The Department of Biomedical Informatics is committed to improving biomedical research and clinical care through the innovative application of informatics. Currently funded projects explore areas such as genomic and proteomic data mining, natural language processing, machine learning, and biosurveillance.

Prospective Students

We offer a range of training experiences to accommodate diverse backgrounds and aspirations. Active participation in research and development is a key element of the educational experience at DBMI.

Meet Our Faculty

Michael J. Becich, MD, PhD

Dr. Becich is a Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Pathology, Information Sciences and Telecommunications. He is the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics.

Gregory Cooper, MD, PhD

Dr. Cooper is the Vice chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Computational Biology, Computer Science, Information Science, and Intelligent Systems.

Rebecca S. Jacobson, MD, MS

Dr. Jacobson is a Professor of Biomedical Informatics, a Associate Professor of Intelligent Systems and Pathology, and the current Director of the Training program.

Roger S. Day, ScD

Associate Professor Day leads development of the Oncology Thinking Cap computer modeling facility, which uses stochastic models of tumor growth to help researchers do thought experiments about cancer biology and treatment.

Madhavi Ganapathiraju, PhD

Assistant Professor whose current research focus is in the area of computational molecular and systems biology, translational bioinformatics and biomedical text mining, using signal processing and machine learning.

Vanathi Gopalakrishnan, PhD

Dr. Gopalakrishnan is interested in the design and development of computational methods for solving clinically relevant biological problems.

Steven Handler, MD, PhD

Dr. Handler is an Assistant Professor with a primary appointment in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and secondary appointments in Geriatric Medicine, and Clinical and Translational Research.

Harry Hochheiser, PhD

Dr. Hochheiser’s research focuses on the design of usable systems for use in clinical and research settings. His other interests include universal usability, security, privacy, and public policy implications of computing systems.

Fu-Chiang (Rich) Tsui, PhD

Dr. Tsui’s past and current research involves the application of biosurveillance, time series analyses, machine learning, expert systems, grid computing, and artificial intelligence to biomedical informatics research problems.

Shyam Visweswaran, MD, PhD

Dr. Visweswaran's research interests lie in the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining and Bayesian methods to problems in clinical medicine and bioinformatics.

Michael M. Wagner, MD, PhD

Tanja Bekhuis, PhD, MS, MLIS, AHIP

Dr. Bekhuis is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Informatics, whose research involves machine learning and natural language processing to improve systematic review methods, as well as translation of best evidence for clinicians.

Richard Boyce, PhD

Dr. Boyce is interested in the intersection of informatics, comparative effectiveness research, and medication safety (including pharmacoepidemiology).

Xia Jiang, PhD

Dr. Jiang's research focuses on developing novel algorithms/systems that improve the computational efficiency of high-dimensional data analysis, and network modeling of cancer genome data.

Xinghua Lu, MD, PhD, MS

Dr. Lu’s research focuses on the computational methods for identifying signaling pathways underlying biological processes and diseases as well as Statistical methods for acquiring knowledge from biomedical literature.

Gerald Douglas, PhD

Dr. Douglas is an Assistant Professor focusing on Health Informatics for the Underserved.

Department Hightlights

This project is a joint effort between the Department of Biomedical Informatics and the School of Pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh. Researchers involved include Richard Boyce, PhD, Harry...
PITTSBURGH, June 27, 2012 – A multidisciplinary team at the University of Pittsburgh will be leading a national effort to explore the relationships between the bacteria that live in the lungs,...
Congratulations to Dr. Shyam Visweswaran and his collaborators for their publication that won a "Distinguished Paper Award" at the AMIA TBI 2012 conference held in San Francisco in March. ...

Meet The Alumni

Velma L. Payne, PhD, MS, MBA, MS

Personal Statement:  After an extended career in Information Technology, I decided to pursue my PhD within another department at Pitt. After taking a class within DBMI from Dr. Rebecca Crowley, I knew DBMI was the place I needed to be.  I immediately transferred to DBMI where I obtained the skills necessary to integrate my technology expertise with Medical Decision Making and Diagnostic Errors in Medicine. Dr. Crowley was instrumental in planting the seed of the importance of the cognitive aspects of medical decision making.

Robyn Reed, BS, MA, MLIS

Personal Statement

Like many people before me, my path to Biomedical Informatics was unique.  My education in science led to work in laboratory research before deciding to change careers.  Wanting to apply my scientific knowledge to another field, I completed my MLIS degree at Pitt and was fortunate enough to be selected for admission to the NLM-funded Biomedical Informatics and Health Sciences Librarianship Traineeship.

