MCBIOS 2018 Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speaker I -

Russell D. Wolfinger, Ph.D.
Director of Scientific Discovery and Genomics, SAS

Russ Wolfinger, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Discovery and Genomics at SAS, leads a team in research and development of JMP-based software solutions in the areas of genomics and clinical research. He joined SAS in 1989 after earning a Ph.D. in statistics from North Carolina State University (NCSU). For ten years he devoted his efforts to developing statistical procedures in the areas of linear and nonlinear mixed models, multiple testing and density estimation. In 2000 he started the Scientific Discovery department at SAS.
Wolfinger is a co-author of more than 100 publications and a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Statistical Association. He also is an adjunct faculty member at NCSU and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a leading member of the MicroArray Quality Control (MAQC) Consortium, which conducts sweeping assessments of genomics technologies and is sponsored by the US Food and Drug Administration.


Keynote Speaker II -

Weida Tong, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, NCTR/FDA

Dr. Tong is Director of Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR/FDA). He has served science advisory board for several multi-institutional projects in Europe and USA. He also holds an adjunct appointment at several universities. Also, he is the founder and board chairperson of newly established international MAQC Society. His division at FDA is to develop bioinformatic methodologies and standards to support FDA research and regulation and to advance regulatory science and personalized medicine. The most visible projects from his group are (1) conducting the Microarray and Sequencing Quality Control (MAQC/SEQC) consortium to develop standard analysis protocols and quality control metrics for emerging technologies to support regulatory science and precision medicine; (2) development of liver toxicity knowledge base (LTKB) for drug safety; (4) in silico drug repositioning for the enhanced treatment of rare diseases; and (4) development of various tools such as ArrayTrackTM suite to support FDA review and research on pharmacogenomics. Also, his group also specializes in molecular modeling and QSARs with a specific interest in estrogen, androgen, and endocrine disruptor.  Dr. Tong has published more than 250 papers and book chapters.


Keynote Speaker III

Matthew Might, Ph.D.
Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine
Hugh Kaul Endowed Chair in Personalized Medicine
Director, Hugh Kaul Personalized Medicine Institute

Dr. Might is a strategic leader appointed to the White House Precision Medicine Initiative by former President Barack Obama, has been named the inaugural director of the Hugh Kaul Personalized Medicine Institute at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.
Might come to UAB from the University of Utah, where he is a Presidential Scholar and an associate professor in both computer science and pharmaceutical chemistry, and from Harvard Medical School, where he is a visiting professor of biomedical informatics. Might’s research interests focus on the intersection of computation and medicine to advance precision medicine through personalized therapeutics.
In medicine, Dr. Might's primary research area is precision medicine -- the use of data (particularly genomic data) to optimize healthcare outcomes and to deliver the best possible treatment to patients. He is particularly interested in drug repurposing and even novel drug development.
In computer science, Dr. Might's primary research area is a static analysis of higher-order programs, although he also does work in functional programming, relational programming, parsing and purely functional data structures. Dr. Might's broader interests include language design, compiler implementation, security, program optimization, parallelism and program verification.


No Boundry Thinking Keynote Speaker

Steve Jennings, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennings is a Professor Emeritus of Information Science and Bioinformatics; he retired from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) in 2014 though he still consults on a National Science Foundation Grant concerning “no-boundary thinking” through Arkansas State University.  Currently residing in the Tucson area, he’s recently founded a couple companies focusing on informatics to assist not-for-profit, social service organizations understand their clients, donors, and programs better and on economic development on Native Nations’ reservations.
Steve received his PhD in Computer Science from Iowa State University in 1981 and his Executive MBA degree from the University of Colorado–Denver in 1991.  He started his career in 1980 as an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University and subsequently held numerous senior leadership positions in the software industry developing operating systems and networks, medical device software, web-based financial calculators, mobile communications, artificial intelligence platforms, and high-performance computing systems.  He has experience in technical/project/general management, finance and operations, personnel management, marketing and sales, quality improvement, and organizational development. He consulted for several Fortune 500 companies and has been involved with many start-up companies.  He has also been active with the management of several not-for-profit organizations.
He returned to academia in 2002 to:
•found the first regional graduate program in bioinformatics in the south-central US (jointly sponsored by UALR and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences),
•found the MidSouth Bioinformatics Center at UALR
•found the MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society (MCBIOS) and
•start up the Bioinformatics Core of the NIH IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant to Arkansas.
He was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Computing in 2013.