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Leadership

The Principal Investigator is Jim Brinkley, director of the UW Structural Informatics Group, and Research Professor in the Departments of Biological Structure, Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics, and Computer Science and Engineering. He is the originator and founder of the field of Structural Informatics. He pioneered the use of geometric constraint networks (a form of anatomical shape knowledge) for predicting structural characteristics of human fetuses in one of the first systems for 3-D ultrasound. He extended these methods for predicting the position of residues in protein molecules reconstructed from nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Following his PhD he pursued research at the Stanford Knowledge Systems laboratory of the Stanford Department of Computer Science. At the University of Washington he became affiliated with the Digital Anatomist project and expanded its scope by developing a research program which has established structural informatics as a sub-discipline of medical informatics. He assembled the multidisciplinary Structural Informatics Group (SIG), which integrates computer scientists, anatomists and clinical investigators. His medical training has helped him establish productive collaborations with clinical investigators, particularly in radiation oncology, neurosurgery and radiology. He actively contributes to graduate training in Computer Science and Engineering and the Division of Biomedical and Health Informatics. He is a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, and Methods of Information in Medicine.


The Co-Principal Investigator is Peter Tarczy-Hornoch, Associate Professor and head of the Division of Biomedical and Health Informatics, and Principal Investigator on the NLM Biomedical and Health Informatics Training grant. In collaboration with Dr. Pagon (a clinical geneticist) he established and continues to lead the UW informatics group in clinical genetics. He has a joint appointment in Pediatrics (Neonatology) and has close ties to both the clinical genetics and developmental biology research community as a consequence. His varied informatics background in the academic and commercial sectors spans such domains as heuristic algorithms for identification of bacteria by spectrophotometric assays, Bayesian decision support systems for pathology, real time data acquisition and control systems for hyperthermia treatment, data acquisition and modeling for mechanical and liquid ventilation, encrypted e-mail, and telemedicine. He led the initial development of the UW Web based electronic medical record, and while he continues to be involved with it, he also serves on the Clinical Computing Steering Committee of the University of Washington Academic Medical Centers. The research of his group in clinical genetics informatics focuses on clinical genetic databases (GeneClinics & GeneTests) and on data integration systems for these databases (GeneSeek). The synergy between his research and administrative roles will be a particular asset in the planning process for the new center.


Linda Shapiro is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, with a joint appointment in Electrical Engineering and an adjunct appointment in Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics. She is a world-renowned expert on computer vision and image database systems, with emphasis on model-based, structural techniques for image analysis and retrieval; thus she spans both the representation and database aspects of our research. She has authored numerous books and articles on computer vision, has been editor-in-chief of Computer Vision, Graphics, and Image Processing and on the editorial boards of several computer vision journals, has chaired or co-chaired several major conferences and workshops, and has had National Science Foundation support for her work since 1978, including three grants in the last eight years for image database research. She has actively collaborated with Rosse and Brinkley for several years on symbolic representation of anatomy, medical image understanding, computer graphics, AI and databases [11-15], and has been a co-PI on their grants. She has been an important connection to the CSE and EE departments, steering many computer science and electrical engineering students to the Structural Informatics Group.


Ira Kalet, is Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, joint with Medical Education, and adjunct Associate Professor in CSE, Bioengineering and Biological Structure. Dr. Kalet is a well-known researcher in the applications of artificial intelligence and software engineering to radiation treatment planning, and has supervised many CSE and Bioengineering students in these areas. He is director of the recently established UW graduate program in Biomedical and Health Informatics, and the PI of a UW University Initiatives Fund (UIF) grant that provides financial support to this program. Dr. Kalet’s expertise in initiating and managing the degree program, together with his intimate knowledge of the educational resources available, will be invaluable for planning the Center, and specifically, for organizing its educational needs.


John Gennari is Assistant Professor in the Division of Biomedical and Health Informatics (BHI). Dr. Gennari brings to the team expertise in knowledge representation and knowledge-based systems. After receiving his computer science Ph.D. in the area of machine learning, he worked for six years as a key member of the Protégé team at Stanford Medical Informatics. In addition to being one of the Protégé developers, Dr. Gennari has published in the area of ontology mappings and reuse. He continues to collaborate with Stanford and the Southwest Oncology Group in the area of knowledge-based systems for clinical trial protocols. Dr. Gennari co-chairs the BHI curriculum committee. Finally, Dr. Gennari has prior experience working with large inter-disciplinary teams aimed at knowledge sharing: At Stanford, he worked as a member of the NLM-funded Guideline Interchange Format (GLIF) project, and while at the University of California, he participated in the NIH-funded Trans-disciplinary Tobacco Use Research Project (TTURC).


Alon Halevy (until recently Alon Levy) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. A major thrust of his work combines techniques from the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Database Systems. His earlier work focused on the semantic issues of data integration. While at AT&T Laboratories, Halevy developed the Information Manifold System that introduced the method for specifying semantic relationships between data sources, known as local-as-view. He is currently PI on two NSF grants: Flexible construction and management of web sites and Efficient Query Processing for Data Integration. The latter grant developed techniques for adaptive query processing – while traditional database optimizers make heavy use of statistics on their base data (e.g. cardinalities, selectivities), a data integration system may not have those meta-data about its sources. The adaptive query processor he developed starts with an initial query execution plan, which is refined and optimized as data stream in and meta-data are accumulated. As part of the data integration work he developed the Tukwila system, which employs the novel Xscan operator, which applies complex constraints to data as they stream in from the network (using techniques from pipelined relational query processing applied to the context of XML to obtain a scalable query processor). Finally, he developed scalable methods for query reformulation for data integration systems.


Sherrilynne Fuller is Director, Health Sciences Libraries, and Professor and founding head of the Division of Biomedical and Health Informatics. She is also an elected member of the American College of Medical Informatics, currently serves as a member of the President's (White House) Information Technology Advisory Committee, and previously served as a member of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine. Her expertise in organizing large projects such as IAIMS, as well as her experience as the founding head of DBHI, will be essential to the planning process for the Center. In addition, her research interests in knowledge discovery, information retrieval and visualization, her affiliation with the Information School, and her widespread contacts with both users and developers of biomedical information systems, will be very valuable to the Center as a whole.


Cornelius Rosse brings expertise and experience to the Center in basic biomedical and informatics research, education and academic administration. His work is documented in three textbooks, over 100 journal articles, reviews and invited chapters. With joint support from the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Energy he established the Biological Structure Cancer Center, and later the Biomolecular Structure Center. In the late 1980s, he switched his focus of research interests from biology to anatomical knowledge representation and founded the Digital Anatomist project. The project continues to exert considerable influence, most notable of which perhaps is the prototype role it has played for the Visible Human project, and the Digital Anatomist Foundational Model of Anatomy. In the course of his long tenure at the University of Washington, and as a consequence of the multiple responsibilities he has assumed, he has established an extensive network in the scientific community and among academic administrators, which will undoubtedly prove to be an asset in the process of establishing the Interdisciplinary Center for Structural Informatics. Recently Rosse retired from the faculty in order to be able to devote all his energies to research in structural informatics.