Joanne Luciano Resume

Printer-friendly version
Joanne S. Luciano
Contact Info
On the Web
Research Interests
Personal Info


Dr. Joanne Luciano is a Research Associate Professor at the Tetherless World Constellation of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York. Dr. Luciano is an experienced multi-disciplinary scientist and consultant who has played a leading role in the BioPathways Consortium, in the creation and development of BioPAX and the establishment of the W3C initiative in the Health Care and Life Sciences. She is co-developer of the OWL-based BIOPAX pathway ontology which has become the global standard for all pathway-related bio-research. She has made significant contributions to pathway modeling and the development of biomedical ontologies. She has detailed knowledge of tools and technologies, and extensive interactions with a multi-disciplinary multi-natinoal community. These provide her with the vision and contacts needed to lead multidisciplinary international projects. Of particular significance is her ability to effectively communicate with specialists in a wide range of disciplines (biology, medicine and computer science and lay people) that has enabled successful cross-disciplinary research.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tetherless World Constellation, Computer Science Department July 2010 - Present

Research Associate Professor (2010-present)

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL– Boston, Massachusetts 2001 - Present

Lecturer in Genetics (2005-2009) – Research; Church laboratory 2005-2009.

Research Fellow in Psychiatry, Consultant (1993-2005)

  • Joint appointment with Massachusetts General Hospital. Used statistical and advanced computational modeling to study predictors of outcome in large multi-year clinical trial of Fluoxetine (Prozac).

The MITRE Corporation– Bedford, Massachusetts 2007 - 2009

Multi-Disciplinary Systems Engineering Lead

  • Development of an application ontology for Influenza in collaboration with BioHealthBase and Gemina. The ontology integrates genomic and epidemiological data to support bio-forensics, influenza research, disease monitoring, and bio-security. It was developed using OBO-Edit according to OBO Foundry guidelines.
  • Research in Ontology Evaluation: Methods and Metrics

PREDICTIVE MEDICINE, INC. / ORCHARD STREET SOFTWARE – Belmont, Massachusetts 1988 - Present


Provided advanced technology and business solutions with a focus on Artificial Intelligence and Neural Network systems. Managed up to five personnel in completing projects for selected clients:

  • Advanced Biological Laboratories, SA, Luxemborg, Belgium - Intellectual Property Consultant.
  • Siderean Software, Inc. – Served as Life Science Consultant. Demonstrated the impact of Seamark semantic integration and navigation capabilities on the discovery phase of the drug development pipeline as well as in the business/IP sphere.
  • Pfizer, Inc. – Served as Knowledge Management Consultant. Assisted and advised Pfizer in the area of biological pathways and ontologies in order to identify the best synergies among biological pathway models, knowledge structures, text mining technologies, kinase science, and Pfizer's drug discovery process to develop the Pfizer Kinase Knowledge Base.
  • Beyond Genomics, Incorporated – Served as Knowledge Management Consultant. Identified synergies between biological pathway models and knowledge structures for scientific and intellectual property goals. Created methodology to facilitate and expedite scientific discovery and identify new areas for Intellectual Property development.
  • Viveca, Incorporated – Served as Information Architect Consultant. Designed solutions to streamline Viveca’s design and development processes, from initial customer contact and Web page content extraction through final delivery to customer. Examined process details that led to effective technical strategies while decreasing turnaround time and reducing errors.
  • Pharmacia & Upjohn – Analyzed Medicare claims data for evidence to support new market. Saved the client the substantial cost and risk associated with initiating clinical trials in new therapeutic area.
  • Genome Therapeutics Corporation – Adapted linkage analysis software for internal use and developed Web-based demonstration version of PathoGenome.
  • Eli Lilly & Company – Biostatistical Consultant and SAS Programmer for long-term Prozac study in collaboration with researchers at MGH, HMS, and the New York Psychiatric Institute..
  • Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Incorporated – Researched and developed computational methods in sequence and disease analysis that included user interface and database design, project management, HTML, PERL and OPS5 programming. Enabled superior access to disease information by researchers and identification of secreted proteins of interest that served as most viable drug candidates.

