Researchers Team Up With NIH And Google To Develop AI Learning Modules

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Data science researchers will create cloud-based learning modules for biomedical research.

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — With additional funding from the National Institutes of Health, a team of researchers led by Justin Zhan, professor of data science at the University of Arkansas, will collaborate with software engineers from NIH and Google to create cloud-based learning modules for biomedical research.

These modules will help educate biomedical researchers on the ways that artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are rapidly becoming important tools in biomedical research, can improve and streamline data analysis for different types of medical images and scientists.


The new funding, $140,135, was awarded through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Institutional Development Award Program. Zhan partnered with Kyle Quinn, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Larry Cornett, director of the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, which administers the grant.

In addition to support from the Arkansas IDeA Network, case studies for the learning modules will be developed with support from the Data Science and Imaging and Spectroscopy Cores of the Center for Integrative Metabolic Research in Arkansas.

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Justin Zhan and Kyle Quinn.

“Big Data is transforming health and biomedical science,” Zhan said. “New technology is rapidly expanding the amount and variety of imaging modalities, for example, that can tell doctors so much more about their patients. But this transformation has created challenges, especially when it comes to storing and managing massive data sets. Furthermore, as the big data revolution transforms biology and medicine into data-driven sciences, traditional education is slow to respond. Addressing this gap is part of what we are trying to do. »

Researchers will obtain the technical expertise and resources needed to provide training to students and healthcare professionals on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning as they apply to biomedical research .

Artificial intelligence is the ability of computer systems to perform tasks that have traditionally required human intelligence. An example of artificial intelligence is machine learning, in which algorithms and calculations become more accurate than humans in predicting outcomes. This process requires enormous computing power, more than standard computer clusters can handle.

The Arkansas researchers will partner with software engineers from Google and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to meet the computational demands of artificial intelligence-driven research through the use of cloud computing. Cloud computing provides access to computing services over the Internet, enabling faster and more flexible solutions in biomedical research.

Cloud computing modules developed by Zhan’s team will help researchers understand how artificial intelligence can be used in biomedical sciences to analyze big data. Case studies involving the identification of unique features in large sets of biomedical images and the prediction of disease states should help scientists, researchers, and clinicians understand how to implement these powerful tools in their work.

About the Arkansas Integrative Metabolic Research Center: Established by a $10.8 million grant from the NIH in 2021, the Arkansas Integrative Metabolic Research Center focuses on the role of cellular and tissue metabolism in disease, development, and repair through research involving imaging advanced, bioenergetics and data science. Quinn is the center’s director, and Zhan leads the center’s Data Science Core.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the University of Alberta offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the University of Alberta contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the University of Alberta among the few American colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. US News & World Report ranks the University of Alberta among the top public universities in the country. Find out how the University of Alberta is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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