Researchers worldwide are working with increasingly large amounts of patient data, to track down diseases, for example. At BREATH too, bioinformatics and data science are becoming increasingly more important. Our BREATH bioinformatician, Dr. David DeLuca, as a member of the Strategy Board, has been directly involved in the new inter-university PhD program for biomedical data science – BIOMEDAS.
Since April 2016, Dr. David DeLuca has been a graduate computational scientist at BREATH, the Hannover site of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL). In the last five years, the one-man team has developed into a complete working group with several graduates and linked to two postdocs. The growth of the group reflects the increasing importance of bioinformaticians in medical research. Dr. DeLuca’s team supports other researchers at Hannover Medical School and at the German Center for Lung Research in the evaluation of data on the most diverse diseases in lung research, such as asthma, mucoviscidosis or COPD. Ever-increasing amounts of data collected from samples from those affected or increasingly higher resolution image data make the use of computer-assisted evaluation and thus the expertise of the bioinformatics team vital.
A number of research establishments in Lower Saxony have together supported the strengthening of the field of data science. Dr. Jennifer Debarry from the Centre for Individualised Infection Medicine (CiiM), a cooperation between Hannover Medical School (MHH) and the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI), took on the managerial role when a new PhD program was established at the TRAIN Academy, the Academy of Translation Alliance Lower Saxony (Akademie der Translationsallianz Niedersachsen). She was supported in this by Dr. DeLuca, who was able to contribute many years of experience to the design development of the project. The inter-university program „BIOMEdical DAta Science (BIOMEDAS)“ is aimed specifically at students who want to link the field of medicine or biology with skills from data science. „I am very glad that, with this program, we can introduce young junior researchers in a structured way into the field of data science. That is a real asset for PhD students and the scientific community in Lower Saxony“ says Dr. DeLuca about the new program. Since the winter semester 2020, along with others, the BREATH partners: Hannover Medical School (MHH), Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM) and the Leibniz University Hannover, as well as the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, have been taking part in this new PhD program.
Dr. DeLuca will also be involved as a lecturer in this program, and meet again two doctoral candidates from his working group. The two DZL Fellows, Mifflin-Rae Calvero and Hasha Meghardi, are members of the first year of the BIOMEDAS Program and in the next three years they will become even better acquainted with the broad range of topics in biomedical data science whilst completing their PhD at the MHH.