. As the Head of Bioinformatics Research and Early Development at Roche Sequencing Solutions, I enjoy overseeing projects in this wide-spectrum and with a great team of talents. It is our core value and everyday work to innovate for what patients need next.

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