Helix Group

The Helix Group at Stanford is directed by Dr. Russ Altman, and focuses on the creation and application of computational tools to solve problems in biology and medicine. Current application projects include the study of structure-function relationships in macromolecular structure, understanding the structure and folding of RNA molecules, and analyzing the relationship of genotype and phenotype, particularly with respect to the response to drugs. Techniques used include knowledge representation, database design, machine learning, natural language processing, physics-based simulation and graph-based modeling/analysis.

Our History

The Helix research group at Stanford is led by Russ Altman, who has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1992. From 1984-1988, the Helix Group was led by Bruce Buchanan in the Department of Computer Science, as part of the Knowledge Systems Laboratory (KSL). Russ did his PhD in Bruce's lab 1984-1989, and during this time the Helix Group was housed at 701 Welch Road, Building C. Bruce moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 1988, and the Helix Group at Stanford hibernated for a while. In 1992, Russ joined the Department of Medicine, and he took the Helix group name to honor Bruce. The group was initially located physically in the Medical School Office Building (MSOB), within the Division of General Internal Medicine, and became part of the Stanford Medical Informatics (SMI) division of the Department of Medicine when the SMI was formed in 1994. In 2001, Russ moved his primary appointment to the Department of Genetics, and the Helix Group thus became part of this department. With the completion of the Clark Center in 2003, and the renovation of space in Genetics, the Helix Group found its next home: the second floor of the Clark South Building, and the third floor of the Lane building in Genetics. The PharmGKB group migrated to California Avenue from Lane in April 2010 and stayed there until December 2013. Most recently, the entire group has been re-united in the Shriram Center, 2nd floor where we enjoy spectacular space and view of campus.

Our Research

We are interested in using data at all scales to understand the drug response. We are interested in drugs acting alone and in combination. At the molecular level, we study protein 3D structure and chemical interactions. At the cellular level, we study expression and cellular interaction networks. At the organism level, we study the human response to medications in clinical and research setting. Finally, we leverage population-level data to look for large-scale trends in drug response.

For more information, please visit the Project page.

Thinking about joining us? Let us know!