D7: AZ Data Science Initiative

Nirav C Merchant

Director, Cyber Innovation
Director, Data Science Institute
Interim Director, Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics Center
Primary Department
(520) 621-8379

Research Interest

Over the last two decades my work has focused on developing computational platforms and enabling technologies, primarily directed towards improving research productivity and collaboration for interdisciplinary teams and virtual organizations. The key thrust areas for my work encompass life cycle management for: 1. High throughput and automated bio sample processing systems 2. Highly scalable data and metadata management systems 3. High throughput and performance computing systemsMy recent work has been directed towards supporting pervasive computing needs for mHealth (mobile health) initiatives and health interventions, with focus on developing study management platforms that leverage cloud based telephony, messaging and video in conjunction with wearable’s and sensors.Platforms and tools developed by team are utilized in: 1. Managing samples and data for Clinically certified (CAP/CLIA) NGS pipelines 2. Large scale genotyping (million+ samples) with robotic automation 3. National Cyberinfrastructure iPlant; facilitates researchers to effectively manage their data, computation and collaborations using a cohesive computational platform 4. Health interventions and patient monitoring I firmly believe that measured adoption of emerging computational technologies and methods are essential for life scientist to successfully operate at the scale and complexity of data they are constantly encountering. This can only happen if there is continuing education and practical training focused around the use of Cyberinfrastructure and computational thinking. I have developed and taught workshops, graduate and undergraduate project based learning courses with emphasis on these topicsMy team (Bio Computing Facility) engages with the campus community at various levels ranging from multi- institutional collaborative projects, graduate and undergraduate courses for credit and special topic seminars and workshops. With emphasis on enabling digital discoveries for the life sciences.