Silveira Lab

 ePRS Cluster

Company profile

Silveira Lab is located at McGill University’s Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health and Douglas Research Centre. It was founded by Dr. Patricia Pelufo Silveira, who is affiliated to the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. Dr. Silveira’s research focuses on individual differences in responsivity to environmental adversity in childhood, creating and using new methods in Functional Genomics (especially the biologically- informed, expression-based polygenic scores or ePRS). To increase the use and scope of the ePRS, Dr. Silveira and colleagues are developing the business plan for a functional genomics service company, the ePRS Cluster aiming at

  1. Providing expertise on designing and deriving ePRS on demand,
  2. Making ePRS methodology available using an scalable Open Science approach, and
  3. Promoting knowledge transfer of the ePRS methodology.

Division: Silveira Lab - Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, McGill University
Industry: Industry - Services
Year: 2019

Student Team

Juan Carlos Rosa-Medina

Juan Carlos Rosa-Medina
Project Role:
Business Strategist
Education Background: B.BA., Business, University of Lima; MBA, Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business

Project description

Pain Points

  • Lack of knowledge of size of addressable genotyping services and educational market
  • Don’t know how to price the service

Solution Analysis

  • Excel cleanup and aggregation of results to get an organized set of potential leads
  • Excel analysis of potential prices to charge (genotyping services and training workshops)

Solution Build

  • Python notebook to extract relevant academic papers from which to extract potential client leads
  • Python notebook to extract number of citations per academic paper main author

Value Drivers

  • Number of research labs using limited or outdated genotyping techniques

Modeling & KPIs

  • Presence of relevant keywords in academic papers
  • Grants and citations per authors used for lead prioritization

Technical Architecture

  • Current: Python notebook to extract relevant academic papers
  • Future State: Use of IBM Watson for document extraction

UX/UI (Future State)

  • Recommended use of CRM software for business development, recommending some basic features to have

Partner Commentary

The main objective of Silveira Lab in creating the ePRS Cluster is to democratize the knowledge of the ePRS methodology across multiple practices through training, services, and publishing results within Open Science Platforms. For that, the ePRS Cluster needs to become self-sustainable as a service company. We are very fortunate to have received consultancy through the Master of Management in Analytics’ Community Capstone Project. Through this project, we obtained important support in developing our business plan. The student, Juan Carlos Rosa-Medina, and his colleague Richard Gao were very diligent and employed different techniques to answer our questions. Their project was successful in identifying the market size, value proposition and fair price of our initiative.

—Dr. Patricia Pelufo Silveira, Primary Investigator, Silveira Lab - Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health, McGill University

Student Commentary

Juan Carlos Rosa-Medina

I have been amazed by the range of real-world business issues I have been exposed to in the McGill MMA Program. This project opened my mind to the fact that analytics can be used at any stage of the go-to-market planning process, and that it could be leveraged by small or large companies in any industry.

As a former analytics consultant, I always looked for new opportunities to learn new business models and techniques. The collaboration with Silveira Lab gave me an opportunity to learn about an industry I had never considered before – the genomics industry.

Stepping away from the “classical” industries I used to serve made me view that the business analytics skills acquired at McGill can be used as a catalyst for greater good by democratizing scientific knowledge.

As a Business Strategist, I was able to sharpen my analytics translator skills and expand my use and understanding of techniques thanks to the constant interaction with the client. Since this was an experimental attempt to size a market and price services from unstructured data, we had to be very clear on our progress and change course when needed.

Finally, the help of the MMA Faculty was invaluable. The expert analytics consulting experience of professors helped me not only to prioritize what the client needed now, but also to go beyond and nurture a continuing relationship with a client. I feel proud that Silveira Lab is now able to integrate our solution into its business plan and take its first steps to reach out to pre-qualified leads.


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