scientific method

Genomics and the Cloud Going Through “a Second Puberty,” says AWS’ Angel Pizarro

Angel Pizarro has watched as genomics and cloud computing have grown up together. Formerly a bioinformatics director at University of Pennsylvania, Angel is now the Technical Business Development Manager at Amazon Web Services.

At U Penn, Angel was part of the shift from setting up one’s own facility with expensive computer equipment for handling the rapid growth of omics data to using a third party service, such as AWS. He says that genomics and the cloud are both going through a "second puberty.” In today's show, Angel explains growing pains involved.

As storage and compute become a non-issue for bioinformaticians, Angel says that the science itself is changing. Questions can be answered more quickly with enormous parallel experimentation. And there are new algorithms being written, optimized for this “bottomless bucket” of compute and storage.

What are the issues for clients doing their "capacity planning," and what are some of the new interesting questions that Angel is hearing from AWS customers? Join us as we probe the future of the twin fields of genomics and cloud computing.

The Basic Biology Lab Goes into the Cloud: Brian Frezza, Emerald Therapeutics

Guest: Brian Frezza, Co-Founder, Co-CEO, Emerald Therapeutics

Bio and Contact Info

Chapters: (Advance the marker)

0:50 What is the Emerald Cloud Lab?

4:16 Does this impact the scientific method?

10:00 Pulling the labor, not the scientist out

14:20 Much more data detail

19:52 A chance to improve reproducibility

24:06 The tools are slowing us down

We knew it was coming. Everything else has been going that direction--that virtual realm that offers humanity such hope, affectionately referred to as The Cloud.

Brian Frezza is a young entrepreneur quite fresh out of grad school. Brian and his co-founder, D.J. Kleinbaum, went to Carnegie Mellon and Stanford. They liked to think about the big picture when they were in school. What could we do, what product, what company could we work on that would drastically--not just incrementally--change the world of drug and diagnostic discovery? they'd ask themselves.

Four years into their commercial adventure, they've released what they think will make that big change--to use the popular term, be a disruption.

"The Emerald Cloud Lab--think of it as a remote laboratory that you're controlling via the internet, as if you were standing in front of the instruments themselves when you run your experiments," says Brian at the outset of today's interview.

Brian carries on with a cool evenness, but this is quite a mouthful. What? A scientist can have access to a full laboratory to run one of about forty experiments without having to invest in the equipment, space, and labor?

Brian says the biggest challenge to putting a lab in the cloud, no doubt, was in coding the language for the automation. This is automation on a scale we've never seen before.

Presenting The Emerald Cloud Lab.

Editor's note to our audience: As a scientist what is your view of this? Is this the best thing ever, or is it too giant a step? Does this degrade the scientific method or better enable it? Please give your feedback in the comment section below.

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