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SBMI DATATHON focuses on stroke rehabilitation algorithms

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics Stroke and AI Datathon 2021 Logo

In March 2021, SBMI hosted its fourth overall DATATHON and second in a virtual format. Participants included undergraduate and graduate students from the Gulf Coast Consortia institutions as well as students studying at other universities in the Houston-area. These students used their programming skills and knowledge of machine learning to focus on the event theme – building an algorithm to predict stroke patient rehabilitation scores.

According to the CDC, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke.  While deaths attributable to stroke have declined, stroke remains a leading cause of morbidity and disability. Despite early treatment, stroke survivors often have severe long-term disability including both physical and cognitive issues that require constant monitoring and care from the community. Rehabilitation is essential to recovery and should begin soon after the injury when the brain is especially receptive to processes that can enhance repair.

For this unique focus, SBMI Professor Xiaoqian Jiang, PhD, who oversees SBMI’s DATATHON events, partnered with Sean Savitz, MD, the Director of UTHealth’s Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease and a faculty member at the McGovern Medical School. Drs. Jiang and Savitz, along with Assistant Professors Yejin Kim, PhD and Shayan Shams, PhD prepared a de-identified data set for the participants. The goal was for the competitors to develop algorithms to predict changes in cognitive and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores (18 subcategories) during inpatient stroke rehabilitation.

A total of 26 students from Rice University, UTHealth, and University of Houston participated in the virtual event. During the 24-hour competition period, which started on March 27 and ended on March 28, Dr. Jiang and his colleagues received a number of highly competitive solutions. The students listed below were awarded prizes for their work.

  • 1st prize: Bishal Lamichhane (Rice University)
  • 2nd prize: Bohan Wu (Rice University)
  • 3rd prize: Khush Patel (UTHealth)
    • Tanjida Kabir (UTHealth)
    • Jie Liang (UTHealth)
    • Yaobin Ling (UTHealth)
    • Shikha Tripathi (UTHealth)


To learn more about the DATAHON event, please visit the SBMI website at

published on 04/14/2021 at 10:00 a.m.

Chelsea Overstreet

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