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Dr. Kate Beard-Tisdale

Dr. Kate Beard-Tisdale
Professor of Spatial Information Science and Engineering
Director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Maine

Professor Kate Beard-Tisdale

Professor Kate Beard-Tisdale

Better understanding of the interaction between cancer genes and the environment is the goal of a research project launched by the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health and two of the leading research institutions in the state — the University of Maine and The Jackson Laboratory. At the heart of the initiative is what researchers hope is a new cancer-fighting tool, the Biobank of Maine, to explore the relationship between the disease and its geographic, demographic, health and environmental variables. The biobank has two core components — a cancer tissue repository managed by the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health, and a complex geographic information system (GIS) database known as the Maine Cancer Geographic Information System or MeCancerGIS, developed by Jackson Lab bioinformatics scientist Carol Bult and UMaine spatial information scientist Kate Beard-Tisdale. Maine Cancer GIS will map incidences of cancer and provide tools to investigate interactions with environmental, socioeconomic and demographic factors. Beard-Tisdale’s other research involves sensor informatics — the interpretation, analysis, storage and retrieval of information from sensor networks including the detection, visualization and exploration of “events” that can be extracted from sensor data. She has been working with oceanographers to detect, visualize and explore marine-related events extracted from sensor data from the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System, and is currently collaborating with a company to develop sensor informatics technologies to aid in Maine emergency response planning and operations.