We live in an era where data is everywhere. It has transformed numerous domains such as advertising, engineering, finance, etc. While lot of these fields have already benefitted enormously by leveraging data for effective decision making, biomedical science is just starting to extract value from big data. DNA sequencing costs are plunging making it very easy and accessible for everyone to get their genome sequenced. Fitness trackers like fitbit and iWatch are constantly monitoring and logging information about out physiological state. Data generation at such massive scale requires the right infrastructure for storage, retrieval, and complex analysis. Luckily, there are numerous companies and open source projects working to create scalable data processing pipelines for genomics and healthcare data.
To learn more about this topic, we met up with Dr. Bhubaneswar Mishra, an Indian American computer scientist and professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University. In his interview with The Science Advisory Board, professor Mishra talks about what big data means in biology, how rapidly evolving genomic technologies will shape the future of this field, and his thoughts on how biomedical technologies can benefit from lessons learned in the field of information technology.
Talking about the parallels between innovation in information technology and biomedicine, Dr. Mishra argues that we can learn a lot from the rapid growth in IT and computer science. Throughout the interview, he discusses some of his concerns with regards to big data and talks about the ethical challenges posed by gene editing tools like CRISPR. When asked about his advice to young scientists, he warns them not to become obsessed with the term “big data” and fancy new machines. Dr. Mishra urges the next generation of scientists to go back to the elegant simplicity of science, looking at what is important to biology, and questioning the basic scientific principles at the foundation of how we collect and analyze big data.
on The Science Advisory Board
Created by Quentin Kreilmann & Sunny Piya