Taylor Calibo, a medical student in the class of 2026, was interested in becoming involved in the program, in part due to his graduate research as an electrical engineer and his time spent as a nuclear submarine officer.
“When colleagues began using words like neural networks and machine learning, my ears automatically perked up,” he said.
He wanted to work alongside a physician using AI and machine learning to better understand how to combine research and data with patient care. He contacted Sanjeeve Kumar, M.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology and medical director of UF Health Pain Medicine – Springhill, who was happy to allow Calibo to work in his lab.
Calibo and other medical students are conducting supervised learning on data sets, during which an AI system is trained on how to interpret data so that it can learn and independently make decisions on new data sets in the future. The data being collected in Kumar’s lab are images of patients’ spines, which are used to create alerts for physicians on whether they are well-positioned for steroid injections.
“As a medical student, you’re gaining exposure to the process of how this research is going to take place in a clinical setting,” Calibo said.
Through the AI in medicine track of the program, Calibo and his peers have been able to connect with other UF physicians and researchers, as well as stakeholders outside the university. This spring, Calibo attended AI4Health: Improving Health Through Artificial Intelligence, the university’s inaugural AI-centered health conference, where he had the opportunity to hear from and speak with industry leaders, including a representative from NVIDIA. The California-based technology company previously formed a public-private partnership that resulted in the development of UF’s HiPerGator supercomputer.
Students, faculty and staff at the College of Medicine have additional chances to learn about the ethics and applications of AI in medicine through a series of online courses available to the community, with insights from seasoned UF Medicine faculty.
Calibo said one aspect he appreciates about the UF College of Medicine is the way it has made learning about new technologies and developments accessible to students.
“The faculty have a vested interest in both students and physicians who are attempting novel solutions to real world problems using AI, and they are enthusiastic about our project ideas and proposals,” he said. “UF also has a vast network of physicians and data scientists to help provide us with the training we need. I think all you really have to do is how you can get involved. The Artificial Intelligence in Medicine track of the Research and Discovery Pathways Program is great for that.”