- Keynote Speaker
Cases of Informatics Efforts to Support COVID-19 Decision Making in Korea
Insung Ahn, Ph.D.
Principal researcher, Korea Institute of Science & Technology Information, Korea Professor, University of Science and Technology, Applied Artificial Intelligence major, Korea Adjunct Researcher, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, Convergence Research Center for Novel Virus, Korea Committee member, KCDC Infectious Disease Research Forum, Ministry of Public Health, Korea
AbstractSince the COVID-19 officially reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019, it has been causing great fear and loss to countries around the world so far. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, known as the pathogen of COVID-19, had completely different characteristics from other known coronaviruses, so it was very difficult to establish the policies against it. In the case of Korea, as a neighboring country to China, the spread of COVID-19 occurred very quickly along with Thailand and Japan. In this presentation, I would like to talk about the role that informatics should play during the outbreak of an unknown disease pandemic like COVID-19. According to the experience of COVID-19 over the past two years, a new disease pandemic can be divided into three major stages. The first step is to recognize which of the many minor diseases become a pandemic. In this step, it is necessary to obtain the characteristics of the unknown disease as quickly as possible from very limited information. The second stage is when countries around the world implement various response policies including lock-down, school closing, gathering limitation, etc. Finally, the third stage is the emergence of numerous mutated viruses due to the phenomenon of immune evasion. In this keynote, I will talk about the efforts of the Korean government in each stage of the pandemic described above from an informatics perspective. I will also discuss what kind of cooperation between countries is needed to effectively deal with the post-COVID-19.
BiographyDr. Insung Ahn is a Principal researcher at KISTI in Korea. She received her B.D. and M.D. from the Department of Animal Science, and Ph.D. from the Department of Biotechnology in Korea University, in 1994, 1996, and 2002. In 2007, she got her second Ph.D. from Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health due to her special interest in public health. In 2002, Dr. Ahn joined the Bioinformatics Center at KISTI, a government-funded IT institute in Korea. There, she developed various technologies to use supercomputers in the field of infectious disease research, and since 2016, she has been a group leader of the spread prevention team in the Infectious Disease Convergence Research Project, which was launched in cooperation with nine top government-funded institutes in Korea. She has also been teaching big data and artificial intelligence to students at the University of Science and Technology since 2015. Currently, based on her experiences in biology, health sciences and supercomputers, she is providing various advisory activities to various ministries, including the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Science and ICT, and the Ministry of Interior and Safety for the development and planning of future technologies in the health and medical field in Korea.