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WSU team named top performer at international biomedical solution challenge

December 20, 2018

A team from the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Perinatal Research Initiative was recognized as a top five performer in the DREAM Single Cell Transcriptomics Challenge .

The Dialogue on Reverse-Engineering Assessment and Methods, or DREAM, challenge was co-organized by IBM Research, Heidelberg University, the Max Delbruck Institute and Sage Bionetworks, with the goal of determining the best machine-learning approaches to locate single cells in the drosophila embryo based on their high-dimensional gene expression profiles measured by RNA-sequencing. There were 385 international participants, grouped into 37 teams, in the challenge.

Designed and run by a community of researchers from a variety of organizations, DREAM Challenges invite participants to propose solutions to fundamental biomedical questions — fostering collaboration and building communities in the process.

The WSU team was led by Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Adi Tarca, Ph.D., along with Professor of Molecular Obstetrics and Genetics at the Center of Molecular Medicine and Genetics Roberto Romero, D.Med.Sci, chief of the WSU-based Perinatology Research Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and Gaurav Bhatti, a doctoral candidate in the WSU College of Engineering. Dr. Tarca also is an adjunct associate professor of Computer Science.

The approach of the BCBU team was presented at the RECOMB/International Society for Computational Biology Conference on Regulatory and Systems Genomics with DREAM Challenges, held Dec. 8 in New York. The BCBU team was invited to co-write the article describing the lessons learned from this challenge, which may have implications in future single-cell genomics studies.

Dr. Tarca’s work is supported by the Perinatal Research Initiative, led by Associate Dean of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Sonia Hassan, M.D.

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