Keynote Speakers

Andy Baxevanis, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health

Title:  "Looking Back in Evolutionary Time: Using Early Branching Animal Genomes to Advance Human Health"


Biosketch:   Dr. Baxevanis is the Assistant Director for Computational Biology for the National Institutes of Health’s Intramural Research Program. He is also a Senior Scientist leading the Computational Genomics Unit at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Dr. Baxevanis’ research program uses computational approaches to understand the molecular innovations that drove the surge of diversity in early animal evolution. His research group focuses on the analysis of genomes of early branching metazoan phyla to understand the relationship between genomic and morphological complexity, as well as the evolution of novel cell types. Dr. Baxevanis’ group focuses specifically on invertebrate species with the potential to serve as ‘emerging model organisms’ that can yield insights of relevance to human health.

Using a variety of next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics techniques, his group sequenced, annotated, and analyzed the genome of the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi, work that has helped describe the emergence of crucial elements of the animal genetic toolkit that have been conserved over evolutionary time. This work also brought significant clarity to the question of the phylogeny of these early branching animals, establishing ctenophores as the likely sister lineage to all other extant animals. In related work, Dr. Baxevanis is currently leading an international effort to sequence two Hydractinia species. The regenerative abilities of these hydrozoan cnidarians make them excellent models for the study of key questions related to pluripotency, allorecognition, and stem cell biology, work that will be significantly advanced by the availability of high-quality whole-genome sequencing data from these organisms.

Dr. Baxevanis is co-author of the textbook Bioinformatics: A Practical Guide to the Analysis of Genes and Proteins, whose fourth edition will be published in 2018. His accomplishments have been recognized by the Bodossaki Foundation, who awarded him their 2000 Academic Prize in Medicine and Biology; this award is Greece’s highest honor for young academics and scientists of Greek heritage. In 2014, he was elected to membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, which recognizes alumni who have achieved marked distinction in their field of study. Dr. Baxevanis was the recipient of the NIH’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Award in 2015 and, in 2016, he was elected as a Senior Member of the International Society for Computational Biology for his sustained contributions to the field.

Professor Hojjat Adeli
Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Title:  "Towards a Unified Theory of Brain for Automated EEG-based Diagnosis of Neurological and Psychiatric   Disorders"


Biosketch:  Hojjat Adeli received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1976 at the age of 26. He is Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering, and by courtesy Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, and Neurology at The Ohio State University.

He has authored over 550 publications including 16 books. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of international research journals Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure, now in 32nd year of publication, and Integrated Computer-Aided Engineering, now in 25th year of publication, and the Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Neural Systems. Among his awards and honors are Distinguished Scholar Award, OSU, a special medal from Polish Neural Network Society, the Eduardo Renato Caianiello Award for Excellence in Scientific Research from the Italian Society of Neural Networks, the Omar Khayyam Research Excellence Award from Scientia Iranica, an Honorary Doctorate from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, corresponding member of the Spanish Royal Engineering Society, and foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

He is a Distinguished Member of ASCE and a Fellow of IEEE, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Neurological Society, and American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering. He is a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in two categories of Computer Science and Engineering.

Professor Dimitris Fotiadis
University of Ioannina
Ioannina, Greece

Title:  "New approaches in Multiscale Modeling for disease progression and prediction."

Abstract: To be announced

Biosketch:   Dr Dimitrios I. Fotiadis is Prof. of Biomedical Engineering, Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics and Founder and Director of the Unit of Medical Technology and Intelligent Information Systems (MEDLAB), University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.

MEDLAB is one of the leading centers in Europe in Biomedical Engineering with activities ranging from the development of health monitoring systems to big data management and multiscale modelling. MEDLAB is an active center for many R&D projects and is considered as a center of excellence for human tissues modelling activities with international collaborations with the research community, industry and public organizations. He is affiliated researcher of the Biomedical Research Dept. of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, FORTH, and member of the board of Michailideion Cardiac Center.

His research interests include wearable systems, multiscale modelling and intelligent processing of medical and related data. He pioneered the modelling of complex human structures, such as bones and processes such as atherosclerosis, to perform in silico clinical trials of various biomedical systems. He employed machine learning techniques to develop predictive models for chronic diseases, exploiting medical, lifestyle, environmental, and genetic data which are integrated with existing knowledge and models to improve diagnostic and predictive accuracy. He works in the harmonization and integration of data from longitudinal cohorts.

He is the recipient of many awards, including the Academy of Athens Award and active member of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, being a member of the Technical Committee of Biomedical and Health Informatics and the Chairman of the IEEE EMBS Greek Chapter. He coordinated the organization of many EMBS conferences and other events.

Wendy J. Nilsen, PhD
Program Director, Smart and Connected Health Division of Information and Intelligent Systems
Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering National Science Foundation

Title:  “Creating a Smart and Connected Health System”


Biosketch:   Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D. is a Program Director for the Smart and Connected Health Program in the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering at the National Science Foundation. Her work focuses on the intersection of technology and health. This includes a wide range of methods for data collection, advanced analytics and the creation of effective cyber-human systems. Her interests span the areas of sensing, analytics, cyber-physical systems, information systems, big data and robotics. More specifically, her efforts include: serving as cochair of the Health Information Technology Research and Development working group of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program; the lead for the NSF/NIH Smart and Connected Health announcement; convening workshops to address methodology in technology in health research; serving on numerous federal technology initiatives; and, leading training institutes. Previously, Wendy was at the National Institutes of Health.

Peter Bandettini, Ph.D

Title:  “What are the Major Challenges and Opportunities in fMRI?”


Biosketch:   Dr. Bandettini has been pushing the field of fMRI methods for over 20 years, and along with directing his Section on Functional Imaging Methods and the Functional MRI Core Facility, he is Editor – In – Chief of the journal, NeuroImage. He is extremely active in the field, having published over 130 papers and having presented over 325 invited lectures. He has been an active member of the leadership of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, having served as Education Chair, Program Chair, and President during the past decades. Dr. Bandettini received his B.S. from Marquette University in 1989 and his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1994, where he played a role in the early development of magnetic resonance imaging of human brain function using blood oxygenation contrast. During his postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital with Bruce Rosen, he continued his investigation of methods to increase the interpretability, resolution, and applicability of functional MRI techniques. In 1999, he joined NIMH as an Investigator in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition and as the Director of the NIH Functional MRI core facility. In 2001, he was awarded the Scientific Director's Merit Award for his efforts in establishing the NIH FMRI core facility. In 2002, he was awarded the Wiley Young Investigator's at the annual Organization for Human Brain Mapping Meeting. His laboratory is currently developing MRI methods to improve the spatial resolution, temporal resolution, sensitivity, interpretability, and applications of functional MRI.