Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie (KIT), Germany — Corinna Ernst of Cologne, Germany was awarded the First International BRCA Data Analysis Award on February 24, 2017, at a ceremony in the Castle of Karlsruhe in Baden, Germany. The Award was jointly conferred by the International Biometric Society (German Region, IBS-DR), the German Gesellschaft fur Klassifikation – Data Science Society (GfKl), the International Federation of Classification Societies (IFCS), the non-profit research and development organization HeritX (New Jersey and California, USA), and the German Consortium for Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
The BRCA Data Analysis Award recognizes and honors innovative scientific work in the area of statistics and data analysis that focuses on or can advance the field of inherited cancer prevention. The award seeks to attract early-career scientific talent to focus on inherited cancer prevention research. Millions of people live with inherited mutations in the BRCA genes and face an up to 90% risk of not only one but several types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and melanoma. Families facing these cancers urgently need a preventive therapy that keeps people healthy and whole.
An international panel of reviewers evaluated the submitted applications and awarded the prize to Corinna Ernst, a bioinformatician at the early stage of her career from Cologne who submitted a paper entitled “A generalized additive model framework for CNV detection on multi-gene panels.” The research developed an algorithm for identifying Copy Number Variations (CNVs), i.e., genetic rearrangements, that allow discovery of new risk genes beyond the well-known BRCA1/2 genes. The work resulted from analysis of data from Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) using generalized additive models. Former work by Corinna Ernst was devoted to the optimization of various algorithms for analyzing NGS data, the development of a data structure for the storage of pan-genomes, and the study of relapses of neuroblastomas.
The BRCA Data Analysis Award, combined with a prize sum of €1,000, was awarded to Corinna Ernst by Prof. Dr. Hans Kestler (Ulm) on February 24, 2017, during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of GfKl in the Castle of Karlsruhe (Baden, Germany). Ms. Ernst will present her scientific results to an international audience during the 15th Conference of the IFCS in Tokyo (Japan) in August 2017.