Welcome Letter

Call for COVID-19 Biomedical Data Science Partnership

As the Associate Director of the UAB Informatics Institute and the program director of the U-BRITE Platform, I am announcing a special call for COVID-19 biomedical data science partnership with the Informatics Institute, which will provide new biomedical informatics resources in our joint fight against COVID-19.

Specifically, we are seeking partnerships with the following UAB groups: public health practitioners, clinicians, and clinical and translational researchers in developing data science initiatives in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. We are looking for domain experts, scientific thought leaders, healthcare professionals with data-related challenges, healthcare providers with clinical data and/or samples, and researchers interested in developing biomedical understanding of the disease towards diagnosis/drug/vaccine development. The Institute will provide in-kind services in collaborations with first-line COVID-19 practitioners and investigators while actively seeking external funding support.

By responding to this partnership, you will have access to a COVID-19 biomedical data science web portal (under rapid development), the U-BRITE Platform, and a pre-assembled UAB multi-disciplinary biomedical informatics teams consisting of biomedical informatics faculty, biocomputing professionals, and biomedical data scientists across the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Science, and Engineering. In the web portal, we plan to include these data sets and data analysis pipelines to enable a wide spectrum of research topics that cover both data management and predictive analytic tasks. The research topics range widely from disease prevention, epidemiology, pathogenicity, viral genomic characterization, treatment, drug/vaccine development, and novel mHealth communications through personal mobile devices and social media. U-BRITE is a new data science platform launched by the Informatics Institute, CCTS, and UAB Research Computing in 2019 that allows multi-disciplinary research teams to perform advanced data analytic methods on clinical, genomic, and other data types in a HIPAA-compliant, high-performance computing environment. A range of NIH funding opportunities can be found here

Our goals are to respond to the emerging challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak proactively with data-driven research with our partners. An initial version that summarized our understanding of COVID-19 biomedical informatics opportunities was reported in a special UAB seminar on March 10th 2020 (a copy of the slides can be accessed through here

Please reach out to me at jakechen@uab.edu or (317) 622-8881 if you have a project idea, data sets, and simply suggestions to contribute to this new partnership opportunity. I will be reviewing and responding to every partnership request carefully in person.

Yours sincerely,
Jake Y. Chen, Ph.D.
Professor of Genetics, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering 
Chief Bioinformatics Officer & Associate Director, Informatics Institute 
President-elect, MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society
Chief, Section on Informatics of the Genetics Department
UAB School of Medicine
Birmingham, AL 35233
Email: jakechen@uab.edu 
Cell: 1(317)6228881

CC: Dr. Jim Cimino, Director of Informatics Institute