ICT Infrastructure for Datadriven Innovation

Alia Zaka, Assistant Project Manager in BigMed and Innovation Adviser at Sykehuspartner, with Silvija Seres at LørnTech.

How do we sequence a DNA-genome? Do we understand the relationship between genes and disease after having sequenced the entire human genome back in 2001? In this episode, Alia and Silvija discuss the importance of established infrastructure and processes that facilitate innovation in precision medicine, as well as a faster implementation of innovative solutions that can be used in the clinic.

Follow this link to listen to the podcast!

Learnings from the episode

  • Sequencing
  • Biology
  • Genome reading
  • Privacy policy
  • Infrastructure

This article is from an episode of #Lørn, made in collaboration with LørnTech.

Quick Q and A with Alia

Title and company:
Assistant Project Manager in BigMed and Innovation Consultant at Sykehuspartner.

Education and hobby? 
MSc in Bioinformatics and BEng in Chemistry with specialization in Biotechnology. Indian dance.

Who are you and how did you get into innovation / research?
I have always been interested in how things are interconnected. Especially, how people to a large degree are subject to their own individual biology encoded in our DNA-sequence. I quickly realized that what we were doing in the laboratory had a limited value unless we had good IT-tools to understand the results and turn this into knowledge for public benefit.  

What is the most important you do at work?
I am employed as a part of a more focused effort to support environments in research and innovation at hospitals.

What is your focus in technology / innovation?
I spend most of my time on the BigMed-project, wherein we collaborate with the RIF-programme to build a joint ICT-platform that can facilitate innovation in precision medicine.

Why do you find it exciting? 
We work on realizing the political and national ambitions on an operative level and are paving the way for new technology that will change the way we work within medicine. 

What controversies do you find the most interesting?
On one side, we have the requirement of centralization, consolidation and operational security. This does not always go along with the ambition of innovation and a quick implementation of innovative solutions for clinical use.

Your own, relevant projects over the last year?
The BigMed-project.

Your other, favorite examples of similar projects internationally and nationally?
Genomics England and datalake in Canada.   

What do you think is relevant knowledge for the future?

  • How we can work more agile in larger, heavier IT-organizations with responsibility for critical security systems.
  • Development of good standards and protocols for information exchange.
  • New ways of working together with the industry

What do we do uniquely well in Norway in relation to this subject?
We are very good at privacy, as well as doing things on our own. At the same time we need to allow for more collaboration on the development of good ICT-infrastructure and we must have the ability to trust private parties on an equal footing as the ones that are public.

Favorite quote?
“Keep calm and carry on». 

Most important point from our conversation?
It is important to establish an infrastructure and processes that facilitate innovation within precision medicine, as well as a faster implementation of the innovative solutions for clinical utilization.

Recommended literature / videos about your professional field?

Food for Thought

« We still need to develop solid standards and protocols for information exchange, so that we do not become dependent on specific suppliers or one-system-solutions. “

Alia Zaka

Ass. Project Manager BIGMED Project


+47 451 82 212

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