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Artificial intelligence in health care workshop draws crowd

A futuristic look of a classroom at a medical school that incorporates artificial intelligence. (Photo by Jiajie Zhang/Chat GPT)
A futuristic look of a classroom at a medical school that incorporates artificial intelligence. (Photo by Jiajie Zhang/Chat GPT)

More than 400 people attended the virtual workshop on AI in biomedicine and health care hosted by McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth Houston on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

The event was chaired by Jiajie Zhang, PhD, dean and The Glassell Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Informatics Excellence at McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics. UTHealth Houston students, faculty, and staff can watch a recorded video of the workshop.

The workshop had the highest attendance of a virtual event in the history of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston’s Research Affairs Collaborative Workshop series, according to organizers.

“We are elated to see the response and interest level in this topic, not just from the UTHealth Houston community, but also from visitors from other institutions across Texas as well,” Zhang said. “The research community’s response to the exciting work conducted by several of our exceptional faculty presenters shows the importance of the collaboration between clinicians and medical AI researchers.”   

The workshop featured seven short presentations on topics such as large language model applications, learning health systems, imaging applications, genetics, clinical trials, and various other representative projects.

Zhang said school faculty members are currently working on more than 15 AI-related projects. Projects include work on topics such as detecting Parkinson’s disease in people by keyboard typing or smartphone touching; discovering genetic mutations of cancer and new genetic biomarkers of Alzheimer’s from MRI imaging; designing new antibodies; calculating risks of heart failure; predicting sepsis and outcomes of long COVID; and reading X-ray images. 

“AI is something that has and continues to work its way into every aspect of our personal and professional lives,” said Patrick Maslowski, systems and applications specialist, IT User Experience and Support (UXS), who attended the event. “The possibility that doctors will be using AI to diagnose common and rare diseases in patients in the near future is quite fascinating.”

The event was part of the McGovern Medical School Research Committee’s series of interdisciplinary professional development workshops designed to appeal to clinicians and scientists, in order to promote collaborative research interactions across the UTHealth Houston campus.

“As we continue to grow in reputation and build on the outstanding work that will inform biomedical research, improve organizational efficiency, and enhance the quality of patient care, the possibilities remain endless,” Zhang said. “AI and machine learning are propelling the future, and our school is at the forefront of that future.”

YouTube Workshop Video Series

David Fanucchi

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