September 15, 2022

September 29 symposium to celebrate Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics’ 10th anniversary

Holden Thorp, Ph.D., editor-in-chief, Science Family of Journals, will deliver the 8th Annual Gilbert S. Omenn Lecture, followed by a moderated Q&A and a panel discussion

DCMB 10th anniversary symposium

The University of Michigan Medical School Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (DCMB) will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a symposium from 1:15-6:30 p.m. on September 29 in the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building.

The event will be introduced by James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., the Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine, and former dean of the Medical School, who was the original Medical School champion of launching the department. The vision for DCMB’s future will be presented by Brian D. Athey, Ph.D., the Michael Savageau Collegiate Professor and founding chair. Several DCMB faculty members will present their research and participate in a panel discussion. 

Margit Burmeister, Ph.D., associate chair for education and training and co-director of the Bioinformatics Graduate Program, will present student awards. She then will introduce two distinguished alumni — Erin Shellman, Ph.D., head of data at Gingko Bioworks, and Dan Rhodes, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO at Strata Oncology — who will discuss their respective careers.

Holden Thorp, Ph.D., editor-in-chief, Science Family of Journals, will deliver the 8th Annual Gilbert S. Omenn Lecture. The title of his talk is “Data Science and Medicine in the Age of Open Data, Open Code, and Open Access: from Protein Structure Prediction to COVID Origins.” This lecture will be followed by a moderated Q&A and a panel discussion.

A poster session and reception will close the afternoon.

For more information and to register, visit our website.

About the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics

Faculty and Research: In its very short lifetime, DCMB has attracted and retained a top-notch and diverse world-class faculty. There are currently 18 primary faculty members, 18 joint faculty members, and 11 research faculty working on an array of topics: genomics, regulatory genomics and epigenomics; protein structure, and proteomics; multi-“omics” integrative bioinformatics; systems biology and networks analysis; biomedical data science, translational bioinformatics, and pharmacogenomics; methodological development in computational biology; applications to complex genetic diseases (type 2 diabetes, psychiatric disorders, cancers, and neuromuscular disorders); epigenomics, and the 4D Nucleome.

DCMB is currently ranked No. 4 by the National Institutes of Health for research sponsorship for departments of its kind.

Bioinformatics Graduate Program (BGP): Since its inception in 1999, the DCMB-housed BGP has graduated 126 Ph.D. students, and a total of 153 master’s degree students. One of the first programs of its kind in the world, the BGP is considered one of the finest such graduate programs internationally. With additional support from three NIH Training Grants, and with the longest continuous NIH funding record for such programs in the U.S., the department now offers three degree programs (Ph.D., master’s, and accelerated master’s) that meet a wide array of career goals in biomedical data science. Students also work with research mentors all over the University of Michigan campuses, benefiting from UM collaborative culture and the variety of ongoing research topics. Current students (84 in the Ph.D. program and 28 in master’s programs and nine accelerated master’s students) work in the labs in the Medical School, School of Public Health, College of Engineering, and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Post-graduation, DCMB students either follow the academic track, with several alums on the tenure track or on that path, while others pursue leading-edge research careers in the industry. Several alums are also now well-established in government agencies and not-for-profit careers.

Maureen Sartor, Ph.D., co-director of the BGP and co-principal investigator of the NIH Biomedical Data Science Training Program, said: “Since starting as faculty at U-M in 2008, it has been amazing to see the growth of our bioinformatics graduate program and success of our students and alumni. I am grateful to have been part of the team to build on our department and program’s foundation by both enhancing the rigor and inclusivity of our curriculum, and by strengthening our community bonds with annual retreats and other gatherings. I look forward to many more years of training future biomedical data scientists who will lead diverse teams of researchers to make discoveries that will benefit all in our society and across the globe.”

Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics: In addition to being trained and mentored by DCMB faculty, students have many opportunities to participate in leading edge collaborative research through its associated Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (CCMB). It was co-founded in 2005 by Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., the Harold Shapiro Distinguished University Professor and Brian D. Athey, Ph.D. As part of their long-running NIH National Center for Biomedical Informatics (NCIBI) that helped establish CCMB, they created and implemented a vision of coupling bioinformatics and computational biology research with high impact “Driving Biological Problems.” This concept marries experts on computational, informatics, and statistical methods directly with faculty and laboratories that specialize in biological and biomedical research. This approach fosters collaboration, teaming, and co-mentorship. It is a formula that really works, and as a result, DCMB supports the best labs and attracts remarkable students who are well positioned and trained to become successful leaders in their fields. CCMB currently offers computational and bioinformatics expertise and student trainees to over 125 U-M faculty affiliates and their labs across the entire campus. 

“We have created a nationally prominent bioinformatics Ph.D. program and U-M-wide research center over the past 20 years. Establishing a new academic Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics 10 years ago was a major step forward, worthy of celebration now as we plan for the coming decade. We are proud of our many remarkable students, alums, and faculty. This field is ‘hot’ and impactful,” said Dr. Omenn.