BioPAX 2002 - Present

Co-organizer, Community and BioPathways Consortium Liaison (Co-organizer 2002-2007)

BioPAX is an internationally accepted standard for the exchange of life science metadata, particularly biological pathway data. I played a leading role in the creation and development of this community-based initiative. My efforts resulted in the identification of sources of funding and led to the adoption of the standard through technical, organizational, outreach, fundraising and administrative activities.

  • Sought, wrote, and was awarded an unsolicited grant from the Department of Energy that was doubled in its second year to an overall total of $120,000.
  • Participated in the technical development of the BioPAX ontology, its integration into existing standards such as SBML and the conversion databases such as WIT, KEGG and EcoCyc.
  • Assembled a worldwide network of contributors to this emerging standard.

BIOPATHWAYS CONSORTIUM (BPC) – Boston, Massachusetts 2001 - Present

Co-Organizer/Steering Committee

Co-Organizer for the BPC, an organization fostering scientific development through the understanding of biological pathways. Responsible for writing proposals to fund Consortium activities.

  • Responsible for maintaining website ( facilitating worldwide communications among life sciences community. Negotiated with Web design firm that led to $6,000 savings.
  • Co-curated a pathway/genome database for Prochlorococcus marinus, photosynthetic marine bacteria in collaboration with researchers at Harvard Medical School, MIT and Stanford.

MOLECULAR MINING CORPORATION – Kingston, Ontario, Canada 2001 - 2002

Director of Business Development

Directed business initiatives for life science data mining company. Initiated and supported collaborations with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic clientele.

  • Spearheaded company drive for involvement in high-throughput analysis and pharma-biotech integration projects while expanding client offerings. Developed broad strategic concept for pharmaceutical partners.

3RD MILLENNIUM, INCORPORATED – Cambridge, Massachusetts 2000 - 2001

Senior Scientist, BioPathways

Developed NIST-supported next generation of integrated information infrastructure for pharmaceutical and biotech research.

  • Developed prototype hypothesis-driven visualization system for Huntington’s disease. Effectively researched and captured information for display of disease mechanisms and manifestations that served as research planning tool for biopathways.


Assistant Director, Bioinformatics

Position created following consulting role in statistical genetics.

  • Created vision and standards that drove bioinformatics operation and set up academic research alliance to utilize and develop novel approaches to drug target screening for genetics, functional genomics and pharmacogenomics.
  • Established and led 16-person multidisciplinary team that successfully completed GTC’s corporate-wide Y2K Readiness Program two months ahead of aggressive schedule.

LUCIANO & HILLER, INCORPORATED – Belmont, Massachusetts 1982 - 1988


Developed software and managed consultancy serving Greater Boston’s technology and business systems marketplace.

  • Lotus Development Corporation – Led strategic testing effort for Metro personal information manager product and automating compatibility testing for the Metro kernel.
  • Andrew’s Associates, Inc. – Designed and developed a natural language interface for Andrews Associates, Inc.’s prototype database and query system at the Personnel Placement Industry.
  • Brodie Associates – Created a natural language interface for Brodie Associates Lisp-based AI Toolkit.
  • The Boston Systems Office, Inc. Designed and implemented optimization methods into their C and Pascal cross-compiler product line.



  • Research Fellow – Psychiatry Department. Research in Outcome Prediction, Modeling Depression Recovery and Pharmacogenomics
    • Neural Systems Group (1996-1999)
    • Depression Research Program (1999-present)

BOSTON UNIVERSITY – Boston, Massachusetts

  • PhD in Cognitive and Neural Systems 1996 Dissertation – Neural Network Modeling of Unipolar Depression: Patterns of Recovery and Prediction of Outcome
    • Research Associate in Behavioral Pharmacology 1991-1992 Trained in electrophysiology to study the GABA receptor and Brain Stimulation Reward and Self Administration protocols to study the reward mechanism underlying the abuse of alcohol and cocaine.
    • Research Assistant (Volunteer) McLean Hospital - 1994-1996 Clinical research assistant to obtain background for dissertation work.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science 1987
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Cum Laude) 1982


