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Join us for the 2nd annual Big Data Health Science Conference! This conference is hosted by the University of South Carolina (UofSC) Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC) which is a campus-wide interdisciplinary enterprise that conducts cutting-edge research and discovery, offers professional development and academic training, and provides service to the community and industry. 

The theme for this year's conference is "Unlocking the Power of Big Data in Health: Bringing Innovation into Improved Care and Prevention". Highlights of the two-day conference include keynote presentations from leaders in government (NIH, VA), industry (SAS) and academia, as well as workshops and breakout sessions from interdisciplinary areas of Big Data including Electronic Health Records, Genomics, Bionanomaterials, Geospatial and Social Media research. 

Click Here To View Full Program Schedule.


Using Data Science to Address a Global Pandemic

Susan Gregurick, Ph.D.
Session Summary: Dr. Susan Gregurick, NIH Associate Director for Data Science, will discuss NIH’s coordinated data approach to addressing COVID-19 that is focused on enhanced data, interoperability, and discoverability. Dr. Gregurick will also highlight additional data science milestones that have happened alongside rapid progress in responding to a global pandemic.

Big Biomedical Data Analysis using Ontology and AI Technologies

Cui Tao, Ph.D.

Reading Between the Tweets: Using Social Data for Predicting and Changing Public Health Behaviors

Sean Young, Ph.D., M.S.
Session Summary: Social technologies, such as social media, wearable devices, and online search data, are increasingly being studied for use as data sources to inform public health. These technologies and their data, have the potential to be used to both monitor public health issues and change people's health-related behaviors. Using HIV, mental health, substance use, car crashes, and COVID-19 as case studies, this presentation will describe methods of using social technology data to monitor and predict health-related outcomes, as well as presenting ways that these technologies can be used to change people's health behaviors. We will discuss the implications and needs for implementation science related to these approaches. 

Electronic Health Records Breakout Session I

Timothy Mackey, Ph.D.
Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D.
Yang Yang, Ph.D.
Jeffrey S. McCullough, Ph.D.

The Promise of Big Data in Health Care: Improving Diagnosis, Treatment and Outcomes 

Session Summary: The multiple, massive, and rich Big Data streams in healthcare and the emergence of advanced information and computational technologies (e.g. machine learning and artificial intelligence) offer an invaluable opportunity for applying innovative Big Data science research in health care setting. This session focused on how to identify individuals and communities at high risk and prioritize them for early public health interventions and how to model the disease progression using the electronic health records data, including administrative and billing data, electronic medical records, or other digital records of information pertinent to individual or population health and Web and social media data. 


Presentation 1: Leveraging Different Approaches in Big Data and Machine Learning to Conduct Infoveillance Studies for the COVID-19 Pandemic by Dr. Timothy Mackey


Presentation 2: Harnessing Network Medicine for Drug Repurposing in COVID-19 by Dr. Feixiong Cheng


Presentation 3: Artificial Intelligence-enabled Rapid Diagnosis of Patients with COVID-19 by Dr. Yang Yang

Presentation 4: Using Real World Data for Personalized Treatment Effects: Heterogeneity in the Benefits of Oral Antidiabetic Medications by Dr. Jeffrey S. McCullough

Moderator: Dr. Jiajia Zhang, Electronic Health Records Core Lead


Genomics Breakout Session

Anita Nag, Ph.D.
Ana Pocivavsek, Ph.D.
Hippokratis Kiaris, Ph.D.
Devaun McFarland, Ph.D.
Brendan Odigwe, Ph.D. Candidate

Data Empowered Genomic Analysis 
Session Summary: Summary: The completion of the human genome project in 2003 marked the beginning of the Era of modern Bioinformatics and Genomics analyses. The quantity of acquired genomic data has increased precipitously in the last two decades due to the advances in sequencing technologies. The rapid sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and its relationship to SARS-CoV is a testimony to our technological advancement in the arena of Genomic analysis. Although genomic data can now be acquired rapidly and at a substantially reduced cost, the computational analysis of the genomic data continues to challenge the international community of investigators and researchers.  In this session, a number of presentations will highlight the advanced utility and analysis of genomic and proteomic data in numerous investigations across the state of South Carolina. 

