Published 8/2/17 on UMCP CHIB

Two computational biologists at the University of Maryland have assumed leadership positions in the Center for Health-related Informatics and Bioimaging (CHIB), a unique cross-institutional collaboration that matches data-intensive biomedical problems to cutting-edge expertise in data science.

Mihai Pop(link is external), professor of computer science and interim director of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies(link is external) (UMIACS), is the new co-director of CHIB. Todd Treangen(link is external), a research scientist in UMIACS, is CHIB’s new assistant director.

As co-director, Pop will share senior leadership responsibilities with Owen White(link is external), a genomic expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine(link is external).

Launched in 2013, CHIB matches computing resources at the University of Maryland, College Park with clinical and biomedical expertise at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Interdisciplinary teams from both institutions—with administrative support, and in some cases, seed funding from CHIB—have advanced research and education in areas like the use of new visualization technologies in healthcarestudying diarrheal pathogens in young children from low-income countries, and training graduate students in network biology.

The driving force in much of the center’s work is the use of cutting-edge computing technologies to address grand challenges in genomic research, medical information management and precision medicine—and then translate those findings to practitioners focused on improving human health.

“We want to build on the success we’ve had, and continue to develop new tools and technologies that will have a positive health impact on people in the state of Maryland and beyond,” says Pop.

A recent round of funding from MPowering the State(link is external) will spur several new initiatives in CHIB.

One involves a series of MPower “summits”—joining CHIB experts with other researchers in the University of Maryland Medical System(link is external), other colleges and universities, and nearby federal scientists—in key areas like health data mobilization, personalized medicine and cancer, network analytics, and antibiotic resistance and pathogen detection.

“All of these will require input from a broad range of experts at both institutions—computer scientists, statisticians, physicians, epidemiologists, social science specialists, and more,” says Pop. “We’re looking forward to these new research partnerships and projects.”