Graduate level training in biomedical and imaging informatics is offered by the UCLA Medical Imaging Informatics (MII) Group through the Bioengineering Department of the Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Program.
Biomedical informatics sits at the intersection of engineering, data sciences, and medicine. Broadly, informatics is concerned with the acquisition, representation, storage, retrieval, analysis, visualization, and utilization of information. Biomedical informatics is the development and application of these techniques specifically to support biomedical research and clinical practice. Topics include (but are not limited to) medical knowledge representation, information extraction and structuring, information architectures, data mining/machine learning, disease modeling, and data visualization. Current NIH efforts such as the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative and Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) recognize the importance of this growing discipline, particularly in realizing precision medicine.
The first use of the term “medical informatics” is traced back to France in the 1960s (“Informatique Medicale”), with university departments around this discipline being created across Europe. In the subsequent decade, dedicated medical informatics research units were formed in the United States. Since that time, fostering medical informatics research and education has been an enduring objective of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the creation of funded training programs starting in the mid-80s.
Students entering our training programs come from a variety of backgrounds, including engineering (computer science, electrical engineering, bioengineering); information sciences; and the life and health sciences. The MII training programs are thus designed around a core curriculum that starts in the first year, aimed at providing a comprehensive, introductory background to computation, biomedical informatics, and its translation into real-world applications that enable biomedical research and patient care. This set of classes is designed to provide foundational coursework and an introduction to the breadth of biomedical and imaging informatics. Topics covered by the coursework include:
- Introduction to Biomedical Informatics
- Anatomy & Physiology for Informatics
- Medical Information Architectures & Internet Technologies
- Medical Imaging for Informatics
- Medical Decision-Making & Evaluation
- Medical Knowledge Representation
- Computational Genetics
For students entering with existing training or proficiency in topics covered by the core curriculum, faculty will work with them to recommend more advanced coursework. Additionally, during the first year of the core curriculum, MII faculty engage new trainees with research opportunities to provide exposure to different, ongoing efforts at UCLA.
With the rapid changes in research methods and developed technologies, our faculty are continually revising and updating the core curriculum to introduce newer advances and materials that prepare students to be at the cutting-edge of the discipline.