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Academic Update

Volume 3, Issue 6          January 17, 2013

Welcome, SBMI Students!

Welcome to SBMIOn behalf of the Office of Academic Affairs at SBMI, we’d like to welcome you to our school. Our website has a lot of useful information for you. Listed below are resources to help you jump-start your journey at SBMI:

  • Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest for updates, industry trends, news, event information and photos.
  • The student handbook can answer any questions related to your program or forms that you may need during your time at SBMI.
  • The SBMI calendar lists research seminars and events in the Texas Medical Center area that you might be interested in attending.
  • Check the job opportunities webpage for fellowships or open research/teaching assistant positions, and join our LinkedIn group to connect with fellow students and alumni.
  • Be sure to check our course offerings and textbook list webpages at the end of each semester to get an idea which courses will be offered the next semester.
  • The student resources webpage lists all of SBMI’s technology and educational resources.
  • Want to be a student representative for our school? You can join the SBMI Student Government Organization.

Mingle with fellow students at the SBMI Spring Back to School Social on Monday, Jan. 28th from 1 -2 p.m. in the university center tower (UCT) room 1410. There will be pizza, games, prizes and more!

The Office of Academic Affairs staff can help you with any questions or concerns regarding your studies. Visit the Academic Affairs staff in UCT Suite 650, email the staff at or call them at 713.500.3591.

SBMI Mobile Apps Available for Moodle

SBMI JobsWould you like to enroll in a Moodle course, check assignment due dates or review your grade book from your smartphone or tablet? You can perform these tasks and more in Moodle on an iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPod Touch or Android-powered device. These apps are designed to enhance student mobile learning experience and not meant to replace the SBMI Moodle site. Instructors may also enjoy the convenience, although editing a course may be challenging on a small screen. Please send your feedback (positive and negative) about the apps to

SBMI Mooble for Android
SBMI mTouch for iPhone/iPod/iPad
SBMI Mooble for iPad/iPad mini

Note that independent of the new mobile apps, SBMI Moodle 2.4 has a new skin that provides an optimized interface when viewed on a mobile device screen.

Read more about the SBMI apps

USA-Brazil Exchange Program

The USA-Brazil consortium for biomedical informatics education grant is jointly administered by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Brazilian Ministry of Education, which provide grants for up to four years to consortia of at least two academic institutions each from Brazil and the United States. To apply, email a statement of interest to Dr. Sriram Iyengar.

Ryan Ray, SBMI student in the public health dual master’s degree program, stayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil for ten weeks where he worked at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) Medical School. While there, Ray researched how psychiatric clinicians viewed electronic health record implementation and learned about the technology behind the university’s mobile health initiatives.

Ray had to say many positive things about his experience in Brazil:

“In the states, I interact with a diverse group of people, but to be a visitor in a foreign country, I really gained another perspective of how to live.  I believe the fellowship experience has contributed to my overall growth as a healthcare professional because it allowed me to gain multiple perspectives on issues that impact the healthcare industry in general.”

Read more student experiences

New Faculty at SBMI

Wenjin (Jim) Zheng, PhD, comes to SBMI from the Medical University of South Carolina, where he was an assistant professor of bioinformatics.  His research interests include genomic research, systems biology and biological knowledge integration and representation. Zheng currently has three funded projects, which he hopes to more fully develop at SBMI as a contribution to the longer-term goal of personalized medicine.

  1. Developing a 3D Browser to Explore Genomes (abstract)
  2. Bridging Genomics and Medicine by Ontology Fingerprints
  3. Modeling and Analysis of Roles of Yeast Sphingolipid

Dr. Zheng will be joining us on Feb. 1, 2013 as an associate professor of biomedical informatics. In the fall, he’ll teach Introduction to Bioinformatics; subsequently, he plans to teach more courses at SBMI, which may cover areas in advanced computer science, bioinformatics and translational bioinformatics.

