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Generative machine learning to model cellular perturbations

AI for Science seminar with Mohammad Lotfollahi, Wellcome Sanger Institute.


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Profile picture for Dr. Mohammad Lotfollahi, Wellcome Sanger Institute.
Dr. Mohammad Lotfollahi, Wellcome Sanger Institute.

The on-site event will be followed by fika in the Analysen coffee area (fika from 16:00-16:30).


The field of cellular biology has long sought to understand the intricate mechanisms that govern cellular responses to various perturbations, be they chemical, physical, or biological. Traditional experimental approaches, while invaluable, often face limitations in scalability and throughput, especially when exploring the vast combinatorial space of potential cellular states. Enter generative machine learning that has shown exceptional promise in modelling complex biological systems. This talk will highlight recent successes, address the challenges and limitations of current models, and discuss the future direction of this exciting interdisciplinary field. Through examples of practical applications, we will illustrate the transformative potential of generative ML in advancing our understanding of cellular perturbations and in shaping the future of biomedical research.

About the speaker:

Dr. Lotfollahi recently completed his PhD in Computational Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Helmholtz Munich under the supervision of Fabian Theis. A member of ELLIS, Dr. Lotfollahi is director of machine learning research at Relation Therapeutics. Simultaneously, Mo is a scientist at Helmholtz Munich and an incoming faculty member at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Dr. Lotfollahi’s research is dedicated to developing AI/ML algorithms for biomedical data, with a particular focus on single-cell technologies for diagnostics, therapeutics, and drug discovery. Acknowledged for their contributions, Dr. Lotfollahi has received multiple awards, as evidenced by their exemplary achievements. Their work has been highlighted in various press and journals, showcasing the impact of their research. Dr. Lotfollahi has also garnered numerous fellowships, grants, and scholarships, including prestigious ones from Joachim Hertz, EMBL, and Meta. Beyond academic pursuits, Dr. Lotfollahi has served as a researcher, consultant, and advisor in biotechnology and ML/AI companies such as Cellarity, Meta AI, SANTA ANA Bio, and Relation Therapeutics.