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Gerontomics: Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions

Gerontomics: Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions 2016-2021
Acronym: Gerontomics
Project director: Robi Tacutu
External website: full link

Starting 02.09.2016, the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy is implementing the project “Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions”, co-funded through European Fund for Regional Development, in accordance with the funding contract signed by the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research. The total funding for the project is 8.524.757,50 lei, of which 8.502.557,50 lei represent non-reimbursable funding. The project’s duration is 48 months.

The aging of the population (i.e., the increase in average lifespan) is one of the major biomedical problems, challenging us nationally and also internationally. This increase in lifespan, which is mostly due to improvements in the healthcare system and is to be applauded, does not necessarily guarantee healthy aging and an increase in healthspan.

By integrating multiple aging models (from different species and various experimental models), which capture holistically the differences between the „normal” and „unbalanced” states of the biologic system, the project aims to analyse with an improved accuracy the mechanisms that lie behind aging. Such an approach is promising for the understanding of the multiple facets of aging, including ways to extend healthspan, by minimizing the statistical noise intrinsic to any individual screening.

From a technological point of view, the employed methods in this project (integrative multi-models, large-scale data analysis, network-based analysis methods, deep neural nets) are modern and represent the state-of-the-art in the field. The project is computationally intensive and will result in the development of new algorithms, statistical metrics and in the application of AI and machine learning methods to biological problems. By doing a holistic analysis of genomics, transcriptomics, epigennomics and GWAS datasets from humans and model organisms the project has the applicative aim to enhance our understanding of the biology of aging, with the final goal to create an integrative, multi-omics prediction platform for prioritization of gerontological interventions.

Destined mainly for research organisations, but also for pharmaceutical companies focused on aging research, we expect that the final product of this project will help reduce research costs (both financial and time-related), encourage aging research and channel experimental gerontological studies (in vitro or with animal models) towards a higher efficiency. Overall, the project will contribute directly by generating fundamental knowledge in aging research. From this point of view, both cost reduction in gerontology and generating new hypotheses about aging are areas of great interest for the „Healthy aging, lifestyle and public health” direction, one of the current priorities of the healthcare system. In particular, the study of aging will contribute to the development of preventive therapies, which target lifespan extension, and more importantly healthspan (defined as the active, healthy and productive period in a person’s life). Both objectives have the potential to greatly impact the life quality in our society, and in particular for the elderly.

Robi Tacutu, Ph.D.
Robi Tacutu, Ph.D.

Group leader

A thorough, analytical and curiosity-driven scientist, with a multidisciplinary background in biology and computer science, Robi received his BSc in computer science from the University Politehnica Bucharest, and his MSc in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Bucharest. He has a long-term commitment and interest in the field of biogerontology (since 2005) and received his PhD in 2013 from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in the lab of Prof. Vadim Fraifeld. His thesis was on an ageing-related topic: studying the relationships between aging and age-related diseases with the use of bioinformatics and network biology approaches, and More...

Alexandra Voinea, Mrs.
Alexandra Voinea, Mrs.

PhD student, Bioinformatics research assistant

Alexandra is a bioinformatics researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry, focussing on developing large screen analysis pipelines and automated tools for data and dataset annotation. She is also a PHD candidate at Univers More...

Anton Yurievich Kulaga, M.Phil.
Anton Yurievich Kulaga, M.Phil.

Bioinformatics research assistant

Anton has a formal background in international management and economics (Kyiv National Economic University, 2003 - 2008, M.A. with honors). Being passionate about programming since high school, he worked for many years as More...

Catalin-Florentin Ion
Catalin-Florentin Ion

Technician, Front-end developer

With a B.Sc. in Communication Sciences, Catalin joined the Computational Biology of Aging Group in order to aesthetically shape all of our web resources and interactions with the outside work. Aside from his formal educati More...

Constantina Filipciuc, Mrs.
Constantina Filipciuc, Mrs.

Project Manager

Without managerial help, our projects would surely fail, being swamped at the first sight of bureaucracy. Since Constantina (Tatiana for us) joined the Computational Biology of Aging Group, we have been able to properly fo More...

Costin Chiru, Ph.D.
Costin Chiru, Ph.D.

PhD. Eng. Costin-Gabriel Chiru (200+ citations, h-index 8) is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers from University Politehnica of Bucharest. In the past, he worked as a Teaching Assistan More...

Dan Mihaila, Mr.
Dan Mihaila, Mr.

Research assistant, Web developer

Dan Mihaila is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Dan is currently working in Systems Biology of Aging in the Bioinformatics & Structural Biochemistry.

Dmitri Toren
Dmitri Toren

Assistant researcher

Dmitri is a bioinformatics researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry, focusing on curation for aging-related data, analysis of large screen datasets, dataset annotation and network-based analyses. He is also a Ph.D. cand More...

Eugen Ursu, Mr.
Eugen Ursu, Mr.

Junior Bioinformatician

Eugen Ursu is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Eugen is currently working in Systems Biology of Aging in the Bioinformatics & Structural Biochemistry.

Gabriela Bunu, Mrs.
Gabriela Bunu, Mrs.

PhD student, Bioinformatics research assistant

Gabriela is a bioinformatics researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry, focussing on curation for aging-related data, analysis of large screen datasets and network-based analyses. She has a multidisciplinary background, More...

Ioan Valentin Matei, M.D., Ph.D.
Ioan Valentin Matei, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Researcher

Ioan has a background in regenerative medicine, cell therapies, stem cell science and diabetes research. He has worked extensively on endocrine pancreatic cell differentiation, starting with his Ph.D. at the Nippon Dental More...

Laurentiu Spiridon, Dr.
Laurentiu Spiridon, Dr.

Laurentiu Spiridon is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Laurentiu is currently working in Bioinformatics & Structural Biochemistry in the Bioinformatics & Structural Biochemistry.

Simona Ghenea, Dr.
Simona Ghenea, Dr.

Researcher

Simona Ghenea is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Simona is currently working in Molecular Cell Biology in the Molecular Cell Biology.

Teodora Bucaciuc
Teodora Bucaciuc

Teodora Bucaciuc is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Teodora is currently working in Systems Biology of Aging in the Bioinformatics & Structural Biochemistry.

Vlad Constantinescu, Mr.
Vlad Constantinescu, Mr.

PhD student, Machine learning research assistant

Vlad is a senior software engineer (with more than 12 years experience), who has been involved in commercial projects for various partners in the EU, USA, Canada, and having a variety of roles in design, engineering and re More...