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How Aces in Big Data Play to San Diego’s Strong Suit in Big Biology

Xconomy San Diego — 

Tech and software startups in San Diego have had a substantial recovery in recent years, aided by an expanding ecosystem of incubators and accelerators, co-working spaces, university organizations, and a new generation of investors.

Nevertheless, Silicon Valley exerts a kind of gravitational pull on many local tech startups, often by offering better deal terms if startups relocate to the Bay Area and higher salaries for technically skilled employees. What can San Diego do about it? Think outside the box.

We’ve organized a special half-day forum on Torrey Pines Mesa on March 31, called Big Data Meets Big Biology, to highlight how some tech entrepreneurs are taking advantage of San Diego’s strength in the life sciences. We’re bringing together leading experts in genomics, bioinformatics, and analytics (along with VCs and startup CEOs) to lay out the Big Biology roadmap—and chart some of the roadblocks that represent opportunities for innovation.

The current list of confirmed speakers are:

Ilkay Altintas, Chief Data Science Officer, UCSD San Diego Supercomputer Center

Francis deSouza, President, Illumina

Lucian Iancovici, Senior Investment Manager, Qualcomm Life Fund

Kim Kamdar, Partner, Domain Associates

Stephen Kingsmore, President and CEO, Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute

Rob Knight, Professor of Biomedical Sciences & Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation, UC San Diego

Franz Och, Chief Data Scientist, Human Longevity

Nicholas Schork, Professor and Director of Human Biology, J. Craig Venter Institute

Pieter van Rooyen, President and CEO, Edico Genome

Some topics we’ll explore:

—By some estimates, as many as 2 billion human genomes could be sequenced over the next nine years, generating data that would far exceed the data output expected of other “Big Data” domains, such as Twitter and YouTube. What kind of computing resources will be needed to manage that much data?

—Rapid genome sequencing represents the best hope for diagnosing critically ill newborns, so what are the gaps and challenges in pediatric genomic medicine?

—How do venture capital investors view the prospects for tech startups in the life sciences? What types of innovation are needed in such fields as genomics, brain science, and digital health?

We will soon update our program with additional speakers, and other details. In the meantime, tickets are available here, and we hope to see you all on March 31.

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