March 23, 2016

Chen named associate director, chief bioinformatics officer of Informatics Institute

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jake chen 200x300Jake Y. Chen, Ph.D., has been named associate director and chief bioinformatics officer of the Informatics Institute at the UAB School of Medicine.

Chen has been studying bioinformatics—the science of collecting, representing, storing, retrieving and processing data and knowledge for the improvement of human health—and advancing its use in academic, industrial and entrepreneurial efforts since 1995. His research interest focus on systems biology, data mining, advanced visual analytics for complex human disease applications. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific papers and was named a finalist three times as “Indiana’s Technology Educator of the Year” since 2012.

Chen is also the founding director of the Indiana Center for Systems Biology and Personalized Medicine at Indiana University, a position he’s held since 2007, and has joint appointments as an associate professor of informatics at the Indiana University School of Informatics and associate professor of computer science at Purdue University. At IU, he led to create the Center for Biomedical Big Data and Applications at the First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University—recognized among the best IT-intensive large hospitals in China.

Chen will join UAB on April 1 and will relocate his Discovery Informatics and Computing Laboratory from Indiana University before summer.

“Dr. Chen’s experience and leadership style are well suited to helping build and lead the new Informatics Institute and to direct a broad range of enterprise-level informatics activities in support of UAB Medicine’s strategic initiatives in biomedical research and translational medicine,” said James J. Cimino, M.D., director of the Informatics Institute, established by the UA System Board of Trustees in June 2014.

As associate director and chief bioinformatics officer, Chen will assist Cimino in guiding informatics initiatives in the School of Medicine, including working collaboratively with other intra- and extramural groups relating to bioinformatics and translational informatics, such as the UAB-HudsonAlpha Center for Genomic Medicine, UAB Hugh Kaul Personalized Medicine Institute, Comprehensive Cancer Center and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. He’ll also help lead faculty and staff in the institute and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, provide bioinformatics support for UAB researchers and contribute to the institute’s faculty recruitment efforts.

Chen will also lead efforts by the Institute to establish undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate informatics educational programs. His full-time faculty appointment will be in the Department of Genetics.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at Peking University in Beijing, China, Chen earned his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota. He’s a senior member of the Association for Computing Machinery, senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and member of the International Society of Computational Biology. He served a six-year tenure on the board of the Association of Chinese Bioinformaticians.