National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has announced plans to recruit a new senior scientific position, the Associate Director for Data Science.
The associate director will lead a series of NIH-wide strategic initiatives that collectively aim to capitalize on the exponential growth of biomedical research data, such as from genomics, imaging, and electronic health records.
Dr. Collins recently charged a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) to examine the growing data and informatics challenges associated with biomedical research.
One of the major recommendations made by that working group in June 2012 is the creation of a new NIH leadership position focused on data science.
"There is an urgent need and increased opportunities for advanced collaboration and coordination of access to, and analysis of, the rapidly expanding collections of biomedical data," Dr. Collins said.
Dr. Collins continued, "NIH aims to play a catalytic lead role in addressing these complex issues - not only internally, but also with stakeholders in the research community, other government agencies, and private organizations involved in scientific data generation, management, and analysis."
Dr. Collins has asked Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., to serve as the Acting Associate Director for Data Science. Dr. Green was appointed as the third director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in 2009.
Dr. Green has been at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. He played a leadership role in the Human Genome Project and subsequently pioneered work in comparative genomics that provided important insights about genome structure, function, and evolution.
Among his many honors, Dr. Green was inducted into the Association of American Physicians in 2007, and received the Cotlove Award from the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists in 2011 and the Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry in 2012. He will continue to serve in his current role at NHGRI while serving in this acting leadership position.
The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components.
The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH.