Data Science Showcase Highlights Duke Student Experiences

Students, faculty, and staff from across Duke recently assembled for the Data Science Student Showcase, held at the Gross Hall Atrium on the morning of April 25th. Put together by the +DS Projects in Medicine and the DCRI-Forge HDS Internship Program(link is external), the event served as a platform for students to present the projects that they have been immersed in during the spring semester.

“The students have an important opportunity to learn through these experiences,” said Lisa Wruck, PhD, director of the Center for Predictive Medicine, who delivered the introductory remarks at the event. “We appreciate the contributions of the mentors, program coordinators, and the hard work of the students themselves.”

The Showcase featured the efforts of nine students with the DCRI-Forge HDS Internship Program. Through brief “lightning talks,” they were able to highlight the methods and initial findings of their research. Twelve student teams with the +DS Projects in Medicine also presented posters about their applied projects, for a total of 71 student participants.

“It’s not just applying machine learning models, but also about having a more immersive experience with real data, provenance, and applications,” said Ricardo Henao, PhD, Duke Forge principal data scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, who provided the closing remarks. “With +DS, we establish a solid background in machine learning. Then with the HDS interns, we are addressing real problems and developing the pipeline.”

The +DS Projects in Medicine is an eight-month program where students get a chance to apply state-of-the-art deep learning technology to image analysis, with the goal of assisting clinicians in making decisions on diagnosis and delivery of care. During the fall 2018 semester, students received training in deep learning with a particular focus on image analysis, constituted via the online +DS learning modules and through complementary in-person learning experiences. Thirteen student teams were formed in the spring of 2019, mentored by leading Duke Faculty involved in data science research with areas of focus in dermatology, ophthalmology, pathology, radiology, and cardiology.

The HDS Internship Program is a partnership between the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and Duke Forge. The projects that the interns are introduced to through the internship are part of the Forge Demonstration Program in which transdisciplinary teams use advanced data science methods to “demonstrate the art of the possible.” The HDS internship program is structured as a 17-month program with interns working under the direction of quantitative experts, paired with biostatistician staff mentors primarily from the Center for Predictive Medicine, and receiving dedicated technical and professional skills training.

“Our goal is to offer Duke students, both undergraduate and graduate, the important opportunity to be a part of research teams,” said Larry Carin, PhD, Duke University Vice Provost for Research.