July 5, 2022 — The newest group of Ph.D. candidates at the UF College of Medicine can now collaborate with some of the university’s preeminent researchers in artificial intelligence to become immersed in the burgeoning field during their graduate studies.
The Emerging Research Scholars-AI PhD Program, which will introduce its first cohort of about 10 students this fall, is an initiative being developed under the research pillar of the UF College of Medicine strategic plan created by Dean Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A. The program was developed under the Office of Research Affairs and will be managed under the office and Azra Bihorac, M.D., M.S., senior associate dean of research.
Students in the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences who are interested in pursuing bioinformatics may join the Emerging Research Scholars-AI Ph.D. Program and receive additional support in the area of AI for the first two years of their studies from the Office of Research Affairs. Participants will learn the essentials of AI in medical research from UF experts who are already leading its development and implementation and undergo training to develop communication skills and master grant writing.
The program is comparable to a training grant, said Sara Burke, Ph.D., an associate professor of neuroscience and associate director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory.
“It is designed to provide the fundamentals of AI by developing a peer network, working with investigators who are using AI at UF already and taking additional courses that can enhance their skill sets,” said Burke, who is on the program’s advisory committee. Nancy Padilla-Coreano, Ph.D., and William Hogan, M.D., M.S., are also co-chairs on the committee.
In addition to being mentored by College of Medicine AI researchers, the students will participate in an AI boot camp, directed by Benjamin Shickel, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, to learn practical fundamentals like coding and team science — the scientific philosophy of using cross-disciplinary collaboration from diverse fields to solve complex problems.