Ochoa named to MIT's Innovators Under 35 list

1/4/2020 Joseph Park, ECE ILLINOIS

Illinois ECE Assistant Professor Idoia Ochoa was named to the 2019 MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 list for her work with omics data.

Written by Joseph Park, ECE ILLINOIS

Idoia Ochoa-Alvarez
Idoia Ochoa-Alvarez
Illinois ECE Assistant Professor Idoia Ochoa-Alvarez was recently named to the 2019 MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 list for her contributions to biotechnology and medicine. According to the MIT Technology Review, the genomics industry is expected to require the greatest data processing capacity for storage, exchange, and analysis.

To aid in the management and compression of the files, Ochoa has developed "new digital formats that store, transmit, visualize, and analyze genome-related data. As part of her research, Ochoa proposed a solution to end the shortcomings of next generation sequencing technologies (NGS).

Ochoa's research consists of facilitating work with omics data, including its storage, processing, and analysis. She is part of a group of experts who are designing a new format for representing genomic data that would reduce the cost of storage and ease the sharing and analysis of the data.

Additionally, Ochoa is developing methods to improve the accuracy of the analyses performed on genomic data. Her research has the potential to help incorporate omic data into the clinical setting and towards personalized medicine. Even her students are working on extensions of her research.

For example, undergraduate student Qingxi Meng is working on a novel method for querying genomic annotation data on a compressed domain and PhD student Chuanyi Zhang is working on new methods for improving the accuracy of variant identification for both healthy and tumor samples. Finally, PhD students Mohit Goyal and Jianhao Peng are developing novel technologies for single-cell RNA-Seq data.

Tiina Hynninen, CEO of Livindas Oy and member of the Innovators Under 35 Europe 2019 jury, stated to the MIT Technology Review that Ochoa's project "has a great impact, shows ingenuity, is very timely, and will help the society of the future to improve decision making and medical treatments."

"I am very honored to be a recipient of the award and I am happy to be recognized internationally for my work," said Ochoa. Ochoa is also affiliated with the CSL.

Check out Ochoa's feature on the MIT Technology Review website for more information.  

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This story was published January 4, 2020.