In the news / Big Data

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Many researchers with domain-specific expertise aren't aware of the predictive analytics, classification and visualization tools available, or they aren't fluent enough in the data science language to use them. A group of data-fluent UA researchers that includes BIO5 faculty Drs. Eric Lyons, Vignesh Subbian, and Nirav Merchant, is looking to change this by leading a grassroots effort to provide skills training designed to increase data literacy among researchers.
 
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The use of new technologies and automation raises questions about the impact on the job market and their respective hacking vulnerabilities. Dr. Larry Head, BIO5 faculty member and professor of Systems and Industrial Engineering at UA, discusses the importance of consumers doing research about the safety of autonomous vehicles before using them. 
 
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Thrombocytopenia, or HIT, is a deficiency of blood platelets, the cells that help blood clot. A team of UA College of Medicine-Tucson researchers including Associate Vice President and Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics at UA Health Sciences, Dr. Yves Lussier, is working in support of a new grant with the aim to identify predictive and early biomarkers for HIT.
 
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Struggling to make sense of a large amount of student evaluations from her UA introductory biology course, Associate Vice Provost in the Office of Instruction and Assessment and BIO5 member, Dr. Lisa Elfring, developed a way to visualize the feedback. This kind of presentation provides her with the ability to create and test hypotheses of what students thought of a course.
 
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Although rare, common medications – including azithromycin and ondansetron – can contribute to prolonged heart-recharging intervals, which may lead to serious complications and hospital stays. To address this problem, UA researchers including College of Medicine-Phoenix professor Dr. Raymond Woosley, work to implement alerts embedded in patients’ electronic health records to assist health-care providers in mitigating sudden cardiac death.
 
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Researchers have found that emphysema may be a unique risk factor for aneurysm, potentially giving doctors another tool to identify people with aneurysms
 
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Testing a long-held hypothesis of a late UA professor, fellow UA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology professor and BIO5 faculty, Dr. Alexander Badyaev, has led a team to show that evolution is driven by species interaction within a community. Studying nearly 300 bird species, Dr. Badyaev’s team built and tested their carotenoid biochemical pathways to explore how the populations changed over the last 50 million years.
 
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BIO5's Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, an internationally recognized expert on Alzheimer’s disease and Inaugural Director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at UAHS, has received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Institute on Aging. With the funding, Brinton will develop a unique training program to cultivate a diverse pool of highly trained scientists from diverse fields who can effectively address the nation’s Alzheimer’s research needs.
 
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The Flinn Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to UA College of Medicine’s Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support (CDADS). “The Flinn Foundation grant is the result of several years of planning by the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix to incorporate precision medicine into the curriculum and into faculty research programs,” said BIO5 member Dr. Raymond Woosley, Co-Director of the Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support
 
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The Flinn Foundation awarded the Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support (CDADS) at the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix $1.5 million to incorporate pharmacogenomics and clinical decision support into clinician training and medical practice. BIO5's Dr. Raymond Woosley, is Co-Director of the Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support.
 
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UA researchers are building a quantum hub known as Inquire, which will be the world's first shared research and training instrument to help researchers in diverse fields benefit from quantum resources. The interdisicplinary research team includes Dr. Jennifer Barton, Director of the BIO5 Institute and UA Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Biosystems Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Marek Romanowski, BIO5 member and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.
 
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Imaging and genomic technologies have dramatically increased the amount of information generated and used to make clinical decisions for diseases like Alzheimer's. “There is an untapped opportunity to leverage existing data from longitudinal cohorts, from the postmortem human brain, and from clinical trials to help the field advance our shared goals more effectively than we otherwise could,” said BIO5 member Dr. Eric Reiman, Executive Director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.
 
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BIO5's Dr. Mohammed Hassan, UA Assistant Professor of Physics and Optical Sciences, wants the UA to be the first place where humans take a photo of an electron in motion. Thanks to $1.75M in grants, Hassan says he will make that happen in the coming years.
 
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The UA's Data Science Institute, known as Data7, a unit of the Office of Research, Discovery and Innovation, is focused on connecting researchers, fostering collaboration and promoting literacy across campus. UA-TRIPODS, an integrated research and educational institute funded by the National Science Foundation, shares these goals and also is focused on developing new algorithms and foundational approaches necessary for large-scale data-driven research.
 
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Dr. Justina McEvoy, Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and member of the UA Cancer Center and the UA BIO5 Institute has focused her work on Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare cancer of the skeletal muscle that primarily affects pediatric patients. Dr. McEvoy and her team have sifted through a large genetic and protein database collected for rhabdomyosarcoma to identify pathways containing potential drug targets.
 
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UA ecologist and member of the BIO5 Institute, Dr. Ramona Walls is co-author on a recent Nature Ecology and Evolution paper, "Measuring species traits for biodiversity policy goals". This new research is part of collaboration with scientists around the world in an effort to study how species are responding to global changes in habitat, environment and climate.
 
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The KEYS Summer Research Internship Program lets high school students work alongside university faculty in top research labs. “Our interns learned to use tools that data scientists use every day...Their contributions will be used by many of the researchers that take advantage of our open access platform,” said Nirav Merchant, BIO5 member, CyVerse Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Data7.
 
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Drug interactions can pose a serious risk to patients when they are not identified and addressed. That is why a team of UA researchers, including BIO5's Dr. Vignesh Subbian, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Systems & Industrial Engineering, are developing a drug interaction knowledge database, combined with clinically validated algorithms, which is expected to increase the specificity of warnings concerning dangerous drug combinations.