Predoctoral Training Program in Biomedical Data Driven Discovery (BD3)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Biomedical Data Driven Discovery (BD3) Training Program at Northwestern University (NU) is a joint proposal that brings together Big Data educators and researchers from the Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (MEAS), the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS) and the School of Communication. The goal of BD3 is to create a truly multi-disciplinary data science training environment. In doing so, BD3 will encompass multiple departments and degree-programs. The proposal leverages three existing data-intensive doctoral programs-- the well-established and nationally recognized program in Data Analytics (DA) in MEAS, led by Diego Klabjan, and two innovative and growing programs led by Justin Starren, the Informatics track of the Driskill Graduate Program focusing on Bioinformatics and the Informatics track of the Health Sciences Integrated Program (HSIP) focusing on clinical and population informatics. Long before this RFA was proposed, Drs. Klabjan and Starren have been in discussions about ways to more closely align the two training programs and to increase the opportunities for Big Data training in the biomedical domain. This proposal represents the culmination of those extensive discussions. It brings together the biomedical Big Data and domain expertise across multiple departments of FSM with methodological expertise in computation, informatics, statistics, and mathematics. Success in data science requires mastery of three distinct skill sets: 1) an understanding of the target domain, 2) an understanding of the nature and structure of the data within that domain, and 3) a master of the computational and statistical techniques for manipulating and analyzing the data. This translates into a number of more specific competencies, including: deep Domain Knowledge in the target domain, Statistical Methods, Computer Programming, Ontologies, Databases, Text Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Data Mining, Analytics for Big Data, and Responsible Conduct of Research. BD3 will utilize a co-mentoring model, with each student having a domain mentor and a methodological mentor. Each student’s program will be based on an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Students will have many opportunities for both laboratory and industrial rotations through well-established programs at MEAS. Additional educational activities include: an annual retreat, departmental seminars and speakers, journal clubs, teaching experience, and presentations at national meetings. Trainees benefit from extensive institutional support for this program, such as; tuition supplements, stipend supplements, administrative support, the Writing Workshop for Graduate Students, the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence, the Management for Scientists and Engineers, nationally recognized mentor and mentee training programs, and formal training in Team Science.
Effective start/end date9/10/158/31/21


  • National Library of Medicine (5T32LM012203-05 REVISED)


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