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Hongfang Liu, PhD is a Professor at McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics and serves as Vice President of Learning Health System at UTHealth Houston. She leads the research in the Center for Translational AI Excellence and Applications in Medicine (TEAM-AI). Before coming to McWilliams in 2023, Dr. Liu was the Dr. Richard F. Emslander Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Mayo Clinic and directed the Biomedical Informatics program at the Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science and led Cancer Data Science and Informatics of Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She has a broad range of informatics expertise including artificial intelligence and informatics in healthcare, computational biology and bioinformatics, and biomedical data science. Her research has been recognized through several awards, including the NSF CAREER Award for biomedical text mining, the NCATS Innovation Award for open health natural language processing, the AMIA Donald Lindberg Award in Informatics Innovation for context-aware artificial intelligence, and the CPRIT Established Investigator Recruitment Award. Dr. Liu’s research accomplishments have been recently featured in Mayo Clinic Advancing The Science, a CTSA Blog, and at UTHealth Houston. She has been active in several professional organizations including AMIA, IEEE, and ACM and currently a fellow in ACMI and IAHSI.

Dr. Liu would like to focus her research in advancing translational science and bringing novel health data science, informatics, and AI solutions to empower real-world data-driven research. She would like to develop those tools and resources under the “RITE-FAIR” principle (reproducible, implementable, transparent, and explainable – findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). “It is a critical time for researchers and scientists in the space of health data science, artificial intelligence, and informatics giving the huge potential of leveraging real-world data to advance biomedical science and transform health care.” However, she emphasizes that “such potential heavily depends on our ability to ensure scientific rigor, ethical, transparent with the goal of advancing data-driven science and achieving better health for everyone through people-centric and value-based innovations”.

  • Tell us about your research center and/or what research you are currently working on?
    The Center for Translational AI Excellence and Applications in Medicine (TEAM-AI) focuses on advancing translational sciences in health data science, informatics, and artificial intelligence for medicine and healthcare. The center aims to accelerate the digital transformation of medicine and healthcare through methodology innovation and team science collaboration. Funded by the CPRIT Establishment Investigator award ($6 million for five years) and multiple NIH R grants ($1 million direct per year), the Center consists of faculty members, program managers/coordinators, and data scientists or scientific programmers (~15 members in total). The activities carried out by the team span from advancing informatics innovations through big data and AI, empowering biomedical and clinical sciences through team science collaboration and best practices, to building human-centered, value-added, and evidence-based tools, resources, and services to facilitate real-world implementation of the AI innovations. Ongoing projects at the center include open health natural language processing, cohort identification and computational phenotyping, EHR-based predictive modeling, real-world data and learning precision medicine for rare disease, mental health, and cancer.
  • What type of student or Postdoctoral Fellow are you looking for to work in your center?
    We are looking for students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in addressing real-world problems using AI, health data science, and informatics techniques.
  • What courses do you teach?
    I am interested in teaching foundational courses on AI/ML and clinical research informatics.
  • What does the future of your research look like?
    The future of my research would be big data, big science, and big team. We like to accelerate digital transformation in medicine and healthcare and bring clinical excellence and better health to all.
  • What does the future of informatics look like?
    Informatics is a multi-pillar and multi-disciplinary field. It encompasses methodology advancement, team science collaboration, and translational excellence in developing and delivering digital products to achieve clinical excellence and better health for everyone.


  • PhD, 2002, Computer Science, Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • MS, 1998, Computer Science, Fordham University
  • MS, 1996, Applied Mathematics, University of Science and Technology of China
  • BS, 1994, Mathematics, University of Science and Technology of China

Areas of Expertise

  • Artificial Intelligence and Informatics in Healthcare
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Biomedical Data Science

Staff Support

Blanca Torres | 713-486-0114