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Academic Update

Volume 10, Issue 11
July 24, 2020 

Fall 2020 Course Registration Now Open

SBMI Students:

Remember that regular registration for fall 2020 courses opened on July 15 and will run through August 28 in myUTH. If you have questions regarding registration, email the Office of Academic Affairs at [email protected].

Fall Registration Now Open

As of now, SBMI is continuing to offer classes in both in-person and online formats to support any International students who may need to attend courses face-to-face. When additional guidance becomes available, we will notify all students of any modifications to the course offerings. For your planning purposes, if COVID circumstances necessitate in-person courses to shift to remote delivery, students should anticipate attending synchronous virtual sessions at their scheduled class times. Online courses will continue to be delivered according to their original course designs.

The fall 2020 semester will begin on August 31. For a full list of courses offered in the fall, visit the SBMI Semester Schedule webpage.

SBMI PhD Students earn 2020 Predoctoral Fellowship Appointments

Two SBMI doctoral students have been appointed to the UTHealth Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Training Program. The program recruits scholars from diverse disciplines to ask the important research questions, apply the tools of innovative thinking and cutting edge methods, engage in trans-disciplinary teams and move the field of cancer forward in big – not baby steps.

image of Laila BekhetLaila Bekhet, MS, MBA is pursuing a doctoral degree at SBMI and earned her MS from the school in 2017. She is interested in research on big data and artificial intelligence methodologies to help early detection of pancreatic cancer to better guide physicians to determine optimal treatment pathways and improve the quality of healthcare. Before joining SBMI, she had diverse experience as a clinical pharmacist and as a consultant managing large informatics and quality improvement projects in the pharmaceutical industry.

Laila’s mentor is Associate Professor Degui Zhi, PhD, MS who joined the Center for Precision Health as one of the founding faculty members. With a unique background ranging from computer science to bioinformatics and statistical genetics. Dr. Zhi’s current research projects include: (1) population genome informatics; (2) Integration of trans-Omics data; and (3) predictive modeling of electronic health record (EHR) data using deep learning, which is Laila’s primary focus.

“Besides the great benefit of training and coaching in innovative thinking, joining the CPRIT pre-doctoral fellowship program is a great opportunity to expand my network in cancer research and I hope it will introduce me to future collaborators who share similar interests and beliefs.”

image of Xinyuan ZhangXinyuan Zhang, MS is pursuing her doctoral degree at SBMI. She earned a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics before joining SBMI. Xinyuan served as the first Social Events Chair of the Student Government Organization at SBMI. Her dissertation research focuses on developing an AI-based approach that can automatically classify skin diseases, including melanoma and other cancers, and identify important features based on dermoscopic images. It can serve as both a screening tool integrated into the dermatologists' workflow and an early self-detection tool to help skin cancer prevention.

Her advisor is Professor Cui Tao, PhD who is an internationally recognized scientist in Medical Informatics, specializing in the fields of ontologies and terminologies. She has published more than 150 articles and is currently the principal investigator for three NIH funded projects. She is a recipient of the prestigious PECASE award named by President Obama.

“CPRIT gives me the opportunity to collaborate with skilled researchers from many disciplines, to study cancer more efficiently, and develop cutting-edge tools that will bring breakthroughs and innovation solution."

Fall 2020 Scholarship Application is Open

The School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) offers scholarship opportunities to students enrolled in the School as funds become available. We are currently accepting applications for several scholarships to be awarded for the fall 2020 semester.

Seeking Student Aid?

All SBMI students who are in good academic standing & enrolled for fall 2020 courses in a certificate, masters or doctoral program are eligible to apply.

Consideration for earning a scholarship includes:

  • Pattern of academic achievement
  • Teaching and mentoring experience
  • Leadership experience
  • Community service
  • Success in overcoming adversity
  • Previous and recent publications in the discipline (if any)

Visit Qualtrics to submit your SBMI Scholarship Application.

Please note that all submissions are being accepted in Qualtrics and no email submissions will be accepted. The application deadline is Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at close of business (5 p.m. CDT).

If you have questions, please send an email ([email protected]) or call 713.500.3591.

COVID-19 Houston Datathon 2020 Application is Open

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, robust risk prediction and communication is urgently needed in Houston. Therefore, SBMI is partnered with Rice University's D2K Lab to host a data science competition for COVID-19 prediction using datasets collected from the greater Houston area.

Fall Registration Now Open

The goal of the event is to encourage medical researchers, data scientists, students and any brilliant minds from diverse backgrounds to participate in the competition and predict the risks of COVID-19. For winning students, there will be up to $2500 in cash prizes. Additionally, participants will have the opportunities to collaborate with UTHealth researchers and Rice professors to make an impact and help the Houston community.

Participation is limited to students who are enrolled full-time at any Texas university. The deadline to register is tentatively set for August 15th. In order to register, students must complete the required online form.


Important Dates

Aug. 7 PhD - Last day to defend proposal
Aug. 7 Last class day for summer 2020 semester
Aug. 10 & 11 Final exams & evaluations for summer 2020
Aug. 11 Electronic copy of state of the science/capstone or dissertations due via Canvas
Aug. 31 First class day for fall 2020 semester

SBMI LogoOffice of Academic Affairs
7000 Fannin, Ste. 650 Houston, TX
Phone: 713-500-3591
Email: [email protected]

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