"Translational Science in the Era of Big Data” to be held Sept. 6

The ability to work with and analyze large amounts of data for research is gaining in importance, especially involving the incorporation of electronic health records. Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Instituteis planning for the future as it looks towards its renewal application for the Clinical and Translational Science Award. It looks to build on its informatics foundation and successes and develop a larger, more robust program to serve the Penn State community.

As institute leadership begins formulating its informatics vision, it has invited Dr. Peter Elkin to visit Penn State College of Medicine in September. Elkin will meet with faculty and leaders throughout the university and present “Translational Science in the Era of Big Data” as a Clinical and Translational Science Grand Rounds at 4 p.m. on Sept. 6. 

Elkin is professor and chair of the University at Buffalo Department of Biomedical Informatics. He is also a professor of Medicine at the University at Buffalo and served as a tenured professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In this capacity, he was the center director of biomedical informatics, vice chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine and the vice president of Mount Sinai hospital for Biomedical and Translational Informatics.

“Dr. Elkin and his team at Buffalo have led a transformational effort to integrate the electronic environment for health care research in the Buffalo region,” Dr. Lawrence Sinoway, director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, said. “His platform for this effort has been the development of a Department of Biomedical informatics in their college of medicine and the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute. As we look to the future of informatics at our institute and our college of medicine, we have sought out Dr. Elkin to help us plan for the future.” 

The institute’s informatics program is led by Jason Hughes, research informatics officer at Penn State College of Medicine, and Vasant Honavar, chair, Information Sciences and Technology at University Park. Under their leadership, the program has provided services through several informatics platforms including data storage tool REDCap and data discovery tool i2b2, and is piloting new and innovative forms of informatics research, which include a more efficient way to overlay Penn State Health’s electronic medical records with other contextual data sources like environmental or socioeconomic factors.

Elkin has published more than 120 peer reviewed publications. He has been working in Biomedical Informatics since 1981 and has been actively researching health data representation since 1987.  

“Dr. Elkin has led efforts to develop a Ph.D. program in biomedical informatics, a clinical informatics fellowship, a T15 training grant from the National Library of Medicine and a big data science training enhancement program that is funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Veteran’s Administration. We are delighted that Dr. Elkin has agreed to visit and share his experiences and insight,” Sinoway said.

All are welcome to Elkin’s talk. Faculty and staff associated with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute are encouraged to attend for a better understanding of potential focuses in the preparation of the grant renewal application. The talk will be held in T2500, above the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center main entrance and be videoconferenced to 116 Henderson at University Park. Registration is appreciated at bit.ly/Elkintalk.