This is a past event.
There is ever more software designed to make us more active in managing our health and recent studies have shown that knowledge of each person’s genetic make-up increases their commitment to therapies, dietary plans and physical exercise. These technologies help us make more informed decisions and are transforming our health and welfare services. The medicine centred on the individual is the fundamental pillar of the new paradigm for health management in the 21st century. How are artificial intelligence and technologies based on genetic knowledge changing our attitude to medicine? How do they promote amortality (living longer without ageing, reversing the characteristics of red cells to make them younger)?
Hedi Peterson, from the Genoma project, Maria do Carmo Fonseca, a professor at Lisbon University’s Faculty of Medicine and president of the João Lobo Antunes Institute of Molecular Medicine, and Ana Teresa Freitas, a professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and co-founder and CEO of HeartGenetics, Genetics and Biotechnology (digital health and human genetics).
16:30 PRECISION PREVENTION
Jonas Almeida is permanent researcher at the National Cancer Institute in the United States of America, where he also holds the position of chief data scientist for the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.
Fidelidade – Companhia de Seguros
Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon (IST), Nova SBE Health Economics and Management KC
Arlindo Oliveira (IST), Joaquim Sampaio Cabral (IST), Pedro Pita Barros (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Liliana Coutinho, Joaquim Sampaio, Pedro Pita Barros
Liliana Coutinho, Joaquim Sampaio Cabral, Pedro Pita Barros
SIC Notícias, Público, Antena 1, Jornal de Negócios
Presentations and bios Longevity: Precision
Ana Teresa Freitas, Hedi Paterson, Maria do Carmo Fonseca
20 MAY, 14:30
Ana Teresa Freitas
Health and well-being in the digital era
Software and mobile applications for the health area, designed to encourage people to be more active in managing their health, are profoundly changing the way in which health and welfare services are made available. These technologies enable each individual to take decisions about their own health and well-being. Finally, we are entering the era of precision medicine centred on the individual, a fundamental pillar of the paradigm for health management in the twenty-first century.
Precision medicine makes use of technologies and information from different areas, such as bioinformatics, and the “omics” sciences (genomics, epigenomics, microbiomics, etc...), together with environmental, behavioural and clinical data from biomarkers, medical images and more traditional health records. Recent trends in the area of genetics clearly show that knowledge about each individual’s genetic make-up increases their commitment to therapies, dietary plans and physical exercise, significantly improving their health. Currently the paradigm of precision medicine is being imposed by all those who demand the right to participate actively and responsibly in their healthcare, in order to achieve a healthier longevity.
Ana Teresa Freitas is a Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Since 2013, she has also been the co-founder and CEO of HeartGenetics, Genetics and Biotechnology SA, a company that undertakes activity in the area of digital health and human genetics. The innovative work of HeartGenetics has won several international awards, and the company was a finalist at the World Health Summit 2016, in Berlin. She has a first degree, master’s degree and PhD in Electrotechincal Engineering and Computer Science, from IST. She took her post-doctoral “aggregation” qualification in the area of Computational Biology, into which she has been conducting research since 2000. She has a diploma from the programme of Advanced Management in Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics. In the European context, she was a representative of Portugal and vice-president, in 2017, of ESFRI ELIXIR, an institution that brings together the main computational biology organisations in Europe. Her scientific skills are in the areas of Computational Biology, Human Genetics, Algorithms and Data Analysis, and she is the author of more than 100 publications.
Professor Maria do Carmo Fonseca, President of IMM
Will we be able to be amortal?
Today, we are already living longer and, in the near and foreseeable future, we can expect our average life expectancy to continue to increase. This reality has led the World Health Organisation to revise the age at which we must consider ourselves to be old. According to the current classification, people remain young until they are 65 years old! At the age of 66, we enter middle age and only after we reach 80 do we become old. It is excellent to be 60 years old and still feel young, but will it be possible for us still to feel young at the age of 80? To designate the idea of living longer without aging, the writer Catherine Mayer coined the word “amortality”. Currently, scientists are already able to reverse the characteristics of old cells in the laboratory, by making them more similar to young cells. All that’s missing is for us to be able to reverse cellular aging in the human body. As a scientist, I believe that this will be possible. All we will have to do is wait some time (perhaps another 50 to 100 years) to attain amortality!
