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UF hires bioinformatics expert

While scientists and clinicians work each day on discoveries that could unlock treatments and cures for diseases, much stands in the way between their work and patients in clinics and hospitals. Often, that roadblock takes the form of the inability to crunch large amounts of data.

As part of UF’s effort to translate medical discoveries into tangible benefits for patients more quickly and effectively, William R. Hogan, M.S., M.D., has joined the College of Medicine’s department of health outcomes and policy and serve as director of biomedical informatics at UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Hogan will lead the development of a medical informatics training program and support services for researchers who need assistance with managing and analyzing large medical data sets.

“Dr. Hogan brings invaluable expertise to the table. Biomedical informatics is critical for a wide range of clinical and population health issues,” said Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., chairwoman of the department of health outcomes and policy. “His vision for the future of biomedical informatics research and education is matched with his dedication to improving patient outcomes, which makes him a perfect fit for not only our department and the CTSI, but also UF as a whole.”

Hogan’s work will fall under the larger umbrella of the UF Informatics Institute, which was created to use the unprecedented amount of digital data being generated each day to solve some of the world’s pressing problems, such as designing the next generation of transportation, forecasting crop performance and predicting disease.

“With Dr. Hogan’s expertise in biomedical informatics, we will be able to move forward our research in many areas, including genetics, epidemiology, and more,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health. “Under his leadership, our researchers will be able to use “Big Data” to solve real-world problems and provide better care for our patients.”

Previously serving as the chief of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ division of biomedical informatics, Hogan studies how knowledge is formatted and linked in computer systems and information design. Particularly, he is interested in how to give clinicians and researchers seamless access to digital data stored in various forms, which is called referent tracking.

He also focuses on research informatics, which applies data processing power to accelerate how research reaches patients and is implemented in communities. Hogan hopes to build an understanding of the field of informatics as not just a facilitator for other scientists’ research but as a science in its own right and as an important part of tracking the benefits of scientific innovation.

“The University of Florida understands that fundamental, paradigm-changing transformations in how we collect, manage and apply information to society’s problems are not only necessary but close to a tipping point,” Hogan said. “UF also has numerous, talented teams working in relative isolation on this challenge, and so being given the opportunity to lead and coordinate these groups toward a common goal is a privilege and tremendously exciting.”

Hogan, who will also have an appointment with the department of medicine, will develop the CTSI’s Biomedical Informatics Program through strategic planning and key faculty hires, as well as through facilitating collaboration among researchers and the creation of new educational programming.

“Bill’s expertise in medical informatics and experience in facilitating large-scale research collaborations will strengthen and accelerate our vision for linking data, health systems, communities and populations across Florida and nationally to improve health care and health,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., an assistant vice president for research at UF and director of the CTSI. “We are thrilled to welcome him to UF.”

Hogan earned his undergraduate degree in science from Pennsylvania State University and completed his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in 1993 before earning a master’s in intelligent systems at the University of Pittsburgh.

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