Data Science and Computational Biology Lab

Assistant Prof. of Computer Science, University of Miami
Adjunct Assistant Prof. of Neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medicine

Ph.D. in Computer Science

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Dr. Vanessa Aguiar-Pulido is passionate about problem solving in biomedical research, with a focus on developing tools and algorithms that will impact diagnosis and therapeutics of rare and complex genetic disorders. Her background and interests include big data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, neuroscience, data mining, ontologies, biomedical data integration, health informatics, epigenetics and omics in general.

Her lab is at the interface of Computer Science and Biomedical Sciences, and her research focuses on understanding the underlying genetic causes of monogenic and complex disorders, how these causes can be influenced by environmental factors, and how these findings can be applied to clinical practice.

The advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies has ushered in a new era of genetic inquiry, decreasing the economic costs and turnaround time notably. However, with this growth of 'omic' data, computational challenges arise. Not only the volume of data is increasing but also the dimensionality, expanding the search space exponentially. As a result, many problems involve such a large set of possible solutions that finding the optimal one in a reasonable amount of time is not feasible. Therefore, developing new approaches for 'intelligent' data analysis is necessary. The work of Dr. Aguiar-Pulido shows how artificial intelligence can be applied to identify potential genetic risk factors in complex genetic disorders (i.e., those that require genetic predisposition and environmental factors for the patient to develop the disease). As part of her research, she has developed methods based on evolutionary computation and strategies using machine learning for candidate gene analysis and identification. In her most recent work, she devised a comprehensive approach that uses machine learning (more specifically, embedded feature selection) to pinpoint biological pathways affected in structural birth defects employing ethnically diverse cohorts. Approaches such as the latter are fundamental to further human disease research in the age of precision medicine.

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Interested in collaborating or knowing more about my lab's work? That's great! Feel free to contact me and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

+1 (305) 284-9293