Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is launching an Institute for Informatics to support the growing need to manage and harness big data. Heading up the new institute will be Philip Payne, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the Ohio State University.
Washington University said the new institute would capitalize on the School of Medicine’s existing expertise and infrastructure in genomics, clinical informatics and imaging informatics and provide a central platform for coordinating current efforts and building new programs to advance medical research, education, patient care and public health. The School of Medicine has been involved in several national bioinformatics efforts, including the Human Genome Project, the Connectome Project and recent efforts to understand and quantify the microbiome.
“We are excited to be launching this new institute to support and enhance Washington University’s already extensive expertise in clinical informatics, imaging informatics and bioinformatics,” said David H. Perlmutter, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, in a prepared statement. “The institute will help focus the informatics landscape at the School of Medicine as we seek ways to transform research, education and patient care, especially in support of precision medicine and efforts to improve the quality of health care and public health initiatives locally, nationally and worldwide.”
Payne holds a doctoral degree in biomedical informatics from Columbia University as well as master’s degrees in medical and biomedical informatics from Columbia. In 2006, he took a faculty position in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Ohio State. He became chair of the department in 2010. Payne’s research program has focused on computational methods for cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as the use of knowledge-discovery techniques in order to accelerate clinical and translational research.
In addition to his current role as department chair at OSU, Payne directs the Data Science Cluster within the university’s CTSA-funded Center for Clinical and Translational Science and also serves as the inaugural director for Translational Data Analytics @ Ohio State, a program within the university’s Discovery Themes Initiative. These efforts include working to establish a university-wide institute for data analytics that serves as the physical and virtual home for team science programs that seek to address problems with global impact. Payne’s responsibilities also include managing the shared resources for bioinformatics, clinical research informatics and biostatistics that service more than 2,000 faculty, staff and trainees at the OSU Wexner Medical Center.