About DBMI

Columbia University’s Department of Biomedical Informatics is recognized as one of the best and oldest programs of its kind in the world. Our large training program and diverse research fields consistently attract superb candidates for advanced degrees.

Our big-picture goal is to improve health for society. At DBMI, we focus intently on discovery and impact: we develop new informatics methods, enrich the biomedical knowledge base, and enhance the health of the population.

In addition to our research interests, DBMI is also dedicated to serving the healthcare community, both locally and beyond. We provide more than $2 million in information technology services annually to New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The computing infrastructure we have developed serves as a living laboratory to explore and validate cutting-edge informatics research.

Biomedical Informatics Research Areas

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Biomedical Informatics at DBMI

Biomedical informatics is the study of information and computation in biology and health. Healthcare research is experiencing a deluge of new data — such as a patient’s genome sequence, electronic medical records, or the complete genomic and metabolic characterization of a tumor — which necessitate the development of novel methods to interrogate, integrate, analyze, and organize this diverse information. In much the way “quants” revolutionized the use of financial data on Wall Street, the biomedical community needs smart, engaged people with analytical minds who are inspired by the idea of mining and modeling biological and medical data in new ways.

Our department embraces a broad view of biomedical informatics, including all computational aspects of health care, prevention, and public health as well as biology and medicine.

DBMI straddles both the biomedical sciences (biology, medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, etc.) and the information sciences (computer science, management and decision science, statistics, biostatistics, engineering and information technology, cognitive science, operations research, physics, applied mathematics, etc.). A biomedical informatics scientist might develop the tools to elucidate the function of proteins by leveraging computational and statistical methods inspired by natural language processing, machine learning, knowledge engineering, and biostatistics.

Characterizing Biomedical Informatics

Broadly, the field of biomedical informatics can be grouped according to methods used and by domain area of application. At DBMI, our researchers are involved in all categories, working on a scale that ranges from single molecules to world populations.

Our team works along the scientific pipeline, from discovery (with genomics, proteomics, simulation of biological systems, and more) all the way to analysis (including natural language processing, knowledge management, and telemedicine, among others). We are deeply engaged in human and organizational factors as well, covering technology evaluation, decision support, electronic health records, and more.

From an applications perspective, this broad portfolio of work has our researchers embedded in some of the most challenging informatics needs of our time: studying patients and populations to improve public health; advancing the deployment of information and computation in the healthcare realm; interpreting critical biological findings; and translating biological discoveries into clinical utility.