October 2018 Seminar


Tuesday, October 9, 11:45am-1pm

A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200

Seminar Rooms ABC

View event photos.


Jenna Wiens: “AI for Health: Augmenting Clinical Care”
James Moon: “Toward Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy”


Jenna Wiens is a Morris Wellman Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning, data mining, and healthcare. She is particularly interested in time-series analysis and transfer/multitask learning. The overarching goal of her research agenda is to develop the computational methods needed to help organize, process, and transform patient data into actionable knowledge. Jenna received her PhD from MIT in 2014. In 2015, she was named in Forbes “30 under 30 in Science and Healthcare”; she received an NSF CAREER Award in 2016; and recently she was named to the MIT Tech Review‘s list of “Innovators Under 35.”

“AI for Health: Augmenting Clinical Care” Abstract:

Today, we are collecting an immense amount of health data both inside and outside of the hospital. While clinicians are studying ever more data about their patients, they are still ignoring the vast majority of it. Transforming these observational data into actionable knowledge is challenging due to a number of reasons, including the presence of confounders, missing context, and complex longitudinal relationships. At the same time, due to the high-stakes nature of healthcare, the field requires tools that are not only accurate, but also interpretable and robust. In this talk, I will present ongoing work focused on developing solutions to these challenges. In particular, I will show how clinical domain expertise can be used to help guide model training and selection.



James Moon is John Gideon Searle Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His translational research program aims to develop novel strategies for improving vaccines and immunotherapies. His work has led to two new biotech companies—Vedantra Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, MA) and EVOQ Therapeutics (Ann Arbor, MI)—that focus on clinical translation of new nano-vaccine technologies. Dr. Moon has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2018 Emerging Leader Award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, the 2017 Emerald Foundation Distinguished Investigator Award, the 2016 NSF CAREER Award, and the 2016 DOD-CDMRP Career Development Award. Dr. Moon received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD from Rice University. He completed his postdoctoral training at MIT (HHMI).

“Toward Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy” Abstract:

Recent innovations in DNA/RNA sequencing have allowed for the identification of patient-specific tumor neo-antigens, ushering in the new era of personalized cancer vaccines. Peptide vaccines in general may serve as an ideal platform for neo-antigen vaccines, but the therapeutic efficacy of peptide vaccines has been limited. Here, we present an alternative strategy, where preformed nanocarriers, with an established clinical manufacturing procedure and excellent safety profiles in humans, are readily formulated with neo-antigens to produce personalized cancer vaccines. These lipid-based nanodiscs elicit unprecedented levels of anti-tumor immune responses, exerting strong therapeutic efficacy in multiple murine tumor models, including colon carcinoma, melanoma, and HPV-induced tumors. Owning to the facile production process, robust therapeutic efficacy, and good safety profiles, our novel nano-vaccine technology offers a powerful and convenient platform for personalized cancer immunotherapy.