From the Chair

Share Last Updated: September 12, 2018

As an organizational unit within Emory’s School of Medicine, the mission of the Department of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) is threefold: 1) to educate and train students and postgraduate fellows as leaders in the field of biomedical informatics; 2) to advance research in biomedical and health informacs; and 3) to create and evaluate novel health care initiatives. We do this by assembling a world class faculty to drive cutting edge informatics research in mission critical domains. Our focus in research, education and application is shaped by close collegial and intellectual relationships with biomedical scientists and medical practitioners at Emory and beyond.

Biomedical informatics leverages virtually all areas of biomedical, physical, computational and social science. Emory, through its research and educational resources, represents an ideal substrate for BMI. The institution has world-class research groups in areas that include cancer, infectious diseases, neurosciences, pathology, psychiatry, human genetics, high-throughput drug discovery and  radiology, among others. Each of these groups has active interests in integrative research efforts that require a strong informatics component. In particular, working with Emory Healthcare, BMI is positioning itself to be a world leader in streaming analytics, mHealth, quantative imaging, and quantative neurophysiology and neuropsychiatry through the combination of state-of-the-art machine learning, signal processing and clinical domain knowledge. 

Atlanta offers a unique environment for biomedical and healthcare informatics. A strong relationship with Georgia Tech, through our top ranked BME program, and relationship with Computer Science and Engineering, drives some of the best students in the world to our door.  Our access to healthcare data is unparalleled, and it provides the opportunity to create systems that can be evaluated in a real healthcare setting. We are physically co-located with the hospital, which guarantees a constant flow and easy in-person collaborations with clinical faculty and staff. Nothing beats spending time with the clinicians to understand the flaws in your data analysis and system design.  A low cost of living and great weather doesn't hurt us either.

The broader Atlanta region possesses a remarkable combination of strengths and opportunities to rapidly position itself as a leader in biomedical informatics.  Emory, because of its association with and proximity to the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, American Cancer Society, Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse School of Medicine, and others, is able to provide distinct opportunities for biomedical informatics training at the national level. These regional assets set a unique stage for joint training opportunities, coursework and hands-on research experience in medicine, informatics, public health and computer science in BMI. 

BMI is relatively small, with just over 70 researchers, operating like an agile institute or startup, but is expanding rapidly, with our research income having doubled in the past year alone. In April 2017 we moved to an entirely rennovated space that we co-designed specifically around our needs, with space for significant expansion, reflecting the University's investment in Big Data Science for biomedical and clinical informatics. We are are always looking for faculty, postdocs and students to complement the unique background, training and skill sets of our faculty members in the quantitative and computational sciences. Please reach out to bmi@emory.edu if you are interested in joining us, with your CV and interests.  

On behalf of the BMI faculty, we look forward to an exciting future at Emory.

Gari Clifford, DPhil



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