Alexis Battle will become the new director of the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare on September 1. An associate professor in biomedical engineering with secondary appointments in computer science and the department of genetic medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Battle specializes in unlocking the secrets and function of the human genome by analyzing large-scale genomic sequencing data. Her research focuses on machine learning and developing statistical methods to examine how genetic differences between individuals contribute to differences in health, from cellular-level changes to disease outcomes.
Battle’s strengths underscore many of the Whiting School and the Malone Center’s top priorities, including the role that data and machine learning will play in improving the human healthspan and the importance of translating discoveries for the benefit of society. Her vision for the Malone Center involves looking at human health from the perspective of large-scale data to make it clinically applicable to translation through precision medicine. In her role as director, she will provide the interface between the Malone Center and the Johns Hopkins Precision Medicine initiative.
Battle and her research team recently have developed new methods in personal genomics for evaluating and predicting rare genetic variants that may impact an individual’s health—work that could significantly improve our ability to diagnose rare diseases. Her current research spans from modeling how genes work together in interconnected pathways and how genetics interact with the environment to how these processes evolve over time. Her goal is to use genetic and multi-modal data to guide the understanding and treatment of diseases ranging from autism to cardiovascular disease.
Battle was a 2016 Searle Scholar, a 2019 Microsoft Investigator Fellow, and is a leading member of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Consortium. She is an author of 64 articles in publications including Nature, Science, eLife, Circulation, American Journal of Human Genetics, Genome Biology, Genome Research, and PLOS Genetics, along with seven patents. She also has received significant recognition from JHU, including JHU’s Catalyst Award, Discovery Award, and the 2022 President’s Frontier Award.