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Outside the Lab Informatics, Personalized medicine, Professional development

Asking the Ultimate Question

Over the last 30 years, I’ve watched biomedical research rapidly embrace new technologies aimed at developing better drugs and improving patient care and outcome. This evolution extends from molecular modeling to bioinformatics, translational medicine, and now the conversion of personalized medicine into precision medicine and its enhancement with big data. Although these approaches typically develop from academic research, they have all migrated to commercial activities (and investment opportunities), while promising to improve healthcare.

In many cases, approaches have evolved from breakthrough science to commoditization and integration into standard research practice. For example, molecular modeling progressed from computational/quantum evaluation of chemical properties to visualization/graphics and molecular dynamics. Now, no drug is developed that does not use some form of this analysis. Bioinformatics evolved from protein structure–function analysis to sequence analysis of proteins, nucleic acids and genomes. Molecular biologists now routinely apply complex algorithms developed in advanced research in disparate areas.

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About the Author

Michael N. Liebman

Michael Liebman has more than 40 years of experience split between academics and industry, having traversed that “chasm of culture” several times with a stop along the way to lead a US Department of Defence-sponsored research institute. His career has taken him from starting at the (sub)-molecular level to today, where he focuses on real-world medicine and patients, developing and implementing methods for quantitative and qualitative analysis. Michael applies system-based approaches to define the full complexity of the problem. His approach to modelling applies design thinking and is complementary to the more traditional methods of statistical analysis and data mining.

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