Yoav Gilad, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Vice Chair for Research and Chief of the Section of Genetic Medicine, has been appointed as Dean for Biomedical and Health Informatics in the Biological Science Division effective July 1, 2021.  The creation of this new position by Dean Kenneth Polonsky recognizes the essential contributions that data, information, and computer sciences make in the  understanding of biology, medicine and the enhanced delivery of health care services.

The Dean for Biomedical and Health Informatics (BHI) will report to the Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and will focus primarily on the following three mission-critical areas:

  1. Development and oversight of a strategic and forward-looking core facility to provide state-of-the-art research-informatics services, expert consultation, and flexible models for support of and/or collaboration with BSD faculty.
  2. Development of a research specialization in Medical Informatics including recruitment of a critical mass of tenure-track and qualified SOM-track faculty to drive innovative, impactful research and rigorous scholarship. With a broad focus on the enhancement of health care delivery and patient outcomes, we envision this effort will complement emerging divisional and university-wide programs focused on computational, data science, and computer science approaches to major problems in biology and medicine.
  3. In close collaboration with data, security and compliance leaders in the UChicago Medical Center and the University, development of an integrated program for the management of biomedical and health data that reflects a balance between data security, patient confidentiality, and our institution-wide commitment to generate and disseminate biomedical knowledge and to leverage this knowledge to enhance patient care.

As a new leadership position in the BSD, the role of the BHI Dean will evolve, particularly over the next 12-18 months, as Dr. Gilad meets with faculty and user groups. Working closely with group leaders in the Center for Research Informatics (CRI) and with faculty throughout the BSD and University, Dr.  Gilad will focus initially on the development of a plan to update and repurpose (as necessary) the CRI as a state-of-the-art research-informatics support facility whose staff and resources are strategically focused to support our division’s highest priorities. Similarly, Dr. Gilad will reach out to faculty leaders and stakeholders whose current or future interests entail development or application of informatics-driven approaches to patient care or the delivery of health services. From these discussions, Dr. Gilad and key faculty sponsors will present a plan to the BSD Dean to launch a new research specialization in Medical Informatics.

Dr. Gilad is uniquely qualified to advise and lead our biomedical and health informatics efforts. Trained as a molecular and evolutionary geneticist, he began his career in the UChicago Department of Human Genetics investigating the correlation between DNA sequence variation and disease. From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Gilad directed the Committee on Genomics and Systems Biology, which emerged as a training ground for students using computational genomic approaches in biology and medicine. From 2010 to the present, Dr. Gilad has led the Functional Genomics Facility, an innovative core facility that generates a majority of ‘omics’ data for researchers in the BSD and the University. Driven by a desire to translate basic discovery to improvements in health care, in 2016 Dr. Gilad moved to the Department of Medicine, where he has very quickly assembled a distinctive and robust faculty specializing in genetic medicine. Dr. Gilad is the recipient of multiple federal grants to study human disease and evolution using cutting-edge empirical and computational genomic techniques. His lab’s research focuses on understanding the genetics of complex phenotypes and the potential for personalized medicine using genomic sequencing, genome informatics, and functional genomics tools.