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Licong Cui, PhD earns 2022 AMIA New Investigator Award

Licong Cui, PhD
Licong Cui, PhD

Licong Cui, PhD, associate professor at UTHealth Houston’s School of Biomedical Informatics, will receive the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) New Investigator Award for 2022. This accolade is one of AMIA’s Signature Awards and it will be conferred during the AMIA 2022 Annual Symposium at the AMIA Awards Gala on Sunday, Nov. 6.

According to AMIA, this award “recognizes an individual for early informatics contributions and significant scholarly contributions on the basis of scientific merit and research excellence. The criteria for nomination include significant scientific productivity in informatics, multiple significant scientific publications and demonstrated commitment to AMIA.”

“I am deeply pleased and honored to receive this prestigious award, which recognizes my work and contribution in biomedical informatics,” says Cui.  “It marks a significant milestone in my career — taking me one step closer to my long-term goal of becoming a leader in biomedical informatics and health data science research and education.”

Cui’s research focuses on developing innovative informatics methods and tools to address health data science challenges in biomedicine, with the overall goal of enhancing patient care. Her research aims to benefit “persons with epilepsy, as well as other neurological disorders.” Additionally, her research interests include biomedical ontologies, neuroinformatics, and big data analytics.

Biomedical ontologies provide the basis for scientific rigor during the process of data collection, annotation, management, analysis, sharing, and reuse. Her work in this area explores the development of effective computational methods to automatically detect potential quality issues and suggest remediations. This research is applicable for a broad range of biomedical ontologies including SNOMED CT, Gene Ontology, and NCI Thesaurus. Regarding neuroinformatics and big data analytics, she has led the design, development, and deployment of a data integration and cohort query system for two national data resources.

Cui stated that “I hope to harness the power of biomedical informatics to build impactful resources that aid clinicians and other researchers in improving patient care and research practices. Furthermore, I hope to train students to be next-generation data scientists in biomedicine.”

Cui currently serves as a Principal Investigator (PI) for four projects: three from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and one from the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is also a Co-Investigator for four other research grants. She also plans to leverage the National Sleep Research Resource (NSRR) to develop computational methods for identifying potential sleep-related electrophysiological biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). This will be a collaboration with colleagues at SBMI, the Texas Institute for Restorative Neurotechnologies, and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

Dean and the Glassell Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Informatics Excellence Jiajie Zhang, PhD will be at the AMIA Awards Gala to accept the award on behalf of Cui. For a list of previous winners of this award, visit the AMIA website.

 Chelsea Overstreet

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