Data Science in the Era of Personalized Medicine

Prof Jiguang Wang’s studies focus on computational biology and data science, and how to use the technology to solve biomedical problems in complex diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, brain vascular disease, etc. Recent studies demonstrated that human DNA will change over time through the process of somatic mutation which could lead to late-onsite genetic disorders and illnesses, cancer for example, is believed to be caused by accumulation of such DNA mutations. He is investigating longitudinal sequencing and imaging data and tracking down to the single cell level to see what has been changed in disease lesions, aiming to understand the functional role of these changes in pathogenesis.

Prof Wang and his team are currently working on multiple genomics projects through the close collaboration with neurosurgeons at hospitals. In the study of brain vascular disorder and brain cancer, they identified novel gene mutations that help to understand the disease mechanism, and enable the development of precision diagnosis approach for better disease management and intervention. One important aspect of his research is the focus on identifying key alterations of individual patient and in turn developing personalized medicine. As each individual carries different causes of disorders, there is no one single universal approach to treat all patients. By identifying mutations in particular patients, personalized treatment could then be tailored accordingly.