Franz Och, Ph.D., Expert in Machine Learning and Machine Translation, Joins Human Longevity, Inc. as Chief Data Scientist
(LA JOLLA, CA) July 29, 2014—Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy, high performance human life span, today announced they have hired Franz Och, Ph.D., an expert in machine learning and machine translation as the company’s Chief Data Scientist. Och comes to HLI from Google where he was Distinguished Research Scientist and the Head of Google Translate. He will report directly to HLI Co-Founder and CEO, J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.
“One of the biggest challenges in medicine and science today and thus, one of HLI’s biggest challenges, is how to interpret the vast amount of biological data we are generating from sequencing individual genomes,” said Venter. “To make these data interpretable and clinically actionable will require new computational tools. Franz brings not only unquestionable talent in this area, but also a fresh perspective and a creative mind to tackle what has never before been attempted. We are pleased to have Franz join us in our quest to revolutionize healthcare,” he concluded.
HLI is building the world’s most comprehensive human genotype and phenotype database to tackle the diseases associated with aging-related human biological decline. Building on Och’s expertise in language translation, and using his skills in machine learning, he will be responsible for developing new computational methods to translate the human biological information in the forms of the whole human genome, microbiome, and protein sequencing data into the language of human health and disease using human phenotype data.
Och is currently recruiting and building a team of research scientists and software engineers who will be located in Mountain View, California.
“We’re going to need the best and brightest from the areas of computer science, machine learning and big data generation and interpretation as well as those from biology, genomics and bioinformatics to reach a new level of understanding of this massive database” said Och. “I look forward to working with Craig and the team at HLI to enhance our understanding of human biology, to better manage the healthy aging process and thus increase the healthy human lifespan,” he said.
Och will be working closely with Yaron Turpaz, Ph.D., MBA, HLI’s Chief Information Officer. Turpaz leads bioinformatics efforts at HLI. The new Mountain View facility headed by Och will complement the informatics program at HLI’s La Jolla facility, and the computing and informatics program and facility in Singapore headed by Turpaz.
Since 2004 Och has been a research scientist and manager leading Google’s Machine Translation Group. Och, who has been working on statistical machine translation since 1997, joined Google to research new ways by which Google could offer a much better machine translation system to their users, by employing an approach that uses massive amount of data. In just a few short years he and his team have revolutionized online translation. Now more than 80 different languages including Bengali, Basque, Swahili, Yiddish and Esperanto can be translated. Today there are more than 200 million active users on Google Translate and Och estimates that most of the translation done on the planet is done through Google’s system.
Before joining Google Och was a researcher in the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, working on DARPA projects related to language translation. He holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from RWTH Aachen, Germany.
About Human Longevity, Inc.
HLI, a privately held company headquartered in San Diego, CA was founded in 2013 by pioneers in the fields of genomics and stem cell therapy. Using advances in genomic sequencing, the human microbiome, proteomics, informatics, computing, and cell therapy technologies, HLI is building the world’s most comprehensive database of human genotypes and phenotypes as a basis for a variety of commercialization opportunities to help solve aging related disease and human biological decline. HLI will be licensing access to its database, and developing new diagnostics and therapeutics as part of their product offerings. For more information please visit, www.humanlongevity.com.