Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics Expert to Direct Cancer Informatics Core

Dr. Ramana Davuluri
Ramana Davuluri, PhD

Ramana Davuluri, PhD, a distinguished investigator in bioinformatics and computational genomics, will join the Division of Health and Biomedical Informatics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine on February 12, 2014 as professor of Preventive Medicine and Neurological Surgery, and director of the Cancer Informatics Core at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

“The arrival of Dr. Davuluri will further strengthen the Cancer Informatics Core Facility that provides valuable bioinformatics and clinical trial informatics for investigators at the Lurie Cancer Center,” said Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD, interim director of the Lurie Cancer Center.  “We are excited that he is joining Northwestern, and look forward to his leadership.”

Dr. Davuluri’s interdisciplinary research is centered on developing statistically-rigorous data mining algorithms and informatics solutions, including those that promote an understanding of regulation and disregulation of genes at the isoform level.  His current work also seeks to develop clinically-useful diagnostic tools for identifying specific subsets of brain tumor patients and subsequently directing appropriate therapeutic interventions.  Dr. Davuluri has developed numerous bioinformatics software solutions for sequencing platforms.

“Dr. Davuluri will play an integral role in our continued growth in the area of bioinformatics and data science techniques relevant to cancer translational research,” said Justin Starren, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Health and Biomedical Informatics and the deputy director of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute.  “The recruitment of Dr. Davuluri was the result of a multi-year, nationwide effort.  In addition to advancing basic science, Dr. Davuluri’s work has the potential to improve the care of cancer patients at Northwestern Medicine® in the very near future.”

“Dr. Davuluri is a world class scientist and a welcome addition to our multi-disciplinary efforts in neuro-oncology,” said Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Northwestern University.  “We very much look forward to productive collaborations with him and his colleagues.”

A native of India, Davuluri began his career in bioinformatics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.  He then served as a tenured associate professor and head of the Bioinformatics Consulting Unit in the Human Cancer Genetics Program at The Ohio State University.  Most recently he was the Tobin Kestenbaum Family Professor, director of Computational Biology and associate director of Center for Systems and Computational Biology at The Wistar Institute.

“I am extremely honored to lead the Cancer Informatics Core, and feel privileged to join such a prestigious university and have the unique opportunity to work closely with accomplished leaders like Drs. Starren, Parsa and Platanias,” Davuluri said.  “Analysis of big data from cancer genomics, proteomics and clinical trials requires smart data analysts with good computer programming skills and sound statistical knowledge.  Without the right skills, researchers will end up finding patterns that mean nothing and missing those that are gold.  The core provides local expertise to develop and maintain state-of-the-art computational approaches for translating big data into clinically actionable patterns, and contribute to transforming basics science in practical benefits for cancer patients.”