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VUMC’s Capra, Bastarache set for Jan. 30 Cutting-Edge Discovery Lecture

Jan. 22, 2020, 1:05 PM


by Leigh MacMillan

The intersection of genetics and electronic health records will be discussed by two Vanderbilt University researchers during a Cutting-Edge Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Jan. 30. The lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

The speakers and their topics are:

  • Tony Capra, PhD, associate professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Informatics, “My ancestor was a Neanderthal. Should I see a doctor?” and
  • Lisa Bastarache, MS, research assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics, “How much more can we explain with genetics? Phenotype patterns and the undiagnosed patient.”

Capra and his team use computer science and statistics to address problems in genetics, evolution and medicine. The group pioneered the analysis of electronic health record data in evolutionary genomics and demonstrated that interbreeding between Neanderthals and human ancestors influenced diverse traits in modern human populations.

Capra received his doctoral degree in computer science from Princeton University and completed postdoctoral training at the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California, San Francisco.

Bastarache’s research focuses on characterizing the phenotypes (traits) in electronic health records, with a particular interest in identifying genetic diseases currently under-diagnosed in the clinic.

She assisted in the development of phenome-wide association studies (PheWAS) and recently developed a method to use phenotype risk scores to detect Mendelian disease patterns in electronic health record data. Bastarache received her MS from the University of Chicago.

Part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series, the talks are sponsored by the Offices of the Executive Vice President for Research and the Dean of Basic Sciences in the School of Medicine.

For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to

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