TGen Associate Professor is Keynote Speaker April 29 at AZ Bio Expo in Phoenix

Dr. Matt Huentelman discusses innovative Alzheimer’s research through engaging online social media test called MindCrowd

Dr. Matt Huentelman, an Associate Professor of Neurogenomics at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), is the keynote speaker at the 2015 AZBio Expo.

Billed as “Arizona’s premier bioscience event,” this year’s Expo, sponsored by the Arizona BioIndustry Association, will present “Focus on Clinical Trials,” an all-day event, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 29 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N. Third St.

At the luncheon keynote address scheduled at noon, Dr. Huentelman will discuss how TGen’s MindCrowd program is a prime example of using online crowdsourcing to recruit voluntary individuals for scientific studies and clinical research.

At http://www.MindCrowd.org, participants take a simple and fun 10-minute test that measures their reaction time and word-association memory. More than 53,000 people have taken the test, already making it one of the largest such scientific studies of its kind. The goal is to have 1 million participants, thereby examining a highly statistically significant population.

“The concept is that, through the use of the Internet, we can reach out and recruit voluntary individuals — as well as collect data — which we then can use to expand on those individuals whose data we study in the lab and in the clinic,” said Dr. Huentelman, who is Division Head of TGen’s Neurobehavioral Research Unit. “MindCrowd likely will enable us to vastly improve the applicability of our data.”

At TGen, Dr. Huentelman oversees research programs focused on sensory disorders, including hearing and vision loss, and on aging and age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the genetics of learning and memory, highlighted by the MindCrowd project.

Dr. Huentelman also is co-director of TGen’s Dorrance Center for Rare Childhood Disorders, which uses genomic sequencing — spelling out the billions of pieces of genetic information in each individual’s DNA — to investigate uncommon, and often previously undiagnosed, neurologic problems among children.

Also featured at the 2015 AZBio Expo are talks by: Dr. Mark Slater, Vice President for Research at HonorHealth in Scottsdale; and Dr. Glen Weiss, Director of Clinical Research at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, Ariz.

Dr. Huentelman and Dr. Weiss were both selected in 2013 by the Phoenix Business Journal for its annual “40 Under 40” awards, which recognize 40 local up-and-coming professionals under 40 years old.

“Arizona’s bioscience industry is at the forefront of efforts to solve some of medicine’s most pressing challenges,” said Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association. “This year’s speakers and panelists at the AZBio Expo are all leaders in their fields and will provide new insights for the business leaders, elected officials, clinicians, patients, and researchers who are coming together to learn more about this critical mile marker along the road from discovery to development to delivery.”

For more information about the Expo, visit: http://www.azbio.org.

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