Personalised Healthcare: Big Data and Technologies for Tailored Therapies and Prevention

Thursday, May 17th 2018

Auditorium SG1, EPFL

16:30 – 19:50 (GMT)

Auditorium SG1, EPFL

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What is personalised healthcare? And why does the world need it?

How do we improve treatments and diagnostics with personalised approaches?

Is there such a thing as “knowing too much” about yourself?


As Sir William Osler noted in the late 19th century “[there is] great variability among individuals”. Although this statement was merely more than an observation at the time it has, over the subsequent century, become the basic concept upon which personalised treatments are based. Traditional treatment plan does not have anything to do with the patient as an individual – it is identical for everyone around the world with the same disease. It is too often a trial and error approach as patients try several treatments in case one does not work, leading to huge risks for patients. Personalised or precision medicine combines clinical knowledge, advanced diagnostic techniques and data analysis to provide tailor-made, more effective prevention and treatment strategies for individuals.

The 4th Annual Conference this year introduces the next generation researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs with different facets of personalised medicine. Together with scientists, physicians, engineers, ethicists and entrepreneurs, we aim at discussing the challenges that modern medicine confronts and highlight the ongoing revolution and importance of personalised and digital health. How can consideration of factors such as genetics, ecosystems (microbes and toxins), behaviour and lifestyle improve standard healthcare systems? What are the risks and benefits of personalised healthcare? How do we protect our data? How do we deal and process “big data”? What are the examples today of innovations which are already making significant differences for patients? Join us in Auditorium SG1 at EPFL if you want to get the answers for these questions and for many other.




16:30 - 17:10

State of the Art of Personalised Medicine

17:10 - 18:10

Digital Personalised Medicine – Importance, Benefits and Risks

18:10 - 18:40

Coffee break, booth space

18:40 - 19:50

Innovation towards Personalised Prevention, Diagnostics and Treatments 

19:50 - onwards

Light apéro dinner, networking and booth space


Didier Trono, M.D., completed a clinical training in pathology, internal medicine and infectious diseases in Geneva and at Massachusetts General Hospital before performing post-doctoral work with David Baltimore at MIT’s Whitehead Institute. In 1990, he moved to the Salk Institute to launch a center for AIDS research. From 1997 to 2004, he was at the University of Geneva before joining the EPFL as dean of its newly launched School of Life Sciences, a position he held for eight years. He now steers the Health 2030 Initiative, a joint venture of the EPFL, the Universities and hospitals of Geneva, Bern and Lausanne to foster the advent of personalized health in Switzerland, working in close collaboration with other national and international partners.

Didier Trono’s research has long gravitated around interactions between viruses and their hosts and the development of tools for gene therapy. This led him to epigenetics, where his work on mobile genetic elements and their controllers is providing new leads for precision medicine.

Emmanouil (Manolis) Dermitzakis is currently the Director of the Health 2030 Genome Center and Professor of Genetics in the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development in the University of Geneva Medical School. He is a member of the Executive Boards of Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) and the Institute of Genetics and Genomics in Geneva (iGE3). He is also a member of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, and is an affiliated Faculty member at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens in Greece.

He obtained his B.Sc. in 1995 and M.Sc. in 1997 in Biology from the University of Crete (Greece) and his PhD in 2001 from the Pennsylvania State University in the USA, studying the evolutionary biology and population genetics of regulatory DNA in mammals and Drosophila. His post-doctoral work was at the University of Geneva Medical School, focusing on comparative genome analysis and the functional characterization of conserved non-genic elements. He became an Investigator and Senior Investigator in 2014. His current research focuses on the genetic basis of cellular phenotypes and complex traits. He has authored and co-authored more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and many of them in journals such as Nature, Science and Nature Genetics. His research is supported by the Louis-Jeantet Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the European Commission, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is also the recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) grant.