  • 2009 Scholarship recipient: The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership for Non-Fiction Writer's Retreat, October 16-18, 2009; Ancramdale, NY
  • National Science Foundation Award recipient 2005-6 Computational Exploration of Molecules in the Context of Biological Pathway Networks
  • Method for Predicting the Therapeutic Outcome of a Treatment (Patent Number 6,317,731 – Issued 11/13/01)
  • Automated Treatment Selection Method (Patent Number 6,063,028 – Issued 5/16/00)
  • International Neural Network Society, International Society for Computational Biology, ACM, IEEE & IEEE Computer Society



  • Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, Lecturer (Research, Principal Investigator)
  • Manchester University UK, Visiting Honorary Research Fellow, Computer Science
  • Boston University, Metropolitan College, Computer Science Instructor
  • Harvard Medical School, Psychiatry Dept., Institute of Cybermedicine, (2000-2002).


  • Dean’s Advisory Board, Boston University Metropolitan College
  • Finance Committee, International Society for Computational Biology (2004)
  • Science Advisor, International Society for Computational Biology for Clinical Semantics in Health Care and Life Sciences (C-SHALS)


  • Conference Chair 2012 CSHALS Conference on Semantics for Healthcare and Life Sciences (C-SHALS) Feb 24-26 2012


    • BioPathways Consortium (on going since 2002)
    • 2011 CSHALS Conference on Semantics for Healthcare and Life Sciences (C-SHALS)Feb 23-25 2011
    • 2010 CSHALS Conference on Semantics for Healthcare and Life Sciences (C-SHALS)Feb 24-26 2010
    • 2009 ISWC Semantic Web Applications in Scientific Discourse (SWASD)
    • 2009 CSHALS Conference on Semantics for Healthcare and Life Sciences (C-SHALS)Feb 25-27 2009
    • 2008 CSHALS Conference on Semantics for Healthcare and Life Sciences (C-SHALS)Feb 2008
    • 2007 BioPAX (2002-2007)
    • 2007 WWW Health Care and Life Sciences Data Integration (Banff, Canada)
    • 2006 BioPAX-Manchester OWL Workshop April 4-8, U Manchester, School of Computer Science
    • 2006 ISWC First international Semantic Web in Health Care and the Life Sciences



    • Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB)
    • BioPathways Consortium (BPC), National Science Foundation (NSF)
    • Journal of Bioinformatics, Journal of Biomedical Informatics (JBI)
    • International Neural Network Society (INNS), Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB)
    • International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC)
    • Journal of Web Semantics. Briefings in Bioinformatics (BIB)


    HCLSIG - Semantic Web Health Care and Life Science Special Interest Group (HCLS, BioRDF, BioONT, TMO)

    2000 Neural Network Technical Committee (IEEE)


    My career in education started in 8th grade when my teacher Mr. Zarillo handed me the chalk and stepped aside giving me an opportunity to inspire my fellow students with mathematical concepts. Mr. Zarillo must have enjoyed the success I had with my fellow students as he allowed me to teach other classes in the same grade. I loved teaching. In junior high school, in addition to representing the school on the math team, I joined the Future Teacher's Club. I tutored my friends in algebra, some still tell stories about this today. In high school I supported my love of rebuilding a 1957 MGA as a math and English tutor.

    At Boston University, I worked in the Academic Computing Center as a terminal assistant (computer room consultant) and as a computer operator. Most, if not all, of the then computer operator's functions have since been automated. In those days, computer operators were, in effect, the computer's operating system. Operators controlled the allocation of computer resources and devices.

    Also at Boston University, I worked in the Mathematics Department (computer science then was in the math department) as a terminal assistant, a resource for other students on programming and using the academic computing facilities and utilities (email, editors, utilities).

    I was a course assistant for several computer science courses at Boston University Metropolitan College (MET). Most MET classes were in the evening and therefore did not conflict with my courses, which were during the day.

    My first "real job" was as a Systems Programmer at Wang Labs in Lowell, MA in January 1978. WANG Labs Dan Corwin was my first "boss." Dan founded [Lexikos]. We work together on BioPAX and Semantic Web activities.