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Tute Genomics appoints Dr. Mingfu Zhu as Director of Bioinformatics
Date:12/3/2013

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Dr. Mingfu Zhu, previously of the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation, has announced his new position with Tute Genomics as Director of Bioinformatics.  Dr. Zhu's extensive work with structural variation analysis of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data from whole genomes places Tute ahead of other analytic engines in applying structural variant knowledge for both research and clinical use.

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This sub-specialty of NGS analysis carries significant value for identifying many conditions where structural variants, such as copy number variations (CNVs), are important yet go unnoticed because most software tools are not able to recognize them.  CNVs are the variation of the number of copies of a particular segment in a given genome.  They vary between genomes and are influential in susceptibility to certain diseases. 

One such disease category where copy number variations are critical for identification is neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism.  Tute co-founder Dr. Kai Wang previously published CNV studies on various human diseases including autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, extreme obesity, Tourette syndrome, major depression, anorexia nervosa and others.  Both Dr. Wang and Tute CEO Dr. Reid Robison have also done collaborative work where they identified rare recurrent CNVs affecting glutamatergic neurotransmission genes that were overrepresented in certain childhood-onset neuropsychiatric conditions, such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Additionally, Dr. Wang is the creator of PennCNV, one of the most widely used tools (with over 600 citations) for the analysis of structural variation in genome-wide microarray data.

Dr. Zhu shares this interest in understanding how structural variation in human genomes affects disease susceptibility.  As the creator of one of the best all-around tools for determining structural variation, ERDS, which stands for estimation by read depth with single-nucleotide variants, he has helped numerous researchers pinpoint causal structural variants.  Tute's interpretation pipeline is one of only a small number of analytical tools designed to accommodate such findings, supporting the reading of structural variation by utilizing a unique ANNOVAR file format.  With Tute now being used by researchers in both the academic and private sector for analysis of conditions where copy number variations have significant impact, the team's expertise will enable Tute to open a new door in the pathway to disease recognition and discovery.

About Mingfu Zhu:

Dr. Mingfu Zhu leads the bioinformatics team at Tute Genomics. He is responsible for bioinformatics research and development leading to more accurate, robust and faster pipelines for analyzing and interpreting personal genomes. Dr. Zhu has extensive experience in analyzing large-scale genomic data, with specialized expertise in structural variation. Before joining Tute, Dr. Zhu was an Assistant Professor in the Center for Human Genome Variation at Duke University Medical Center. His research interests at Duke were in the multi-disciplinary field of computational genomics and statistical genetics. Dr. Zhu developed ERDS, a tool for the detection of copy number variations using next generation sequence data. He received postdoctoral training in bioinformatics at Duke University. Dr. Zhu obtained a Ph.D. in mathematics from Clemson University and a BS in mathematics from University of Science and Technology of China.

About Reid Robison:

Reid J. Robison, M.D., M.B.A. is CEO and co-founder of Tute Genomics.  Dr. Robison is a physician turned data scientist, with fellowship training in both neurodevelopmental genetics and bioinformatics. Dr. Robison was previously a faculty member at the University of Utah, where he co-directed a molecular genetics lab in the Department of Psychiatry, studying the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders using next-generation sequencing technology, and developing algorithms for high-throughput analysis of whole genome and exome data. Dr. Robison also has a proven track record of commercializing healthcare technology in the big data space, and is co-founder of Anolinx, a healthcare data analytics firm that was acquired by the Bennett Group in 2012.

About Kai Wang:

Dr. Kai Wang is a computational biologist and creator of a number of widely-used genomics software tools including ANNOVAR, which has been downloaded over 40,000 times and has over 450 citations. Dr. Wang is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Preventive Medicine at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, University of Southern California. He was trained as a molecular biologist at Peking University in China, and later obtained a Ph.D from the University of Washington with an emphasis in Computational Biology. He completed postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he developed PennCNV, a widely-used tool for analyzing copy number variants. His current research focuses on computational approaches to next-generation sequencing data, including whole genome annotation and utilizing machine-learning for prioritizing disease genes.  Dr. Wang has over 100 scientific publications to date.

About Tute Genomics:

Tute Genomics is a cloud-based clinical genome interpretation pipeline that utilizes the well-established ANNOVAR technology (written by Tute co-founder, Dr. Kai Wang) to analyze and annotate entire human genomes in a rapid and cost-effective way.  Tute also incorporates proprietary machine-learning algorithms to assist researchers with gene & biomarker discovery. Whole genome sequencing is transforming healthcare, and researchers and laboratories are getting flooded with next-generation sequencing data. However, the ability to infer biological insights and guide medical decision making lags behind significantly, and there is an urgent need for tools to analyze genetic variants from human genomes in research and in clinical settings. Tute Genomics is solving this problem with a robust, scalable, cloud-based pipeline for the analysis and interpretation of genomic data. To learn more about Tute Genomics, please visit www.tutegenomics.com.

Media Contact: Lynn Dakoulas, Tute Genomics, 8017104035, lynn@tutegenomics.com

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