Cory L. Strope, PhD, has joined Aperiomics as a new Bioinformatic Scientist in one of 50 positions nationwide that is funded through a special National Science Foundation initiative.
The Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship serves entrepreneurial companies who have received funding through the Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. According to the NSF, this fellowship is intended to assist these companies in attracting “top scientific and technological talent at a fraction of the usual cost” while also providing “postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented groups” the opportunity to “work for at least a year outside an academic setting, contributing to cutting-edge research aimed at promoting scientific excellence and strengthening our nation’s technological prowess.” The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) administers the program.
Dr. Strope holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska in Computer Science with a specialty in Bioinformatics; he received his MS from the same university in Computer Science with a focus on Machine Learning. He has co-authored 10 publications and 11 presentations and posters. As his background in computer science deepened, he found himself increasingly drawn to applications, especially in the biomedical field.
His interest began with comparative biology and the statistical application of evolution to bio sequences and later on the way bioinformatics centered on genomics. That led him to the area of computational toxicology, where he began dealing with big data and how to maximize its value. Following the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he examined the spread of toxins, including carcinogens, to fish populations.
His work on this project made it a personal priority to consider all the data collected instead of “cherry picking” only those data that pertained to certain issues. To use a fishing analogy, he saw the value of casting a wide net to learn what all might be present, instead of fishing with a single hook to search for a specific target. To proceed otherwise seemed a waste of potentially valuable and enlightening data.
He sees the Aperiomics approach as especially appealing since the company uses Bayesian statistics in its analytical process rather than using strictly empirical data as several leading methods do. “Now it’s as if the restraints are off and I’m excited that I can do something new and different,” he notes. “Now I finally get to work deeply with big data and bioinformatics.” His goal is to optimize the innovative Aperiomics technology to make it even easier to understand and more interactive and accessible than competing programs in the marketplace that are difficult to use, hard to install, are system specific and time consuming.
Aperiomics CEO Crystal Icenhour, PhD, is eager to welcome Dr. Strope to the Aperiomics team – “It is exciting to continue to build Aperiomics’ team! We have such important work ahead of us and we are thrilled to have Cory join us. NSF continues to provide significant value for us as we move through our early stages – this support is invaluable.”. As a former Board Chair of the National Postdoctoral Association, she will be an ideal mentor for her new team member.
Based in Sterling, VA, Aperiomics was founded in October 2013 as a spinoff from the Computational Biology Institute at George Washington University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Sterling. The company combines genomics and informatics in an innovative way to produce faster and more accurate results than culture-based or even other molecular-based diagnostic approaches.
From a single test, Aperiomics can simultaneously test for all pathogens whether bacteria, virus, fungus or parasite. The sample can be tissue, plant, animal, or environmental. Based on its unique process that capitalizes on high-throughput Next-generation sequencing and advanced Bayesian statistics, Aperiomics can not only find a “needle in a haystack” but can also reveal that a “needle” is lurking there – even if it is a formerly unknown pathogen. This effective system translates into improved human and animal health, reduced risk to public health, and significant health care cost savings.
Recently, Aperiomics announced its second National Science Foundation Award in a year. With this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant, the company’s NSF funding through a total of three grants has now reached nearly a million dollars. In addition to support from the National Science Foundation’s SBIR and iCORP programs, Aperiomics has also received funding from the Center for Innovative Technologies of Herndon, VA, and from private investments.
For more information, please visit www.aperiomics.com or look for the company on LinkedIn, Twitter and AngelList.