Jun 14 2021

Life in the Time of Corona(virus) – Day 454

by at 7:15 am under Uncategorized

Life in the time of coronavirus is beginning to revert to normal. No masks. Feels kinda normal… Vaccines work.

What a glorious weekend! We are at the beach, as is my new bicycle. We got here on Saturday afternoon, and I took advantage of the opportunity to do a 10-mile bike ride along Coastal Highway on Sunday. I had an absolute blast. My legs are well conditioned as a result of my stationary bike workouts at home, but my wrists and hands were not used to my prolonged death grip on the handlebars. No matter; I plan to continue riding as I gear up for the BellRinger ride in October. I am still looking for you to join my team; remember that I can provide up to $500 in vouchers to defray your fundraising commitment should you have difficulty in raising the money. As of today, we have 22 teams and 80 riders across the university, and have already raised over $200,000. Join me!

The past week was highlighted by an informal reception at the Glover Park Grill on Friday afternoon to say thank you and goodbye to Subha Madahavan, who joined us in 2008, and is moving on to a wonderful new opportunity at AstraZeneca. Subha, a genuine force of nature, made innumerable contributions to Lombardi during her time at Georgetown. I took the liberty of lifting some text from her farewell message (see below), in case you did not have a chance to read it. I am sure you will agree she leaves with a remarkable legacy.

Please join me in wishing nothing but the best for Subha as she embarks on the next stage of her career. It has been an absolute privilege to work with her, and it is nice to know that she will continue to be part of our work, albeit in an adjunct capacity, moving forward.

Stay safe and be well.


From Subha:

As I look back on my 12 years at Georgetown, I am struck by how far data science and informatics have come at the University, and how different the medical center looks in 2021 compared to 2009. I have been asked many times during the last month what I consider to be my most cherished accomplishments at Georgetown. Although I cannot answer that question comprehensively, given the number and variety of field-changing innovations occurring nationally and globally that our team has either led or participated in, I will mention a few here:

  1. We established the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics (ICBI) as a hub for cutting-edge research in biomedical informatics at GUMC.
  2. We envisioned and developed Georgetown Database of Cancer (G-DOC), one of the first web-based, now patented, Systems Medicine platforms used by over 2000 researchers from 48 countries to conduct cancer genomics research. On August 17th, 2018, then head of Biden Foundation and the Cancer Moonshot program, President Biden congratulated Lombardi for making a valuable brain tumor dataset freely available to the cancer research community through G-DOC. He not only posted about this on Twitter but also placed a personal phone call to our Cancer Center.
  3. We were an integral part of the joint team between Georgetown University and Medstar health that led the establishment of a data sharing and a Business Associate Agreement that enabled institution-wide secondary use of patient data for research purposes. This agreement has been the foundation that catalyzed multiple funding opportunities for the University including but not limited to, Georgetown Howard Universities CTSA, Breast and Colon Cancer Family Registries, In Silico Centers of Excellence for Cancer Genomics, Clinical Genomics Resource, Big Data to Knowledge Consortium (BD2K), and Clinical Proteomics Tumor Consortium.
  4. In partnership with UIS, we implemented and maintained the REDCap clinical data platform which supported over 100 investigators across 270 projects in multiple areas — biospecimen repository (55%), translational medicine (22%), clinical research/experimental therapeutics (9%), quality of life improvement (9%), behavioral and psychological research (5%). Novel high impact projects supported through this platform include the study of HIV transmission dynamics in Washington DC, the lung screening program, tobacco and health clinical study, DecideText, mobile cessation support for Latino smokers and a study to develop new treatments for language disorders.
  5. We co-developed and launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the edX platform titled “Demystifying Big Data” with >6,000 students registered across the globe.
  6. We led the University team with collaborators across medical and main campus in various data science challenges including NCI DREAM, Kaggle, COVID data challenge, PrecisionFDA and many others.
  7. Our capacity to develop highly usable informatics and data science methods and tools in collaboration with the basic, translational and clinical research communities is reflected in our participation in the Global Alliance for Genomics Health (GA4GH), The Cancer Genome Atlas, ClinGen, NCI Data Commons, R2D2 COVID consortium and many others.
  8. Our commitment to open science to improve reproducibility and reuse is witnessed by 56 active software development projects on ICBI’s GITHUB (icbi.github.io). These toolsets include components of G-DOC, CDGNet for cancer genomics networks, eGARD for natural language processing of unstructured research and clinical texts, SNP2SIM for computation simulation of protein binding, ViGen for viral genome analysis and CINIndex for assessing chromosomal aberrations.
  9. We developed novel artificial intelligence methods to derive insights from health data for detecting suicidal ideation among veterans, predicting opioid overuse in surgical patients, and extracting immune-related adverse events in cancer patients treated with immunotherapies.
  10. Partnering with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, we launched the Cloud-First initiative for machine learning-driven biomedical discovery at the University.
  11. In collaboration with BGE, we launched a new graduate program in health informatics and data science (HIDS) to educate the next generation of data scientists who will transform how medicine is practiced and research is conducted. In spite of the global pandemic, the graduate program continues to attract students from around the globe.
  12. Our annual Big Data in Biomedicine Symposium attracted over 300 participants each year from academia, federal agencies and private industry since its launch in 2012.
  13. Above all, we recruited and trained >25 data scientists and informaticians who have thriving careers in academia, government or industry.



The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.