The National Institutes of Health announced May 1 the inaugural award of $1 million to three U.S. universities to advance the NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, aimed at training the biomedical workforce to utilize biomedical big data more fully. At UNC, the initiative will unite 48 faculty members in 11 departments across four schools.
Dr. Michael Kosorok, W. R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor and chair of the biostatistics department at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will co-direct the program at UNC.
“We are thrilled to have this training opportunity in biomedical big data which involves many departments and programs across the university,” said Dr. Kosorok. “We anticipate that our inclusive, multidisciplinary approach will further solidify UNC’s national leadership in this area.”
UNC’s program will provide integrated training for graduate students in three scientific areas – biomedical science, computer science/informatics and mathematics/statistics. Students will be exposed to a comprehensive suite of courses, including newly developed six-week training modules that integrate all three domains with a focus on big data, and then will have summer internship opportunities in industry or within a collaborative group focused on big data.
“We’re excited to get the BD2K graduate program launched with our colleagues,” said UNC program co-director Dr. Greg Forest, Grant Dahlstrom Distinguished Professor of mathematics. “It will accelerate data science training and research collaborations anchored in biomedicine.”
At the end of the training, students will be equipped to develop, for the rest of their careers, new methods and tools for the analysis of big data in the context of biomedical science.
Columbia and University of California at Los Angeles are the other two grantees for the program.