Dell Medical School opens data hub to power predictive analytics projects

The University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School is launching a research resource that will function as a "biomedical data science hub," the university confirmed Aug. 7.

A team of Dell Medical School's data scientists are curating health data from various sources across the institution to create the hub. A roster of biostatisticians, epidemiologists, and computer and statistical scientists will then analyze this information using classic statistical methods and emerging machine learning techniques to address various health conditions.

"To increase the pace of innovation in health, high-quality data needs to be ubiquitous and analysis much richer," Clay Johnston, MD, PhD, dean of the medical school, said in a news release. "That's what we're trying to achieve with the data hub."

The hub will initially apply predictive analytics to clinical data, family history, lifestyle information and community factors to detect which patients will develop Type 2 diabetes. Armed with these insights, researchers will investigate potential preventive interventions.

Other projects might include studying ways to prevent large-scale epidemics or how to personalize medical care for individual patients.

Dell Medical School tapped quantitative scientist Paul Rathouz, PhD, as the founding director of the biomedical data science hub. Dr. Rathouz, who will also work as a population health professor at the medical school, previously served as the chair of the biostatistics and medical informatics department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health.

"The state of data science is at a most exciting threshold societywide, with new analytic, predictive and computational techniques — but in human health and healthcare, we have only begun to benefit from this revolution," Dr. Rathouz said.

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