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TERATEC 2016 Forum
Workshop 8 - Wednesday, June 29 from 14:00 to 17:30
Digital simulation technologies and applications in the healthcare sector

Precision Medicine, Big Data and Smart Cities

Abstract:  In this presentation, I will explore the rise of Precision Medicine (PM) and review the critical role of Big Data in the development of a sustainable (PM) information infrastructure.  I will also discuss the contribution of Precision Medicine to health promotion and disease prevention in urban environments.

In the US, Precision Medicine encompasses individualized disease prevention and treatment based on stratified ‘omics’ data: the exposome; genome; epigenome; and microbiome. It has been defined in colloquial terms as ‘the right treatment for the right patient at the right time’. In 2015, the White House launched the Precision Medicine Initiative© (PMI), funded by $215m. The PMI will collect biological, environmental, social and behavioral data from one million Americans. It will be paralleled by a large-scale study of cancer genomics. The latter will include a data integration platform to accommodate multiple data types, multi-scalar data, temporal data and Precision-Medicine focused clinical research. This will be aligned with the NIH program on Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K). These developments raise an intriguing question: can we extend the model that underlies Precision Medicine beyond the health care system, and patients, to the citizenry of entire cities? I will attempt to answer this question by reference to specific demonstration projects either underway, or proposed, in global cities such as Paris, New York, Madrid, Barcelona, Athens and Singapore.

The first project to which I will refer seeks to develop models for Age-Friendly Cities by supporting health and wellness in aging populations. A second project is focused on Big Data for public health, with emphasis on the relationship between urban air quality and respiratory diseases. The issues tackled here include: how do we design and build a real-time air quality emissions system and accompanying citizen-facing tools and technologies to enable individualized risk-management, especially for those who are vulnerable to respiratory conditions? How do we engage in exposure modeling to quantify urban population-based risk in the context of climate change? Similarly, how do we use predictive modeling of risk for metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, to develop individualized decision-support systems that drive behavior change? Most importantly, how do we achieve this at the urban, and neighborhood, scale? ‘Precision’ (accuracy, specificity) is critical here, too: the exposome, epigenome and microbiome are implicated in the interaction between citizen geo-location, mobility and health.

I will conclude with a summary of the significance of high-performance computing for disease treatment and prevention, both in the context of the health care system and the city itself. I will argue that bringing together the innovations of data-intensive Precision Medicine with Smart City models and services has the potential to not only uplift population health but translate the biological and behavioral heterogeneity of populations into an urban asset.

Bio : Dr Suzanne Holt Ballard is Professor of Professor of Culture, Epistemology and Medicine, Professor of Media Arts and Professor of Urban Geography at Ohio University, USA. She is also CEO of the Future Cities Lab in the UK. Dr Ballard is an urbanist, psychologist and social architect. She has taught and researched in the US, Canada and Australia, and has been retained as an expert consultant by national, state and local governments. Dr Ballard’s most recent book explores the global narratives of the future city – cultural stories that are emerging in the context of ubiquitous connectivity, convergent media and real-time data flows. Dr Ballard earned a PhD in psychology from the University of Sydney and continues to be interested in the nexus between urban design, technology, and sustainability. She is involved, via Future Cities Lab, in the City4Age project, funded by Horizon 2020 (2015-2018).

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