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Invited Talk
Why AI Will Make it Possible to Reprogram the Human Genome
Brendan J Frey

Tue Dec 05 09:00 AM -- 09:50 AM (PST) @ Hall A

We have figured out how to write to the genome using DNA editing, but we don't know what the outcomes of genetic modifications will be. This is called the "genotype-phenotype gap". To close the gap, we need to reverse-engineer the genetic code, which is very hard because biology is too complicated and noisy for human interpretation. Machine learning and AI are needed. The data? Six billion letters per genome, hundreds of thousands of types of biomolecules, hundreds of cell types, over seven billion people on the planet. A new generation of "Bio-AI" researchers are poised to crack the problem, but we face extraordinary challenges. I'll discuss these challenges, focusing on which branches of AI and machine learning will have the most impact and why.

Author Information

Brendan J Frey (Deep Genomics, Vector Institute, Univ. Toronto)

Brendan Frey is Co-Founder and CEO of Deep Genomics, a Co-Founder of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and a Professor of Engineering and Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is internationally recognized as a leader in machine learning and in genome biology and his group has published over a dozen papers on these topics in Science, Nature and Cell. His work on using deep learning to identify protein-DNA interactions was recently highlighted on the front cover Nature Biotechnology (2015), while his work on deep learning dates back to an early paper on what are now called variational autoencoders (Science 1995). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has consulted for several industrial research and development laboratories in Canada, the United States and England, and has served on the Technical Advisory Board of Microsoft Research.

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