Stephen Larson

Stephen Larson
One Mind for Research
United States

Speaker of Workshop 3

Will talk about: Applying hierarchical modeling principles to MS Research

Bio sketch:

Stephen Larson, Founder & CEO of MetaCell, is an expert on the intersection between computer technology and biological systems and is interested in how computer systems can help us to understand fundamental principles of life.  He currently also serves as the Chief Information Officer of One Mind for Research, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating brain disease by transforming the healthcare research system through public-private partnerships.  He has worked as a professional software engineer for a major New York City investment bank, co-developed a patent, presented at more than two dozen forums, published in academic journals such as Frontiers in Neuroscience and Nature, and has had his work featured in the New York Times, Wired, Discover, and  His diverse educational background includes a bachelor of science and master of engineering from MIT in computer science as well as a Ph.D in neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego.

Talk abstract:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that damages myelin sheaths around the axons of neurons. Although much effort has been invested in understanding the cellular processes, lipids, and proteins putatively involved in MS, there is currently no cure. A lack of understanding of how fundamental processes interact to give rise to MS phenotypes is the greatest challenge we face in making progress towards a cure.

We live in an information age and are deluged by data generated by many different individual studies. However, our ability to integrate this information into complex holistic models that enable deep hypothesis generation is still lacking. Recently, the first major whole cell in silico model that predicts phenotype from genotype was developed in the open source (Karr et al., 2012). This model includes a comprehensive set of mechanisms of cellular activity. Although their target organism was Mycoplasma genitalium, a microorganism with a small fraction of the number of human genes, the basic cellular processes in this organism are largely conserved in other animals. Thus, this effort has provided an important foundation for future in silico predictive models.

In this session we will review the Karr model as a foundation for modeling MS, and discuss what methods need to be applied to move forward.