22/01/2014 - 12:00 - Auditori PRBB

Integrative strategies for biomedical knowledge discovery

Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars

Ferran Sanz

Integrative Biomedical Informatics, GRIB, IMIM-Parc de Salut Mar

Short biography:

Ferran Sanz is professor of Biostatistics and Biomedical Informatics at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). Director of the IMIM-UPF Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB). Author of more than 100 articles in ISI-indexed journals. Mentor of 18 PhD thesis. Coordinator of eight EC-funded initiatives, as well as a STOA report for the European Parliament. Currently academic coordinator of the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) project on the in silico prediction of drug toxicity (eTOX). Coordinator of the Biomedical Informatics Node of the Spanish Institute of Bioinformatics (INB). Academic coordinator of the Spanish Technology Platform on Innovative Medicines. President of the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry from January 2003 to December 2005. Vice-rector for Scientific Policy of the UPF from 2004 to 2009, currently delegate of the rector for strategic projects in the biomedical field. Member of the Scientific Committee of IMI from 2009 to 2013.


The progress in biomedical research is increasingly hampered by the difficulty of managing and jointly exploiting the huge amount of information that is accumulated and that it is often fragmented into silos. Consequently, the biomedical knowledge discovery can deeply benefit from scientific, technological and organisational advances in the ways that biomedical information is integrated and jointly analysed.

Examples of efforts that we are doing in this direction are: 1) the IMI eTOX project, which tries to advance in the in silico prediction of the potential in vivo toxicity of drug candidates by means of information sharing among the pharmaceutical companies and the application of multi-level modelling strategies; 2) DisGeNET, which is a gene-disease database created by integration of gene-disease associations from several resources; 3) the EU-ADR project, which has developed innovative pharmacovigilance strategies by means of joint exploitation of millions of European healthcare records followed by bioinformatics substantiation of the drug-event signals detected; and 4) the recently started IMI EMIF project, which aims to develop a common information framework of patient-level data that will link up and facilitate access to diverse medical and research data sources, opening up new avenues for research.