Faculty in our programs come from numerous health professions, basic sciences, biomedical sciences, social sciences, cognitive sciences, engineering, bioengineering and computer science backgrounds. The “transdisciplinary” nature of the school's educational and research programs makes them unique and rewarding, and results in breakthrough discoveries. School faculty are involved in making groundbreaking contributions to health care, biomedical discovery and educational research. This includes inventing and evaluating new ways to capture, store, access, and evaluate health care and biomedical research knowledge and information.
Debora Simmons, PhD, RN, CCNS is an advanced practice nurse in critical and acute care with an extensive background in technology and complex patient care systems. Her career has focused on healthcare quality and safety as an educator, leader, researcher and patient advocate. She serves on the Education and Disciplinary Advisory Committee for the Texas Board of Nursing. She is a subject matter expert for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Dr. Simmons is trustee of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and a board member of the National Healthcare Diversity Board. Her research focuses on environmental influences in safety and error analysis in electronic health records.
Zhongming Zhao, Ph.D., M.S. is a professor at the School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) and holds the Dr. Doris L. Ross Professorship. He is the founding director of the new Center for Precision Health, which is a joint venture between SBMI and the UTHealth School of Public Health. Before coming to UTHealth, Zhao was a professor in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics, Psychiatry and Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He has more than 18 years of bioinformatics and systems biology research experience and has co-authored more than 250 papers in these areas. His work has been supported by more than 50 funded grants totaling more than $100 million.
Peilin Jia, Ph.D. became an assistant professor at the School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) on March 1, 2016. Before arriving at SBMI, Jia had served as a research assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine since 2012. She has authored and co-authored over 75 publications and worked on several grant funded research projects as both a principal investigator and investigator. While working at Vanderbilt University, in conjunction with SBMI Professor Zhongming Zhao, Ph.D., M.S., Jia used original computational methods to combine through molecular data warehouses and target cancer-driving genes.