Yale and Boehringer Ingelheim have partnered to create a biomedical data science fellowship program for postdoctoral fellows. The program grants postdoctoral researchers a three-year fellowship that includes access to Yale’s robust computing resources, biomedical data repositories and faculty expertise, and Boehringer Ingelheim laboratories, scientists and leaders.
“The collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim is designed to create a world-class data science program that will drive the development of new methods and tools to analyze and interpret the many large and complex biomedical datasets that have been generated in recent years,” said Hongyu Zhao, Yale Ira V. Hiscock Professor of Biostatistics and Yale Professor of Genetics, Statistics and Data Science. Zhao is the principal investigator of the program.
With the program now in its second year, four new postdoctoral fellows – Rong Li, Dylan Duchen, Chuanpeng Dong and Shubham Tripathi – began work in September.
Li plans to analyze tumor, gene and protein data to identify more specific cancer subtypes for personalized treatment of patients.
Duchen will use graphs to model immune cell profiles in individuals and identify biological factors that lead to better treatment efficacy in patients.
Dong will use machine learning models to predict which pairs of paralogs (copies of genes with different functions) might be effective in cancer immunotherapy.
Tripathi will create a mathematical model to determine which genes and cells directly affect immune responses, with the ultimate goal of being able to modulate this response.
“These projects build on data from Yale and Boehringer Ingelheim, and the more data we share, the more we progress,” said Dr. Xinxin (Katie) Zhu, MD, executive director of the Yale Center for Biomedical Data Science and director of the scholarship program. “You can’t think of yourself as an industry or a university. Boehringer Ingelheim and Yale share the same goal of developing and retaining talent and, through this, [partnership]we find the best of the best in the candidate and continue to develop them,” Zhu said.
Dhananjay Bhaskar, a 2021 program fellow, said the program has reshaped its approach to research. “The scientific process is iterative and non-linear, and the partnership with BI [Boehringer Ingelheim] gave me insight into the unique challenges and opportunities of conducting research for industry. It was a wonderful learning experience that broadened my perspective on how computational biology research can be applied to product development, cascading to improve clinical outcomes and societal benefits,” he said. -he declares.
The focus of the fellowships goes far beyond advanced training in biomedical data science. “Of course, we will refine their [technical] skills, but that’s not the only thing this scholarship is for,” Zhu said. “We would like to prepare them to be the next generation of leaders in the field and have them serve as a bridge between universities and industry.”
Zhao sees the partnership as the start of what will eventually be many future collaborations. “I think it’s an anchor to really start bringing people together,” he said. “There are a lot of things that can come out of that.” Over the past year, Yale and Boehringer Ingelheim have already partnered on a sponsored project independently of the fellowship program.
“It’s a win-win for both Yale and BI, where the partnership is a matchmaker, a platform for people to get to know each other,” Zhu said. “And we don’t want to stop there… We want to be the bridge. We want to be the liaison. We want to build a community.
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