Author: Sheryl Rosen

Laubenbacher Named Editor-in-Chief of Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

Reinhard LaubenbacherDr. Reinhard Laubenbacher of UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for Genomic Medicine is one of the newly named editors-in-chief for the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, the official journal of the Society for Mathematical Biology.

The other editor-in-chief is Dr. Alan Hastings of the University of California, Davis.

The Bulletin of Mathematical Biology has long been a premier publication for the dissemination of research findings at the interface of mathematics and biology.

“The mathematical sciences are rapidly becoming a key enabling technology for the life sciences and medicine,” said Laubenbacher. “I am very excited to be in a position to help create the best possible publishing infrastructure to facilitate this. I am honored to continue the long tradition of the Bulletin as a premier outlet for research in quantitative biology.”

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Posted in CQM

Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher of UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for Genomic Medicine Has Been Named a 2015 AAAS Fellow

Reinhard Laubenbacher of UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for Genomic Medicine has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. As part of the Mathematics Section, Laubenbacher was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to construction and analysis in systems biology, based on computational algebra, discrete mathematics, and algebraic geometry.

“The invitation to join such a distinguished group of scientists is a tremendous personal honor,” Laubenbacher says. “I also see it as a recognition of the great value that mathematics brings to the life sciences at a time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity.”

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Posted in CQM

New Appointments: Thomas Woodruff, Ph.D.-Director of Health Economics

TCW Head Shot Nov 2014Thomas Woodruff is director of the Healthcare Policy & Benefit Services, Division of the Office of the Connecticut State Comptroller. The Division is responsible for investment policy and administration of the state’s $4.5 billion dollar defined contribution retirement plans as well as state’s employee and retiree medical, dental, and pharmacy benefit programs for 210,000 employees, retirees, and their family members. This year, Dr. Woodruff has been a member of the State’s Steering Committee for a federally sponsored State Innovation Model initiative that is developing a state-wide plan for healthcare delivery and payment reform. Dr. Woodruff’s research focuses on the study of the optimum use of healthcare services for the improvement of total population health.

Prior to joining state service in June of 2004, Dr. Woodruff had over 25 years of experience in employee benefits, management, research, insurance, employment policy, investment, collective bargaining and pension plan product development, legislation, and regulation. Dr. Woodruff was the executive director of the President’s Commission on Pension Policy during the Carter administration, a visiting professor at Cornell University, executive director of the foundation-supported Commission on College Retirement and the CEO of his own consulting firm. Dr. Woodruff has three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Economics, Planning, and Management.

New Appointments: Ronald Preston, Ph.D. – Director of Health Policy

Preston, Ronald 2014 JGelineau #20

Ron Preston specializes in science policy and the coordination with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) necessary for states to enhance and sometimes to preserve critical health and human services. He is currently UConn’s liaison to the State Innovation Model (SIM) initiative, a member of the SIM core workgroup and has been the facilitator for SIM workforce initiatives. He is also UConn Health’s lead for eConsult and for the collaboration between UConn and CT’s Department of Social Services (Medicaid). He has a faculty appointment in UConn Health’s Department of Community Medicine as well as the Center for Quantitative Medicine. From 1991 through 2002, Dr. Preston was the associate regional administrator for Medicaid and State Operations responsible in New England for federal oversight of Medicaid and the survey and certification of Medicare and Medicaid providers. For the next three years, Dr. Preston was the Massachusetts’ Secretary of Health and Human Services. During his tenure, he restructured seventeen state agencies, met the budget crisis of the last recession without a reduction in critical services, and designed and negotiated the 1115 waiver that is the mainspring of Massachusetts’ universal coverage reforms. Dr. Preston has worked with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth Medical School on building collaborations with states to enhance the administration of Medicaid and the delivery of mental health services. While at CMS, Dr. Preston participated in designing and negotiating all of the New England state’s Medicaid waivers, including those that are the foundations for the Vermont Health Access Plan (VHAP), MassHealth and RIte Care. Prior to CMS, Dr. Preston worked for the first military base closing commission, was staff director for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (1 year), was a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education (3 years), and a senior staff member of the U. S. Senate Committee on Labor & Human Resources (7 years).