Maria do Carmo Fonseca is a Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon and President of the João Lobo Antunes Institute of Molecular Medicine (iMM). After taking a first degree in Medicine (1983), she took a PhD in Cellular Biology (1988), and is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, as well as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Cell Science and the monthly journal RNA. In 2001, she was made a Commander of the Military Order of Sant'Iago da Espada. Having already been awarded the Gulbenkian Prize for Science (2007) and the Pessoa Prize (2010), she was further distinguished with the Gold Medal of the Ministry of Health (2012), and the Centenary Prize, attributed by the students of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (2013). She is the author of roughly 150 international publications that have been quoted more than 10 thousand times, and the research undertaken by her team has contributed to a better understanding of how human genes function. By focusing on the molecules of RNA, one of her team’s most recent discoveries has revealed a type of RNA that, when appropriately manipulated, can reverse cellular aging.
Hedi Peterson (Estónia)
Living by knowing the odds, is it making life better or worse?
Our genetic makeup is like a lottery ticket bought at a fair where all the tickets win. The only question is who gets what kind of a prize. Some of us get the best genes in order to become fast, have excellent body coordination and become football stars. The other ones become good at questioning everything and might become scientists instead. We also get a different starting position to live a long and healthy life. Although, we do not need to know our exact genetic background to know what are the odds. In many cases, it is enough to know well what has troubled your parents and their parents, your aunts, and uncles. However, this informaiton is not always available. Moreover, as humans, we are curious and want to learn more about our individual chances of living a long healthy life. This urge also drives scientists to uncover all the potential relationships between genes and diseases, and make them find effective treatments. In this talk, I will share with you the reasons why 20% of Estonian adult population has joined Estonian Genome project and if their hopes for an outcome can and will be matched by the project.
Hedi Peterson is Estonian researcher who’s work is at the intersection of biology and computer science. She is one of the first researchers in Estonia trained in the field of bioinformatics and has more than 17 years of experience in solving biological problems with the help of computers. At the University of Tartu she leads a research group interested in combining data from different omics experiments. They work with Estonian Genome Center data, but also collaborate internationally and make use of data available in public domain. With the help of bioinformatics they aim to identify causal genes for diseases and pinpoint markers that could be used to confirm or rule out diagnosis. Also, as a Deputy Head of Node of ELIXIR Estonia, she oversees the everyday actions of building and maintaining life science infrastructure in Estonia. The software development team led by her provides popular web based bioinformatics tools used by thousands of life scientists across the world.
Presentation and bio Longevity: Precise Prevention
20 MAY, 16:00
In a society inundated with data, our biological individuality is never seen in isolation. The path from health to sickness, and back again, creates trails that we would prefer to be as long and healthy as possible. On this digitised road map, we therefore take decisions that we would like to think are suitably informed at each crossroads. Preventing disease and increasing longevity thus becomes a game created in the digital universe and only afterwards is it regarded as a science in which new whys and wherefores are discovered. In this presentation, we will explain the importance of data and information that arrive in real time from the public health systems, showing the different trajectories from fitness to the pathology of cancer and highlighting the role played by artificial intelligence. The precision of the path to longevity derives from a pact, which is not always acknowledged and is rarely discussed, between our privacy and the ubiquity of the web. It is there that the sources of data and the driving forces of artificial intelligence that mark out this path for us are to be found, increasingly in the public arena.
Jonas Almeida is a permanent researcher at the National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI) in the United States of America, where he also holds the position of chief data scientist for the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG). Previously (2015-2018), he was a Professor of Biomedical Informatics, the director of the PhD course and the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the medical centre of the University of Stony Brook (State University of New York, Long Island). He was a Professor in the Department of Pathology of the University of Alabama, in Birmingham (2011-2014), a Professor of Bioinformatics and Applied Mathematics at the MD Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas, in Houston (2006-2010), and a Professor of Biostatics and Bioinformatics at the University of South Carolina (2001-2005). He began his academic career as an assistant professor at Lisbon Nova University, where he took his PhD in 1995 in the section of Biochemical Engineering. His work includes 163 scientific publications and the regular organisation of hackatons of biomedical data.