News Release: Teaching

Dec. 8,  2010

Biomedical Informatics is New Emory PhD Option

Potential doctoral students will now be able to choose a new Biomedical Informatics track at Emory University beginning in fall 2011. The new program will address a critical need for graduate study and research in this emerging field and will be a key component of Emory’s rapidly growing academic presence in biomedical informatics and computational life sciences.

Biomedical informatics is a multi-disciplinary field involving the collection, management, analysis and integration of data used for biomedical research and healthcare delivery. This field addresses use of information systems to improve care of individual patients, to improve performance of health care systems and to accelerate progress of leading edge biomedical research. Advances in biomedical informatics are having an increasingly profound impact on patient care, medical education and health research.

This innovative program will attract students from diverse backgrounds such as engineering, medicine and life sciences, but who share a common interest in advancing patient care, medical education, public health, and biomedical and clinical research.

“This program is a landmark for Emory and an unprecedented opportunity for Emory to become a leader in training the next generation of bioinformatics and biomedical informatics researchers. The new track will build on and accelerate the synergy at Emory recently created by numerous multidisciplinary programs in informatics,” says Joel Saltz, MD, PhD. Saltz is director of the Emory Center for Comprehensive Informatics, Emory Healthcare’s Chief Medical Information Officer, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar.

With the recruitment of Saltz in 2008, the Emory Center for Comprehensive Informatics was established to fuel scientific discovery in health and medicine and to empower more precise and scientifically informed decision making in patient care. The Center fosters collaborative projects between software system researchers and scientific research groups in clinical and translational research, biomedical and imaging informatics, high performance computing and Grid computing.

The Computational and Life Science Strategic Initiative is another pivotal inter-departmental Emory program that encompasses interdisciplinary research that spans computer science, physical science, life science and biomedical research. In addition, planning for a new biomedical informatics department is underway within Emory School of Medicine, and the Department of Biostatistics in the Rollins School of Public Health has expanded to become the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics.

“Emory University has emphasized interdisciplinary science as a cornerstone of future growth. This new PhD track in biomedical informatics addresses a critical need in a key interdisciplinary focus area that includes training, research and education,” says Vaidy Sunderam, PhD, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and director of the Computational and Life Sciences Strategic Initiative.

“The training program through this concentration will complement existing PhD programs in the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering, and offers opportunities for collaboration across many areas in the University.

For more information about the new Biomedical Informatics Track, visit the CCI website, or contact James Lu, director of graduate studies, Mathematics and Computer Science Department, jlu@mathcs.emory.edu, 404-712-8638.

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