Kudos to the 22 female data scientists who spoke during the “Data Blitz” portion of the Women in Data Science regional conference hosted Friday, April 5, at the University of Arizona’s Environment and Natural Resources 2 (ENR2) Building, 1064 E. Lowell St.
Among them were Joanne Berghout, PhD, and Francesca Vitali, PhD, research assistant professors of medicine with the UA Health Sciences Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics (informatics is included in the UA Department of Medicine), and Rebecca R. Vanderpool, PhD, an assistant professor with the Division of Translational and Regenerative Medicine, in the Department of Medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and Department of Biomedical Engineering in the UA College of Engineering.
The Women in Data Science (WiDS) initiative aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support women in the data science field. WiDS started as a conference in November 2015 at Stanford University, which serves as global host site. Now, it includes a global conference with more than 150 regional events worldwide; a datathon (data blitz), encouraging participants to hone their skills; and a podcast, featuring leaders in the field talking about their work, and their journeys. The podcast is available via Apple Podcasts and Google Play via this link.
While the data blitz was a really exciting part of the event, it was only part of a whole day's activities for the regional conference, which also featured keynote speakers from BlueStone Venture Partners (Mara Aspinall) and Critical Path Institute (Amanda Borens) along with other panels and presentations. For the full agenda, click here. The overall organizational effort was led by Susan Miller, deputy director of cyberinfrastucture at the UA Data Science Institute (Data7), a local event sponsor along with UA TRIPODS (Transdisciplinary Research in the Principles of Data Science) and the UAHS Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics (CB2).
“It was really exciting to see so much enthusiasm, support, and diverse projects being done by women in the UA community. For our first time organizing an event like this, it really blew me away,” said Dr. Berghout, co-organizer of the data blitzes with Dr. Vitali.
“I had great conversations on data science as well as on the various career paths we all took and we might take in the future. It's a source of inspiration!” said Dr. Vitali about the conference.
Dr. Berghout spoke during lunch on “Big Data and Data Science in Genomics” and gave the introduction for the morning data blitz, which began at 11 a.m. The morning blitz included a presentation from Dr. Vitali on “A matrix trifactorization algorithm to identify patient similarity and subgroups.” Dr. Vanderpool presented during the afternoon blitz on “Right ventricular dysfunction in the setting of pulmonary hypertension.” For the complete data blitz lineup and their topics, click here or on the image at right.
Drs. Berghout and Vitali are both part of the Lussier Research Group, headed by Yves A. Lussier, MD, CB2 director, associate director for informatics at the UA BIO5 Institute, UAHS associate vice president and chief knowledge officer, and UA professor of medicine and Statistics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP).
A UA College of Medicine – Tucson graduate student, Wen Yu “Amy” Wong, from the Cancer GIDP, won the top research award for her poster: “PKCζ and JNK signaling regulate radiation-induced compensatory proliferation in parotid salivary glands.”
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