Friday, OCT. 22 | 10 to 11 a.m. | Zoom Meeting

Please join us for the Informatics Institute PowerTalk Seminar Series-Clinical Informatics!

“Data Science Sherpas: UAB Research and the Journey to the Computer”

Blake Joyce, PhD
Data Science Manager
UAB Research Computing


The UAB Research Computing (RC) mission is to “deliver systems and services that give UAB researchers a competitive edge.” UAB RC has grown from 3 to 14 FTE just a few years. Our new RC Data Science team focuses on providing more robust consulting and research support services, including improving and scaling analyses and support and training, and building a community of research computing practice. The RC Data Science team also works more closely with research groups across UAB to match research needs to cyberinfrastructure.

In this talk, we will discuss new services being provided by the RC Data Science team, look at RC community metrics (the informatics of informatics!), and discuss ongoing and future collaborations between the Informatics Institute and UAB Research Computing.


Blake Joyce is the University of Alabama at Birmingham Research Computing Data Science Manager, a code-curious biologist who works with many biology-curious coders. Starting a scientific career as an ecologist, it was clear that it was necessary to learn genetics to understand ecology fully. As a geneticist, the next realization was that there was a need to know bioinformatics, coding, and research computing to process genetics data at scale. Working for CyVerse provided a great opportunity to deliver data science, cyberinfrastructure, and advanced data visualizations to ecologists, geneticists, and other life scientists. It was a natural fit to transition to the role of Assistant Director of Research Computing at the University of Arizona to work with researchers in over 100 departments and institutes. These previous experiences have highlighted the importance of combining teams of researchers, research software engineers, and cyberinfrastructure professionals to deliver data science workflows and modern informatics analysis tools.

Now at UAB, the focus is on creating communities of data science practice and implementing cyberinfrastructure that empowers researchers and minimizes hurdles. The Research Computing Data Science Team creates streamlined infrastructure that responds to researcher workflow and analysis needs and builds a knowledge base for research community members to leverage as they accomplish their daily tasks toward achieving their research aims.