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MIDAS Seminar Series Presents: Stan Ahalt – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

December 21, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Dr. Stan Ahalt

Professor, Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Director, RENCI (Renaissance Computing Institute), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


The Changing Landscape of Biomedical Data Collections


The landscape of biomedical data is incredibly complex, rich, and rapidly changing, especially as we navigate the influx of data from the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more data is moving to the cloud, both existing and newly generated, with multiple cloud providers adding to the complexity. The data includes Electronic Health Records (EHRs), genomic data, and imaging/sensed data (e.g., pictures of tumors, lungs, cells, gas chromatographs), and all this data is enabling us to delve much deeper into complex biological concepts, for example, the relationship between phenotypes and genotypes. The NHLBI BioData Catalyst project is one example of a coordinated effort to move vast amounts of data into the cloud, navigating the complexities of data ingestion, diverse and widespread teams, and multiple cloud providers/environments.

On top of the massive shift to being able to apply huge amounts of data to better understand individuals, populations and, ultimately, life itself, we need a way to organize all this information. The activities in the NCATS Biomedical Data Translator project can be viewed as a constantly evolving analysis of the relationships of disparate data sets. In a sense, Translator is like Google for searching biomedical data.

My talk will introduce both projects and their respective impacts on biomedical research.


Dr. Stan Ahalt is the Director of the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNC-Chapel Hill. As Director, he leads a team of research scientists, software and network engineers, data science specialists, and visualization experts who work closely with faculty research teams at UNC, Duke, NCSU, and partners across the country. Dr. Ahalt is also a Professor in UNC’s Department of Computer Science and the Associate Director of Informatics and Data Science (IDSci) in the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS), UNC’s CTSA award; in this role, Dr. Ahalt leverages the expertise and resources of RENCI to foster clinical and translational research across UNC’s campus. Dr. Ahalt earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clemson University and has over 30 years of experience in data science, signal and image processing, and pattern recognition/ML.


December 21, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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