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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Integrating Data from Multidisciplinary Research, Session I: Introducing the Big Picture
Sponsored by: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program (SRP)
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Presentation Overview:

This webinar series explores challenges and opportunities for integrating datasets to solve complex environmental health problems. During this first session, speakers will introduce and discuss the concept of big data as it relates to environmental health science and provide examples of current initiatives.

William Suk, Ph.D., Director of the Superfund Research Program (SRP), will describe data diversity within the SRP and the prospect of integrating multidisciplinary research data to better understand human exposure and health outcomes, and to reduce hazardous exposures.

Allen Dearry, Ph.D., director of the Office of Scientific Information Management at NIEHS, will discuss how NIH as a whole is beginning to address issues related to big data, including the trans-NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, and how NIEHS is dealing with aspects specifically related to environmental health. Biomedical research is increasingly a digital enterprise. Digital assets, which include data (of various types), software, workflows, publications, and more, not only increase the pace of the scientific process, but also allow connections to be made and patterns to be discovered that were previously hidden. As biomedical data and other digital assets become larger, more numerous, and more distributed, and analyses become more complex, a connected digital enterprise will become essential for enabling progress.

Steven DiMarco, Ph.D., Professor of Oceanography and Ocean Observing Lead at Texas A&M University, will present how international initiatives in Ocean Observing Systems are producing global data at unprecedented rates in the Geoscience disciplines. He will also describe how these data are being used to address ocean impacts on human health and society like harmful algal blooms, coastal hypoxia, ocean acidification, oil spill response, and hurricane preparedness.

David Kaeli, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University and Leader of the PROTECT Data Management and Modeling Core, will describe his team's work to collect, clean, secure, maintain and analyze data from the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PRoTECT). PRoTECT's mission is to identify links between contaminants and pre-term birth in northern Puerto Rico.

Presenters: Instructors: Moderator:
  • Michelle Heacock, Ph.D., Health Scientist Administrator, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (
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