Presentation 1: Proximity-dependent Biotinylation to Study Host Shutoff Nonstructural Protein 1 of SARS Coronavirus by Dr. Anita Nag 

Presentation 2: Abnormalities in behavior, sleep, and brain gene expression profile in a developmental rodent model: Relevance to psychotic disorders by Dr. Ana Pocivavsek

Presentation 3: Transcriptomic Studies in Outbred Deer Mice Dr. Hippokratis Kiaris

Presentation 4: Applying msTALI to Active Site Identification Studies on SARS-Co-V-2 by Devaun McFarland 

Presentation 5: Predicting Individual Outcomes of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Patients to Cardiac ReSynchronization Therapy Using Artificial Intelligence by Brendan Odigwe 

Moderator: Dr. Homayoun Valafar, Genomics Core Lead 

Geospatial Breakout Session

Susan  Cutter, Ph.D.
Patrick Sullivan, M.D.
Whitney Zahnd, Ph.D.
Zhenlong Li, Ph.D., M.S.

Health Geography and Infectious Diseases 

Session Summary: This session features a multidisciplinary group of faculty discussing the importance of geographic information in analyzing communicable disease data and related risk factors. In addition, all presentations with highlight the implications of Big Data for geospatial COVID-19 research.
Presentation 1: Understanding the G in Geospatial Analyses of the COVID-19 Pandemic by Dr. Susan Cutter
Presentation 2: Social Determinants of Health Data in A New Public Health Data Resource by Dr. Patrick Sullivan 

Presentation 3: Staying Connected while Socially Distant: A Spatial Analysis of Broadband Access and Implications for Peri-Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Times by Dr. Whitney Zahnd 

Presentation 4: Monitoring the Spatial Spread of COVID-19 and Effectiveness of the Control Measures through Human Movement using Big Social Media Data by Dr. Zhenlong Li 

Moderator: Dr. Jan Eberth, Geospatial Core Lead 

Social Media Breakout Session

Wei Wang, Ph.D.
Graciela Gonzalez-Hernandez, Ph.D., M.S.

Mining Social Media Big Data for Health Applications

Session Summary: Public health focuses on monitoring and assessing a population's health and crafting health policies to address the identified health problems. Traditionally, public health draws data from surveys that have long been the backbone of public health activities. However, surveys are expensive and time-consuming. Social media has become a mainstream channel of communication where users share and exchange information. Social media are powerful tools for developing evidence, practice, and policy to provide a cost-effective way to increase user interaction, peer-to-peer support, and widen access to health interventions and hard-to-reach populations. Utilizing social media data for research is a relatively new idea. To address research challenges and opportunities of using social media data for health research, the social media core will host two invited speakers from UCLA and UPenn.

Presentation 1: Challenges in Digital Epidemiology: Using Social Media Mining for Health Research by Dr. Graciela Gonzalez-Hernandez

Presentation 2: Using Media Data for Monitoring and Prediction of Public Health Outcomes by Dr. Wei Wang

Moderator: Dr. Amir Karami, Social Media Core Lead 


Accessing Data Housed at SC Revenue of Fiscal Affairs Office

David  Patterson, Ph.D.
Dianne Davis

Session Summary: The SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office houses integrated longitudinal data on behalf of stakeholders from across the state. This workshop will describe these extensive holdings, the various resources that RFA can provide in support of studies and analyses, and the process through which these data can be accessed.

2020 Big Data Health Science Center Pilot Project Showcase

Yuan Wang, Ph.D.
Guoshuai Cai, Ph.D.
Homayoun Valafar, Ph.D.
Benjamin Schooley, Ph.D.
Anwar Merchant, Ph.D.
Caroline Rudisill, Ph.D.

Hear from six 2020 BDHSC Pilot Project recipients and get more information about the recently released RFP from BDHSC Director, Dr. Xiaoming Li 

Electronic Health Records Breakout Session II

Xingpei Zhao, Ph.D. Candidate
Xingying Sun, Ph.D.
Ugur Kursuncu, Ph.D.
Amit Sheth, Ph.D
Manas Gaur, Ph.D. Candidate
Kaushik Roy, Ph.D. Candidate
Chen Liang, Ph.D.

