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New doctoral track focuses on ‘big’ biomedical data science

Apr. 21, 2016, 9:39 AM

From left, Cynthia Gadd, Ph.D., MBA, Jeffrey Blume, Ph.D., and Bradley Malin, Ph.D., lead Vanderbilt’s new data science doctoral track, which will enroll its first students this fall. (photo by Joe Howell)

A new biomedical data science doctoral track at Vanderbilt, designed as an amalgam of biomedical informatics, biostatistics and computer science, is enrolling its first students for admission in the fall.

The Vanderbilt Big Biomedical Data Science Program, or BIDS, has its administrative home base in the Department of Biomedical Informatics.

BIDS is being established with the aid of a five-year, $1.5 million training grant from the National Institutes of Health (LM012412-01), under the research agency’s Big Data to Knowledge Initiative, known as BD2K. The grant will fund five years’ tuition, fees and stipends for up to six students, as well as development of a new data science course and student travel to participate in BD2K activities.

“The biomedical informatics program at Vanderbilt is renowned for its focus on investigating and solving real world problems,” said Bradley Malin, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Informatics and Computer Science, and vice chair for research in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. “Through BIDS, Vanderbilt will train the next generation of biomedical data science experts. These students will become leaders in a new and changing data landscape, which holds the potential to support unprecedented basic biomedical discoveries and more effective and efficient health care systems.”

BIDS will be jointly led by Malin, the program’s director, and co-directors Jeffrey Blume, Ph.D., associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Biostatistics, and Cynthia Gadd, Ph.D., MBA, professor and vice chair for education in the Department of Biomedical Informatics.

The following is an excerpt from the program description on Vanderbilt’s website.

“A confluence of technical, analytical and policy advancements have thrust the biomedical community into the big data science age. … The overarching objective of the Vanderbilt BIDS training program is to thoroughly prepare the future leaders of the biomedical community focused on infrastructure, software tool development and big data analytics.”

According to the NIH’s website, BD2K seeks to “maximize and accelerate the integration of big data and data science into biomedical research.”

For more information, go to the Department of Biomedical Informatics website.

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