City Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine Awarded NIH Grant for Big Data Training Program in Biomedical Informatics

A joint training program between City Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) of Cornell University was recently awarded a $1.2 million, four-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) training grant to educate and train undergraduate students in biomedical big data sciences and informatics. The City Tech-WCM Big Data Training Program in Biomedical Informatics (BD2BMI) is led by Evgenia Giannopoulou, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, City Tech, and Jyotishman Pathak, PhD, Frances & John L. Loeb Professor of Medical Informatics, Weill Cornell Medicine.

As the era of “Big Data” dawns on biomedical research, multiple types of biomedical data are being generated on an unprecedented scale. A 2012 report from the NIH recognized that the greatest challenge to leveraging the significant potentials of big data will be in educating and recruiting future computational data scientists with the background and experience to exploit big data opportunities.

“Today’s big data challenges on biomedicine demand education and hands-on training; City Tech and Cornell will work together to prepare the next generation of innovators and visionaries in the field of biomedical big data science,” said Professor Giannopoulou.

The considerable challenges of big data demand education and hands-on training that are currently insufficient. Equally importantly, recent data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) show that big data training programs across the U.S. lack diversity. To bridge this knowledge gap for the U.S. biomedical workforce in underrepresented minorities, City Tech and WCM will implement a training program—the City Tech-WCM Big Data Training Program in Biomedical Informatics (BD2BMI)—that will enhance diversity in biomedical data science by instructing and mentoring undergraduate students in the use of cutting edge big data methods in biomedical data sciences.

The goal is to provide educational and research training opportunities to students and to foster the development of new interdisciplinary research collaborations between faculty at City Tech and WCM in a shared mission to prepare the next generation of innovators and visionaries in the field of biomedical big data science.

BD2BMI is one of the few examples of innovative collaborations between New York City academic institutions aimed at providing educational and research training opportunities for underrepresented students in biomedical data science and cultivating new interdisciplinary research collaborations between faculty. BD2BMI will prepare the next generation of innovators and visionaries in the field of biomedical big data science and enhance diversity within the field by:

1) Enhancing research experiences for students in cutting-edge biomedical big data science, under the joint mentorship of City Tech and WCM faculty;

2) Establishing educational opportunities in big data science for students and faculty via curriculum development and co-curricular training activities that will incorporate big data methods and applications in biomedical sciences.

BD2BMI aims to elevate the competencies of City Tech student trainees from diverse underrepresented backgrounds as well as faculty, and provide them the necessary skills to further their career in biomedical data sciences.