Prof. Maria Brbic

CIS – “Get to know your neighbors” Seminar Series

“Machine learning methods for biomedical discovery”

Prof. Maria Brbic, Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Machine Learning for Biomedical Discovery Lab

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 3:15 – 4:15pm (CET) | Hybrid or on-site INF 328

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Machine learning methods for biomedical discovery

Biomedical data poses multiple hard challenges that break conventional machine learning (ML) assumptions. Biomedical data are heterogeneous, originate from different experimental conditions, and collecting high-quality labeled datasets is often impossible. In this talk, I will highlight the need to transcend our prevalent machine learning paradigm and methods to enable them to become the driving force of new scientific discoveries. I will present machine learning methods that have the ability to bridge heterogeneity of individual biological datasets by transferring knowledge across datasets with an unique ability to discover novel, previously uncharacterized phenomena. I will discuss the biological findings enabled by these methods and the conceptual shift they bring in annotating comprehensive single-cell atlas datasets.

Maria Brbic ( is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and, by courtesy, of Life Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL). She develops new machine learning methods and applies them to advance biology and biomedicine. Her methods have been used by global cell atlas consortia efforts aiming to create reference maps of all cell types with the potential to transform biomedicine, including the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP) and Fly Cell Atlas consortium. Prior to joining the EPFL faculty in 2022, Maria was a  postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, Department of Computer Science where she worked with Jure Leskovec and was a member of  the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub at Stanford. Maria received her Ph.D. from University of Zagreb in 2019 while also researching at Stanford University as a Fulbright Scholar and University of Tokyo. She was named a rising star in EECS by MIT in 2021.