May 4, 2015

The Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Training Program will unite 48 faculty mentors in 11 departments within four schools at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Dr. Michael Kosorok

Michael Kosorok, PhD, 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 with Greg Forest, PhD, Grant Dahlstrom Distinguished Professor in the UNC Department of Mathematics.

The program will be made possible by a training grant award from the National Institutes of Health’s BD2K Initiative. In 2015, three United States universities will receive funding for initiatives that support the overarching BD2K goal of training the biomedical workforce to fully utilize biomedical big data.

“We are thrilled to have this training opportunity in biomedical big data which involves many departments and programs across the university,” said 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. Students will then have the opportunity to participate in a summer internship in either industry or a collaborative group focused on big data.

“We’re excited to get the BD2K graduate program launched with our colleagues,” Forest said. “It will accelerate data science training and research collaborations anchored in biomedicine.”

At the end of this training program, students will be poised and equipped for the remainder of their careers to develop new methods and tools for the analysis of big data in the context of biomedical science.

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or

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