Our group specializes in integrated omics and clinical data science. We use this expertise to study human variation, and develop molecular insights into disease risk prediction, surveillance and intervention. Such an approach is highly useful in targeting complex diseases like obesity and mental illness that are currently affecting millions across the globe. Our projects cover molecular phenotyping of chronic diseases in different stages of life-course (pediatric to adults to elderly), with a special focus on Asian populations as they are underrepresented across many biomedical databases, thereby limiting the potential of precision medicine in nearly 60% of the global population. We work in collaboration with eminent Singaporean cohorts (GUSTO, S-PRESTO, ATTRaCT & PRISM), health clusters, public sector and national platforms (eg. National Precision Medicine SG10K-Health study) to enhance the translational potential of our findings. In addition to the local research landscape, we work closely with the R&D of top nutrition and probiotics companies.Combining our learnings from omics and clinical data science, we have been using the multi-dimensional data to develop mobile applications that can enhance personalized healthcare experience. These apps can be powered by next generation diagnostic tests developed through precision medicine research and electronic health records to provide a holistic and an up-to-date assessment of an individual’s health journey. These tools can not only provide an actionable intervention roadmap for clinicians but can also increase the scientific literacy of individuals to make better health choices. Beyond health apps, our experience in multi-omics data analytics has led to development of open-source analytics tools (eg. Gene Environment Methylation tool - GEM), cell type reference panels for infant epigenetic studies, and omics databases such as iMOM-db and iDAD_db that cover molecular phenotypes of ethnic variation (eQTLs and meQTLs) and diet-exposure (sperm sncRNA). Link to Karnani lab tools, databases and resources. https://karnanilab.com
Karnani Neerja is a molecular epidemiologist and clinical data scientist with 20 years of experience working with academia, industry and national platforms. She started her research career at University of Virginia, USA, where she contributed to the first functional annotation draft of the human genome (ENCODE consortium). She moved to Singapore in 2013 to join A* STAR’s Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS). As the Systems Biology lead at SICS, she developed the multi-omics roadmap for Singapore’s National Birth (GUSTO) and Pre-conception (S-PRESTO) cohorts and identified biomarkers of metabolic and mental health adversities in expecting mothers and their offspring. These findings have been patented and licensed by prominent nutrition industries and are being translated into future interventions. She has also contributed to the research landscape and scientific vision of these cohorts by serving on their executive committees for over 6 years. Beyond the developmental and pregnancy cohorts, she is involved in Singapore National Precision Medicine (NPM) program’s SG10K-Health study and serves on its science and data access committees. To advance her interest in population health analysis and to connect it with the real-world data, she joined A*STAR’s Bioinformatics Institute (BII) in April 2021 as the Head of Clinical Data Engagement. Her team is developing omics based nextgen mobile applications that can provide patient health journey and actionable intervention roadmap for clinicians. Her contributions to the biomedical informatics field were recently highlighted by GovInsider in its special report on ‘Women in GovTech 2021’.
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