Computational Biologist Bobbie-Jo Webb-Robertson has been named Co-Director for the Precision Medicine Innovation Co-Laboratory (PMedIC). A joint research collaboration of the Oregon Health & Science University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), PMedIC seeks to generate and interpret large amounts of disparate patient information, such as demographics, biometrics, and high-throughput biological data, to advance precision medicine— an approach that tailors disease treatments to individuals.
Launched in 2018, the PMedIC Institute has been transforming precision medicine by connecting researchers with advanced instruments and nationally recognized experts in omics with leaders in health care, education and medical research. Omics, including genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, characterizes and quantifies the vast number of genes, proteins, and metabolites that make up each person’s unique body, and can be used to diagnose and tailor treatments
Webb-Robertson currently serves as chief scientist of computational biology at PNNL. She works to improve machine learning methodologies and algorithms to create interpretable models from complex data. She has a particular interest in discovering biomarkers of human disease. In addition to her expertise developing artificial intelligence technology—with results that can be easily understood by human experts—Webb-Robertson serves as a dedicated team builder, bringing together top researchers to support patient health and immunity. An internationally recognized expert, she regularly presents on the development of precision medicine through machine learning for biomarker discovery across the world. Most recently she presented for the U.S. Government Accountability Office at the U.S. National Academy of Medicine on artificial intelligence in drug discovery.
Much of her recent work has concentrated on applications to the field of type 1 diabetes, working on machine learning discovery efforts for multiple birth cohorts, including The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) and the Diabetes Auto Immunity Study in the Young (DAISY). She was recently awarded the 2020 Spirit of National Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD) Award for her work helping to design and guide nPOD’s data science needs with a team of international scientists. As Co-Director of PMedIC she will work to sustain and grow collaborations between PNNL and OHSU researchers across a range of biomedical application spaces.