Peter Killoran, MS, MD, comes to SBMI from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he will continue as an assistant professor of anesthesiology. He will divide his time between the two schools and join us as an assistant professor of biomedical informatics on March 1, 2013.  At SBMI, Killoran will continue to pursue his interest in improving healthcare quality and safety through Health IT and biomedical informatics with the goal of achieving a positive impact on clinical decision making and, ultimately, patient outcomes.  In addition to his ongoing involvement in the work of SHARP-C, Killoran plans to increase his involvement with HIT and augment informatics collaborations between UTHealth and Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. 

Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Positions Available

SBMI JobsTwo bioinformatics postdoctoral positions with the School of Biomedical Informatics are available starting on Feb. 1, 2013. 

The bioinformatics postdoctoral fellow (1) will work with a group of bioinformaticians, biostatisticians, computer scientists and biologists to employ text mining, ontology and genome information to infer novel gene networks and to apply computational skills to analyze large data sets involved in human disease.

Find out more about position one

The bioinformatics postdoctoral fellow (2) will receive training in modeling and visualizing human genome in 3-dimension, and in large scale genome information integration and analysis. The ideal candidate should have exposure and past experience in structure biology, with solid C++/object oriented programming skills and the understanding of design patterns. 

Find out more about position two

SBMI through the Eyes of a Master's Student

If the video does not appear, please click here.

Jonathan Wolfarth, MA, MS, RN-BC discusses how he came into the biomedical informatics field and his experiences here at the university.

Congratulations Fall 2012 Graduates

SBMI had 13 new graduates in Fall 2012. Congratulations and good luck in your future endeavors!

New graduates include:

Jodie Condon

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

Jasmen Dorian

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

Stephen Ellwood

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

Safa Fathiamini

Master of Science in Health Informatics (continuing w/ the PhD program)

Lucas Fatoye

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

Natasha Harold

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

Priscilla Keeton

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

Vickie Nguyen

Master of Science in Health Informatics (continuing w/ the PhD program)

Christine Perez

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

Mona Sawhney

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Natasha Turner

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Matthew Vagnoni

Master of Science in Health Informatics (continuing w/ the PhD program)

Samantha Zarda

Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics

ABPM: Clinical Informatics Subspecialty Certification

The American Board of Preventative Medicine is now offering certification in the subspecialty of Clinical Informatics. The first examination to be certified will be offered from October 7-18, 2013. It will be a one day, multiple-choice exam administered at Pearson VUE Professional Centers throughout the U.S. and several International sites. The online application will be available from March 1 through June 1.

More information about the exam

New Grants Awarded to SBMI Faculty

Yang GongYang Gong has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the campus-wide Program in Interprofessional Ethics within the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics for his investigation of the ethical dilemmas associated with reporting medical errors. The purpose of this proposed project is to investigate the ethical dilemma between physicians who lead practice and nurses who usually report incidents in practice through a user-centered survey. The survey will describe the dilemma and propose technical solutions to facilitate medical incident reporting through a trustful e-reporting and e-learning environment. The survey results will serve as a foundation for an intelligent reporting system that can mitigate the system difficulty and inefficiency regarding ease of use, ease of understanding and their relations with the level of details in reporting.

Upcoming Events

SBMI Spring Back
to School Social

Monday, Jan. 28, 1 - 2 p.m, UCT 1410, RSVP
Join us for pizza, drinks, games, prizes and tasty treats!

TMC Student Social

Thursday, Jan. 24, 4 - 6 p.m., Trevisio 6th floor commons
Hor d’oeuvres – Drawings for prizes – Special guests

Health 2.0 Houston Launch Event

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m.,
Houston Technology Center  (410 Pierce St.)
Event Information

2013 AMIA Joint
Summits on
Translational Science

March 18-22, Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA
SBMI Professor Elmer Bernstam: Summit on clinical research informatics chair

Important Dates

Jan 12-18           Late registration - Late registration fee assessed
Jan 14                Spring classes begin
Jan 21                SBMI - Orientation (online)
Jan 21                Martin Luther King Jr. holiday - university closed
Jan 21-25           Class add/drop - For students who are already registered
Jan 30                Application for spring graduation - submit to Registrar's office
Jan 30                Tuition & fee payments should be made to the Bursar's office
Feb 18                Second installment payment due

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7000 Fannin, Ste. 650