June 28, 2016
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have awarded a $97,956 supplemental “Big Data to Knowledge” (BD2K) grant to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to train predoctoral students in data-centric, biomedical science issues during summer 2016.
Michael R. Kosorok, PhD, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor and chair of biostatistics at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Gregory Forest, PhD, Grant Dahlstrom Distinguished Professor of mathematics in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, are co-principal investigators for the award.
The NIH BD2K in Biomedicine graduate training program was first awarded to UNC in May 2015. The award funds six trainees each year for five years and is open to all UNC doctoral students. Trainees are a multidisciplinary cohort, drawn evenly from the domains of biomedical sciences, computer science and informatics. Those who have completed the program are from the departments of applied physical science, biochemistry and biophysics, biostatistics, cell biology and physiology, chemistry, mathematics, nutrition and others.
Program leaders aim to prepare trainees to have a career-long relationship with Big Data, such that they develop new or apply current methodologies in a number of settings.
The supplemental summer grant will provide two months of training for 20 predoctoral trainees.
“One of our goals with the BD2K training program is to build a community of graduate students, faculty members and their research groups, across the UNC campus, all with the common thread of team-oriented approaches to data-intensive biomedicine,” said Kosorok. “With the summer program, we solicited projects anchored in a UNC biomedical lab, with a commitment to build trainee teams spanning the biomedical domain, statistical data analytics and predictive modeling.”
Kosorok reported that nearly all trainees have been placed within a project and that meetings focused on brainstorming about challenges and sharing of progress are underway.