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Your Environment. Your Health.

Integrating Data from Multidisciplinary Research

Superfund Research Program

This webinar series explores challenges and opportunities for integrating datasets to solve complex environmental health problems.

Session III – Establishing Infrastructure for Data Integration
November 4, 2015 • 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. EST
An archive of this webinar will be posted on EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events Web page.

In the third session, speakers included data science experts who are developing tools through NIH-funded grants to establish infrastructure to coordinate data and develop sophisticated approaches to utilize big data to advance our understanding of human health and disease.

Susan Teitelbaum, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Patricia Kovatch, Associate Dean for Scientific Computing and Associate Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Deborah McGuinness, Ph.D., computer science professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, discussed their previous work related to knowledge integration and developing data infrastructure. They also discussed their recent NIEHS Children's Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR) Data Repository, Analysis, and Science Center award, which will address methodology for combining data from a wide range of environmental health studies.

Gregory Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, discussed the Center for Causal Discovery, an inaugural member of the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Consortium. Cooper leads the Center, which is developing and making available the algorithms, software, and system architecture needed by biomedical scientists seeking to discover causal relationships using large and diverse data sets.

Presenters:

  • Susan Teitelbaum, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (susan.teitelbaum@mssm.edu)
  • Patricia Kovatch, Associate Dean for Scientific Computing and Associate Professor in Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (patricia.kovatch@mssm.edu)
  • Deborah McGuinness, Ph.D., Tetherless World Senior Constellation Chair and Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (dlm@cs.rpi.edu)
  • Gregory Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh (gfc@pitt.edu)

Moderators:

  • Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., Health Scientist Administrator, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (heacockm@niehs.nih.gov)
  • William Suk, Ph.D., Director, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (suk@niehs.nih.gov)

Session II - Cross Domain Discovery and Integration
October 27, 2015 • 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. EDT
An archive of this webinar is available on EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events Web page.

In the second session, speakers discussed goals and successes of National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and initiatives related to large, diverse, complex, longitudinal, and/or distributed datasets. Chaitan Baru, Ph.D., on assignment as Senior Advisor for Data Science in the Computer and Information Science & Engineering Directorate at NSF, discussed NSF initiatives in Big Data. Ilya Zaslavsky, Ph.D., Director of the Spatial Information Systems Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego, highlighted NSF-funded projects that enable data discovery and facilitate sharing of research and expertise.

Presenters:

  • Chaitan Baru, Ph.D., Senior Advisor for Data Science in the Computer and Information Science & Engineering Directorate, National Science Foundation (baru@sdsc.edu)
  • Ilya Zaslavsky, Ph.D. Director of the Spatial Information Systems Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego (zaslavsk@sdsc.edu)

Moderator:

Session I - Introducing the Big Picture
June 24, 2015 • 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT
An archive of this webinar is available on EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events Web page.

In Session I of this series, speakers introduced and discussed the concept of big data as it relates to environmental health science and provided examples of current initiatives.

Presenters:

  • William Suk, Ph.D., Director, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (suk@niehs.nih.gov)
    • Presentation Title: Scale, Diversity, and Complexity - Tackling Data Challenges in the Superfund Research Program
  • Allen Dearry, Ph.D., Director, NIEHS Office of Scientific Information Management (dearry@niehs.nih.gov)
    • Presentation Title: Moving Biomedical Research Toward a Digital Enterprise and Steps Being Taken by NIEHS
  • Steven DiMarco, Ph.D., Professor of Oceanography and Ocean Observing Lead, Texas A&M University (sdimarco@tamu.edu)
    • Presentation Title: Ocean Observing and Big Data - Global Initiatives and Local Impacts: Hurricanes, Deadzones, and Oil Spills
  • David Kaeli, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University (kaeli@ece.neu.edu)
    • Presentation Title: Developing a Data Management Model for Managing Diverse Data in Environmental Health Research

Moderator:

  • Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., Health Scientist Administrator, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (heacockm@niehs.nih.gov)

William Suk, Ph.D., Director of the Superfund Research Program (SRP), described data diversity within the SRP and the prospect of integrating multidisciplinary research data to understand better human exposure and health outcomes and to reduce hazardous exposures.

Allen Dearry, Ph.D., director of the Office of Scientific Information Management at NIEHS, discussed how NIH as a whole is beginning to address issues related to big data, including the trans-NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, and how NIEHS is dealing with aspects specifically related to environmental health. Biomedical research is increasingly a digital enterprise. Digital assets, which include data (of various types), software, workflows, publications, and more, not only increase the pace of the scientific process but also allow connections to be made and patterns to be discovered that were previously hidden. As biomedical data and other digital assets become larger, more numerous, and more distributed, and as analyses become more complex, a connected digital enterprise will become essential for enabling progress.

Steven DiMarco, Ph.D., Professor of Oceanography and Ocean Observing Lead at Texas A&M University, presented on how international initiatives in Ocean Observing Systems are producing global data at unprecedented rates in the geoscience disciplines. He also described how these data are being used to address ocean impacts on human health and society like harmful algal blooms, coastal hypoxia, ocean acidification, oil spill response, and hurricane preparedness.

David Kaeli, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University and Leader of the PRoTECT Data Management and Modeling Core, described his team's work to collect, clean, secure, maintain, and analyze data from the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PRoTECT). PRoTECT's mission is to identify links between contaminants and pre-term birth in northern Puerto Rico.

Information regarding additional sessions will be posted here as soon as it is available.