Jon Bickel, MD, MS

Personal Statement

Turning to DBMI, one of the top tier programs in the country, to obtain my Masters in Biomedical Informatics was a natural transition for me since I was already in Pittsburgh having just obtained my MD at Pitt’s School of Medicine. Bioinformatics, which I realized as the nexus of medicine, education and technology, was the perfect complement to my existing work in the Lab for Educational Technology (http://let.pitt.edu/) and would smoothly morph with my existing work in clinical care.

Heather Piwowar, PhD

Personal Statement

I started at DBMI because it was a 10 minute bike ride from my house and I needed to learn more about clinical informatics for my job.  I stayed -- for a class, then a certificate, then a PhD -- because the profs were smart and thought-provoking, the students were friendly and interesting, and the environment was rich in opportunity.  Want to blog?  Run a learning lunch series? Take classes in diverse departments? Pursue a research agenda that is a bit off the beaten track? Present at conferences no one has heard of?

Catherine Arnott Smith, MS, PhD
  • Currently: Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 2002: PhD, Library and Information Science, Medical Informatics
Matthew Scotch, MPH, PhD
  • Currently: Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Arizona State University
  • 2006: PhD in Biomedical Informatics
  • Publications (links to PubMed)
  • CV and research information: https://webapp4.asu.edu/myprofile/cv.do?eid=1615221
  • Personal statement: “I came to the University of Pittsburgh as a PhD student without a direction in this diverse and challenging
Gilan El-Saadawi, MD, PhD, MS
  • Currently:  Managing Consultant at College of American Pathologists (CAP)
  • 2004: MS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Publications (links to PubMed)
  • Personal statement: “I began work in biomedical informatics under the mentorship of James Harrison, MD, PhD, and later received a fellowship in the Pittsburgh Biomedical Informatics Training Program.
Ann McKibbon, PhD
  • Currently: Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University
  • 2005: PhD in Biomedical Informatics
  • Publications (links to PubMed)
  • Personal statement: “The people [at Pitt] are what I remember and value the most. Doug Fridsma and Ellen Detlefsen were stellar; without them, I would not have graduated.
Christopher Mast, MD, MS
  • Currently: Assistant Professor; Associate Physician Project Director for the Electronic Medical Record Implementation Project; University of Texas, Galveston
  • 2003: Master’s Degree in Biomedical Informatics
  • Publications (links to PubMed)
  • Personal statement: “My training in biomedical informatics from Pitt is invaluable, and I use it every day.
Deborah A. Lewis, EdD, MPH, MS
  • Currently: Associate Professor of Nursing, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
  • 1999: Master's Degree in Public Health
  • 2006: Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship
  • Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
  • Publications: see CV
  • Personal statement: “The Biomedical Informatics program at the University of Pittsburgh provided me with the opportunity to enhance my knowledge and network with professional colleagues.
Raj K. Krishnaraju PhD, MS
  • Currently: Health Scientist Administrator, NIH
  • September 2000 to September 2002: Master's Degree in Biomedical Informatics
  • Publications (links to PubMed)
  • Personal statement: “Currently, I am working as a Health Scientist Administrator at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. My areas of interest are bioinformatics and molecular biology of cell differentiation.”
Pedro L. Hernández-Cott, DMD, MS
  • Currently: Assistant Professor, Deanship of Research, University of Puerto Rico School of Dentistry
  • July 2003 to August 2005: Master's Degree in Biomedical Informatics
  • Publications (links to PubMed)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal statement: “After 20 years as a general dentist with an interest in computers, this was an excellent program for aiding me in making the transition
Patricia Corby, DDS, MS
  • Currently: Assistant Director, Bluestone Center for Clinical Research
Christa Bartos, BSN, MS, PhD
  • Currently: Director of Clinical and Operational Informatics at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2008: Doctoral Degree in Biomedical Informatics
  • Publications (links to PubMed)
  • Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
  • Personal statement: “For years, I worked in the field of clinical information technolog
Constantin Aliferis, MD, PhD
  • Currently: Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, NYU School of Medicine, Sackler Institute, NYU; Director, NYU Center for Health Informatics and Bioinformatics; Director, Biomedical Informatics Cores of NYU Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the NYU Cancer Center
  • 1998: PhD in Intelligent Systems (Biomedical Informatics)
  • Publications (links to PubMed)<
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