Center for Biomedical Informatics and Department of Biomedical Engineering Awarded R25 Grant

October 17, 2022

The Center for Biomedical Informatics and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Wake Forest University School of Medicine has been awarded a R25 grant from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to support the Culturally Augmented Learning in Biomedical Informatics Research (CALIBIR) Program. Metin Gurcan, Ph.D., Director, Center for Biomedical Informatics, Ashley Weaver, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Ellie Rahbar, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Brian Ostasiewski, Director of Research Informatics, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, are the principal investigators and are just one of 12 groups to receive this award in the country and the only institution in the southeast.

Four faculty members, two men and two women, in formal attire smiling for a group photo.
Left to Right: Ashley Weaver, PhD, Metin Gurcan, PhD, Ellie Rahbar, PhD, Brian Ostasiewski

The grant is for $675,000 and will support 12 student interns per summer for five years. As part of the grant, each student will be paired with a faculty mentor on projects spanning five themed areas: 1) clinical research informatics, 2) artificial intelligence, 3) healthcare informatics, 4) imaging informatics and 5) translational bioinformatics. An interdisciplinary collection of 39 faculty from over 15 clinical and basic science departments will mentor the students.

The goal of the CALIBIR program is to expand the pool of underrepresented students who pursue graduate degrees in a biomedical informatics-related field and ultimately pursue careers in biomedical informatics or data science. The long-term goal is to increase the diversity of the biomedical informatics and data science workforce. This program is a 10-week summer research immersion experience to train and educate undergraduate and master’s level underrepresented students and promote greater interest, exposure, and research experiences in biomedical informatics and data science.

The CALIBIR program will be supported by an advisory committee of leaders at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina Central University, Salem College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While one-third of the students in these programs were underrepresented, there is a recognized need to improve the proportion of underrepresented trainees in biomedical informatics further. The CALIBIR program will address this critical gap, by providing financial support and fostering an inclusive culture to train and mentor the next generation of diverse students in the field of biomedical informatics.

NLM is the world’s largest biomedical library and maintains a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology.