UB earns grant to train big data scientists studying dementia



Published October 10, 2018

Customized training program will help researchers better predict functional decline, sleep, burden on caregivers 

Award builds on a larger biomedical informatics training grant

The University at Buffalo School of Nursing received a $270,000 grant to train the next generation of biomedical data scientists in the study of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The grant, awarded by the National Library of Medicine and National Institute on Aging, aims to improve the ability of researchers and clinicians to predict the functional decline, mortality and sleep of dementia patients.

The award builds on a larger grant the UB Department of Biomedical Informatics received to train and increase research opportunities for biomedical informatics scientists.

The supplemental grant awarded to the School of Nursing will extend the focus of research opportunities to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“Few Alzheimer’s disease researchers are experts in big data science,” says Suzanne Sullivan, PhD, co-investigator on the study and an assistant professor in the UB School of Nursing.

“Our training program focuses on developing the next generation of researchers who are skilled at analyzing complex data, and providing the knowledge and opportunities for learners to create predictive models that may change the landscape of dementia treatment and care.”

These predictive models, says Sullivan, could allow health care providers to identify the risk of disease progression, potential burden on caregivers, health disparities and end of life issues affecting families coping with dementia.

Additional investigators on the grant include School of Nursing faculty Yu-Ping Chang, PhD, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor and associate dean for research and scholarship; and Rebecca Lorenz, PhD, associate professor.

The parent award is led by Peter Elkin, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.