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Peter L. Elkin, MD

New funding allows the University at Buffalo to “play a key role in developing tomorrow’s research leaders in biomedical informatics,” says Peter L. Elkin, MD.

New Grant Will Enhance, Expand Biomedical Informatics Training

Published August 15, 2017

The Department of Biomedical Informatics has received a five-year, $2.5 million grant — awarded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) — that will train a new cadre of researchers skilled at developing informatics innovations.

“With this training grant award and our fellowship, UB is now in the top 10 percent of medical schools with respect to biomedical informatics.”
Professor and chair of biomedical informatics

“Biomedical informatics is the field that will provide the infrastructure necessary to allow scientists to perform translational and clinical genomic research more efficiently,” says Peter L. Elkin, MD, professor and chair of biomedical informatics.

“The NLM grant puts the department at the forefront of this rapidly changing field,” he notes.

Training Designed to Meet Need for More Investigators

The grant supports doctoral and postdoctoral training programs for research careers in biomedical informatics and data science.

The programs are designed to meet the growing need for investigators trained in biomedical computing, data science and related fields with applications in health care clinical informatics, translational bioinformatics and clinical research informatics.

Over the five years of the grant, the department will be able to train as many as 15 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in biomedical informatics.

“With this training grant award and our fellowship, UB is now in the top 10 percent of medical schools with respect to biomedical informatics,” emphasizes Elkin, who will direct the new training program.

He, along with faculty in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, will focus the training on three major areas:

  • clinical informatics, including socio-technical and human-centered design, workflow analysis and cybersecurity
  • translational bioinformatics, including database management, pharmacogenomics and predictive modeling
  • clinical research informatics, including a big data science training program, statistical machine learning and data mining

Playing Key Role in Developing Research Leaders

Personalized medicine, tracking of deadly epidemics and new insights into drug side effects are just a few of the ways that biomedical informatics is helping enhance medical research and clinical care.

Big data science holds the promise of revolutionizing how health care data are used to provide better care for patients.

The new funding “will allow our department to play a key role in developing tomorrow’s research leaders in biomedical informatics,” says Elkin, who also is director of the informatics core of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Trainees Also Benefit from VA, NIH Program

Elkin adds that trainees in the new program will benefit from UB’s existing Big Data-Scientist Training Enhancement Program (BD-STEP), funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The UB program was one of just six sites funded nationally in 2015.

Using clinical and other health data to understand disease and wellness — as well as the best treatment and prevention options for individual patients — is critical for improving care, and BD-STEP complements these efforts by aiming to train a new generation of “hybrid” clinical scientists.

BD-STEP draws on the expertise of these data scientists-in-training to facilitate the execution of large-scale system changes in clinical care to expeditiously improve patient outcomes.