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Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, MBA, Will Lead Biomedical Informatics and Data Science

July 11, 2022

Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, MBA, has been appointed deputy dean for biomedical informatics and will lead the newly created free-standing Section for Biomedical Informatics and Data Science, effective this fall. As deputy dean for biomedical informatics, Ohno-Machado will oversee the infrastructure related to biomedical informatics research across the academic health system.

The Section of Biomedical Informatics and Data Science will serve as the hub for biomedical collaboration. It will bring informatics to the clinic and the bedside; innovate new approaches to the analysis of big data across the biomedical research spectrum from basic genetic, proteomic, cellular, and systems biology to the understanding of the social determinants of health; and work in concert with colleagues in data science. 

This new academic unit will address inequality in health care and research with innovative approaches at the intersection of  engineering, technology, and medicine. It will work with scientists exploring fundamental biological principles and physician-scientists implementing interventions that promote health for all. It will also lead new studies and data collection initiatives; build new algorithms and tools; be the nexus of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine at Yale; share meaningful, privacy-preserving digital objects (data, code, processes); train next generation leaders; and disseminate lessons learned globally.

Ohno-Machado is health sciences associate dean for informatics and technology, founding chief of the Division of Biomedical Informatics in the Department of Medicine, and distinguished professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). She also is founding chair of the UCSD Health Department of Biomedical Informatics and founding faculty of the UCSD Halicioğlu Data Science Institute in La Jolla, California. She received her medical degree from the University of São Paulo, Brazil; her MBA from the Escola de Administração de São Paulo, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil; and her PhD in medical information sciences and computer science at Stanford University. She has led informatics centers that were funded by various NIH initiatives and by agencies such as AHRQ, PCORI, and NSF. 

She organized the first large-scale initiative to share clinical data across five UC medical systems and later extended it to various institutions in California and around the country. Prior to joining UCSD, she was distinguished chair in biomedical informatics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and faculty at Harvard Medical School and at MIT’s Health Sciences and Technology Division. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American College of Medical Informatics, and the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics. She is a recipient of the American Medical Informatics Association leadership award, as well as the William W. Stead Award for Thought Leadership in Informatics.

Long fascinated by the combination of life science and computer science, Ohno-Machado has conducted research in predictive models and data sharing since the start of her career. Her doctoral thesis work involved neural network models for survival analysis, and she subsequently focused on new methods to evaluate predictive performance of models based on clinical and molecular data. Since AI models require large amounts of data, and institutions prefer to keep the data locally, she worked on innovative algorithms to distribute the computation so that data could stay local, but multivariate models could be built and evaluated in a federated manner. 

Submitted by Robert Forman on July 11, 2022