Faculty Spotlights


Enabling research @ UF Family Data Center

Billions of rows of data that is subject to specific protections under federal and state laws…UF’s Institute for Child Health Policy & the Family Data Center leverages this incredible data volume, often referred to as “Big Data”, to investigate ways to improve healthcare delivery in Florida. But first, staff must ensure the records they are entrusted with are safe from exposure.

Dr. Mildred Maldonado-Molina is leading the efforts at the Family Data Center. She worked closely with UFIT to develop a solution that works for research while also compliant with all information security and privacy laws. A scientist, she and her team did not have the time or expertise to build the necessary computing infrastructure. Roland Estrella, manager of clinical research for the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, summarizes what was built:

“Working with UFIT, the Family Data Center developed a robust computing environment. We have on-demand access to data from multiple state agencies and the capacity to process billions of medical and administrative records under strict federal information security guidelines.”

Source: UFIT News, 4/19/2018



Delaying or preventing dementia: Dr. Woods leads multi-university clinical trial

For me, this has always been about novel ways to help people. . . .
Aging is relevant to everyone. Some diseases affect 1 percent of the population, others impact 5 percent. But aging, God willing, affects all of us.”

– Dr. Adam Woods

Walking across the University of Florida’s Health Science Center campus, Adam Woods cites a sobering statistic.

“By 2050, the U.S. population over the age of 65 will double,” he says. “We’re simply not set up as a society to house and treat an exponential growth of dementia patients.  Economically, our healthcare system is unable to absorb that impact.”

Woods, an assistant professor of clinical and health psychology and the assistant director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory, is looking at ways to delay the onset of dementia, or just preventing people from getting it all together.  Besides the obviously devastating diagnosis for a patient and their loved ones, there are the cold, hard facts of caring for someone with dementia: the astronomical financial costs involved. […]

>  Continue reading. . .


Identifying damage in the brain’s superhighway

UF researchers have developed a template showing the brain’s superhighways and how they are impacted by a stroke. The brain images required to create the template were processed on HiPerGator.

“We’re interested in the structure of the brain after a stroke,” said Stephen Coombes, assistant professor of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. “Collecting and analyzing images of brains from people that haven’t experienced a stroke helps us track the different motor pathways in the brain; sort of a ‘Google Maps’ for the brain’s corticospinal tract.”

The benefits of mapping the corticospinal tract — it’s a superhighway for movement — can have a significant impact to the care and recovery of stroke patients.

“Knowing which part of the tract is damaged may be extremely helpful in predicting recovery after stroke,” notes Coombes. “Physical therapists can also use this information to prescribe more individualized rehabilitation exercises.”

Utilizing 3,000 HiPerGator cores, Coombes said Dr. Derek Archer’s imaging needs were completed in three months. Without HiPerGator’s processing power, analyzing the data on a single computer would have taken an astounding 42 years of processing time. For more information about Coombes’s and Archer’s work on the corticospinal tract template and its applied use capabilities, visit the Laboratory for Rehabilitation Neuroscience web page.

Source: UF News, Nov 17 2016



Bringing genetic information into crop models


Using HiPerGator to work with social media big data


Reducing loss of life and property during extreme wind events



Understanding sources of variability in how people respond to medications




Using biological signals to establish individual identity