Challenges of Complex Analysis in EHR Data

Session Summary: Today, 21st century technology provides access to massive but useful health related data such as sentinel reporting systems, statewide syndromic surveillance data, disease registries, genomic databases, twitter, outbreak investigation reports, spatial and human dynamics data, which increases the challenge in how to handle these data sets.  This session focused on the new advancement in Big Data Analytics including Network-based Statistical Analysis and AI-infused Telehealth to handle the health-related big data such as biomedical data generated from medical image and Wearable activity trackers. 
Presentation 1:Network-based Statistical Analysis of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data in Post-stroke Aphasia by Xingpei Zhao
Presentation 2:Challenges in AI-infused Telehealth in the Post-Covid19 Era by Dr. Ugur Kursuncu, Dr. Amit Sheth, Manas Gaur and Kaushik Roy 
Presentation 3:Using Behavior of Wearable Activity Trackers and its Relation with HbA1c Among Type 2 Diabetes Patients (T2DM)* by Dr. Xinying Sun
Presentation 4:Emergence and Evolution of Big Data Analytics in HIV Research: Bibliometric Analysis of Federally Sponsored Studies in HIV 2000-2019 b Dr. Chen Liang

Moderator:Dr. Peiyin Hung, Electronic Health Records Core Member

SC RFA Demonstration: What is Necto?

Elizabeth Hall

Session Summary: In this session, Elizabeth Hall from the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office Health and Demographics Section, will discuss Necto -- a product used for dashboarding. 

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Robert L. Caslen Jr.
G. Thomas Chandler, Ph.D., M.Sc
Join us for opening remarks with UofSC President Robert L. Caslen and Dean of Arnold School of Public Health, Dr. G. Thomas Chandler

Statistical and Machine Learning Methods for Optimal Treatment Regime Estimation and Inference

Wenbin Lu, Ph.D.
Session Summary: Precision medicine is an emerging medical paradigm that focuses on developing the optimal treatment regime tailored for individual patients. In this paradigm, treatment duration, dose and type are tailored over time and tailored according to an individual's information, aiming to optimize the effectiveness of treatment. Several challenges emerge in deriving optimal treatment regime with the fast grow of data. In this talk, I will present some recent development in statistical and machine learning for optimal treatment regime (OTR) estimation and inference. In particular, I will discuss OTR estimation with high-dimensional predictors and consider sequential decision making problems in infinite horizon settings where the number of decision points diverges to infinity and propose a Sequential Value Evaluation (SAVE) method to recursively update the estimated optimal policy and its value estimator. Both empirical and theoretical properties of the proposed methods will be discussed.

Integrating Big Data into Theory and Applications on Health-Behavioral Change

Dolores Albarracin, Ph.D.

Operational Analytics in Veteran Healthcare

Hugh Welch
Session Summary: An overview of the challenges faced when transforming healthcare data into actionable insights and some strategies for success. This presentation will highlight the role of the Columbia VA Healthcare System Data Center in addressing the many and varied requests for information from executive leadership to front-line staff. It will touch on the employee model required for supporting the day-to-day operations of the Healthcare System as well as the implementation of advanced analytics for discovering insights obscured in the data and converting them into tangible improvements in patient care. 

Saving Lives and Livelihoods: Data and Analytics in the Fight Against COVID-19

Steve Bennett, Ph.D.
Session Summary: As we all know, COVID-19 has presented challenges to government, life science, and health care, that we haven’t seen for over 100 years.  However, at the same time, we have access to more data than at any point in human history.  This presentation will talk about how data and analytics were pressed into service to help government and health care make better, faster decisions to both save lives and help support better decisions to protect economies.  We’ll look at a number of stories from around the world that demonstrate the practical impact of putting data to work in the fight against the pandemic.

COVID-19 in South Carolina: Applying a Big Data Science Driven Approach

Bankole Olatosi, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., FACHE

Elaboration of Disease Pathways to Drive Future Requirements for Healthcare Systems

Sultan Haider,


Humana is a leading health and well-being company focused on making it easy for people to achieve their best health. Nearly sixty years as a health services organization has afforded us broad experience serving diverse populations with complex health needs, offering best practices and innovations to address individual and population health. Humana has served Medicaid beneficiaries continuously for over two decades, offering expertise in integrating physical/behavioral health, pharmacy, social needs, and community engagement. In 2020, we launched our new Medicaid brand, Humana Healthy Horizons™, and continue to create solutions that lead to a better quality of life for our members.

Humana Healthy Horizons™ in South Carolina is a Medicaid Product of Humana Benefit Plan of South Carolina, Inc.

Health Information Technology Graduate Program

This interdisciplinary program is designed specifically to produce highly qualified professionals and leaders with expertise in both information technology and health administration. The Master of Health Information Technology is available both on-campus and online.