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NIH makes big deal of big data

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is putting a fresh emphasis on health informatics, with Director Francis Collins, MD, creating a new advisory position and recruiting an associate director for Data Science.

Collins, a physician and geneticist, said there’s recently been an “exponential growth of biomedical research data” from genomics, imaging and electronic health records, with the new position being focused on building the NIH’s related research projects.

"There is an urgent need and increased opportunities for advanced collaboration and coordination of access to, and analysis of, the rapidly expanding collections of biomedical data," Collins said. "NIH aims to play a catalytic lead role in addressing these complex issues — not only internally, but also with stakeholders in the research community, other government agencies, and private organizations involved in scientific data generation, management and analysis."

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