CQM Faculty Outreach to Students at Lewis Mills High School

Two faculty members at CQM, Thomas Agresta, M.D., MBI and Paola Vera-Licona, Ph.D., participated at the Lewis Mills Math and Science Career Day on Wednesday, December 3. Students at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, CT were invited to spend time with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professionals who talked about their college majors, career paths and current positions in their fields. The day was designed to give attendants a sampling of different areas of study and careers that they may pursue.

CQM Researcher Awarded $13M State Contract

Congratulations to Dr. Minakshi Tikoo, on a multi-year, $13 million contract with the Connecticut Department of Social Services in the area of biomedical informatics and health information technology. As part of this award, she and her staff will:

  1. Build an HIT infrastructure for exchange of secure patient information;
  2. Facilitate the development of an HIT Strategic and Operational Plan for the State;
  3. Assist in the implementation of the Medicaid EHR incentive program;
  4. Participate in the Planning and Demonstration Grant for Testing Experience and Functional Tools in Community-Based Long Term Services and Supports (TEFT); and
  5. Serve as the Director of Business Intelligence and Shared Analytics, a new initiative at the Department to exploit “big data”, and the Health and Human Services Health Information Technology Coordinator for the state.

Seeking Postdoctoral Fellows in Bioinformatics and Computational Systems Biology

The Center for Quantitative Medicine is recruiting several postdoctoral fellows to pursue research in bioinformatics and computational systems biology with a particular focus on algorithm development and computational modeling of cellular processes, as well as applications of quantitative methods to biomedicine. Positions are available in the Laubenbacher, Mendes, and Vera-Licona research groups. Learn more about these exciting postdoctoral fellow positions in our employment opportunities page.

Paper by CQM Authors Noted as BMC Systems Biology Editor’s Pick, Highly Accessed

Figure Comparison between the true IRMA network and the networks inferred by our algorithm
The experiment measured the expression level of 5 genes after a shift from galactose-raffinose- to glucose-containing medium. a) The true Yeast Synthetic Network; b) The inferred static network from the Switch ON data set; c) The inferred static network from the Switch OFF data set. Solid gray edges represent inferred interactions that are not present in the real network, or that have the wrong direction (false positives), and dotted gray lines represent false negatives.

A new paper by Dr. M. Paola Vera-Licona and Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher entitled “An algebra-based method for inferring gene regulatory networks” published in BMC Systems Biology has been noted as an Editor’s pick. It’s also ranked as a highly accessed article. The paper, found in BMC Systems Biology 2014, 8:37, describes a new gene regulatory network inference method based on polynomial dynamical systems incorporates time-resolved gene expression data and existing causal information and into its model inference and uses and evolutionary algorithm for parameter estimation. Congratulations Dr. Vera-Licona and Laubenbacher!  Check out the paper at

Paola Vera-Licona, Abdul Jarrah, Luis David Garcia-Puente, John McGee, Reinhard Laubenbacher. An algebra-based method for inferring gene regulatory networks. BMC Syst Biol. 2014; 8: 37. Published online 2014 March 26. doi: 10.1186/1752-0509-8-37.

Download a full text PDF version of An algebra-based method for inferring gene regulatory networks.

Informatics and Data Analytics Short Course

We are pleased to offer a new Health Informatics Short Course on June 26, 2014 which examines informatics and data analytics for clinical and translational research. We are now accepting registrations from unior and senior researchers, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, research assistants and associates, and clinicians who conduct clinical or translational research or who are interested in health informatics. This intensive short course examines the unique characteristics of clinical and life sciences data including the analytic principles, methods and tools for translating health data and information into actionable knowledge for improved health care. The course is presented and cosponsored by the Center for Quantitative Medicine and the CICATS Division of Biomedical Informatics. Learn more at