Valérie Barbié has been trained as an engineer in computer sciences, in France and in the United States. After a few years as informatician at the National Scientific Research Center (CNRS) in France, she joined the phamaceutical industry as a bioinformatician. During 12 years in this industry, she has been working in fundamental research, in pre-clinical then clinical development, in the field of biomarkers and personalized medicine. In 2015 Valérie has joined the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), where she is currently leading the Clinical Bioinformatics group, which objectives are to harmonize hospitals practices in the area of –omics data analyses for diagnosis, to develop with those hospitals specific bioinformatics tools for those analyses, and to promote training and general public information.

Jean-Pierre Hubaux is a full professor at EPFL. Through his research, he contributes to laying the foundations and developing the tools for protecting privacy in tomorrow’s hyper-connected world. He has pioneered the areas of privacy and security in mobile/wireless networks and in genomics.

He leads the ETH-funded project, Data Protection in Personalized Health. He held visiting positions at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and at UC Berkeley. He is one of the seven commissioners of the Swiss FCC and a member of the “Information Security Task Force”, set up by the Swiss federal government. He is a Fellow of both IEEE (2008) and ACM (2010). He is among the most cited researchers in privacy protection and in information security.

Laura received her Master’s degrees from EPFL and Ecole Centrale de Nantes in 2015, with a focus on materials for medical applications. After a first position in the supply chain department at Johnson & Johnson, she joined the CARD Team as a Biomedical Engineer in January 2017.
Together with a team of motivated engineers and researchers, they are specialised in 3D planning & patient-specific instrumentation for complex orthopaedic surgeries.
Their location on the Balgrist University Hospital Campus provides a stimulating environment where they can observe, develop, test, and then innovate hand in hand with experienced orthopaedic surgeons. The resulting product, called MyOsteotomy, enables the surgeons to precisely perform highly complex osteotomies which would have been extremely difficult or almost impossible in a conventional setup, opening a new door in the field of corrective osteotomies.

Matteo Lai is co-founder and CEO of Empatica, a human data analytics company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Milan, Italy. Empatica has developed the world’s smallest and most accurate wearable sensor and become the world’s first FDA approved smart watch for use in Neurology. Matteo studied Engineering and trained as an Architect, holds a Double MSc degree in Architecture and a Master in Innovation Management.

Nathalie Brandenberg is Co-founder and COO of SUN bioscience, an EPFL spin-off active in the industrial production of stem cell cultures for precision medicine. She holds a BSc/MSc/PhD in Bioengineering and Biotechnology from EPFL, having spent two years during her studies as a researcher in Japan. She is now developing a novel screening methodology for Cystic Fibrosis on human intestinal organoids for precision medicine in the Clinics. She has experience in areas such as biofabrication, biomaterial development, microfluidics and developmental biology. During her career, she co-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals, amongst others in Advanced Materials and Science and supervised 5 semester and master students. In 2016, Nathalie, together with her co-founder Sylke Hoehnel, was named to Forbes’ inaugural 30 Under 30 Europe list in the category Science and Health Care. Nathalie is an active member of Soroptimist Switzerland, working on improving access to education and work for underprivileged women and children.

After finishing his PhD degree in Bioinformatics at Biozentrum, University of Basel, Saeed joined Felix Naef’s as a postdoc at EPFL. During his PhD and postdoc, he worked on developing statistical methods to better understanding circadian gene expression regulation. Two years ago, he joined SOPHiA GENETICS as Bioinformatician where he develops computational pipelines for analyzing genomics data with clinical applications. He’s mainly focused on using RNA for the detection of genomic translocations such as fusion genes and other clinically relevant variants. Having spent two years at SOPHiA GENETICS, he has implemented several RNA pipelines that are routinely used by clinicians in different countries.

Fabien is an Scientific Leader with over 10 years of experience in the development of innovative products based on nanotechnologies in biotech and medtech companies. Prior to joining Abionic, he worked at Cytos Biotechnology as Team Leader in Preclinical Vaccine Development and studied the molecular mechanisms of lymphocyte activation at the University of Lausanne, from which he holds a Ph. D. Passionate about innovation arising from interdisciplinary research, Fabien strives to develop disruptive solutions that meet clinicians’ needs in order to improve patients' health outcomes globally.


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