Data Science Roundtables

The South Big Data Hub Roundtable Series provides an open discussion forum focusing on emerging research challenges in data science and analytics, applications in verticals such as health, smart and connected cities, environment, natural hazards, energy, materials and advanced manufacturing, and cross-cutting areas such as cyberinfrastructure, privacy, and security. 

The roundtables will feature a moderator and 1-4 panelists who will provide short presentations, followed by audience questions and roundtable discussion. To view previous roundtables, visit our YouTube channel or go here for an archival listing of roundtables.

Our next event in the series will be held on
Wednesday, May 24 from noon – 1:15 P.M.

The Data Science at the Nexus of Environment and Health

To participate live via WebEx:
Join the day of the event

To attend in person:
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
100 Europa Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
5th floor in the Biltmore Room

Please RSVP to if you plan to attend in person.
Directions to RENCI

About the Event:

In this roundtable, we will discuss some of the pragmatic challenges associated with data science at the intersection of health, the environment, and mobile health (mHealth). For example, we plan to cover some of the emerging opportunities to use data science to improve ontologies, establish pervasive and persistent connections to biomedical data sources including Electronic Health Records and mobile health data, and model systems that link genotypes, phenotypes, and disease hypotheses.

About the Panelists:


David Balshaw, PhD, is Chief of the Exposure, Response, and Technology branch in the Division of Extramural Research and Training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Balshaw received training in pharmacology and biophysics from the University of Cincinnati and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Balshaw joined NIEHS as a program director in 2003, and since that time, he has managed a broad technology-driven grant portfolio which has evolved from the development of ‘omics technologies and systems approaches to novel approaches to exposure assessment and the concept of the exposome. He is the Co-Director of the Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR).



Rebecca Boyles, MSPH, is the Co-Director of Infrastructure for the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Data Analysis Center and a member of the North Carolina Health Collaborative Steering Committee. While a data scientist at the NIEHS, Boyles implemented the first pilot test of the iRODS data management system in the NIEHS Division of Intramural Research, the creation of the first data science training series, and the NIEHS 3D Printing Event, as well as consulted on many data-driven projects. She has particular expertise designing data-driven research methods and architectures to support research collaborations.


chirag2Chirag Patel
, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and an affiliated faculty member at the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH) at Massachusetts General Hospital. Patel’s long-term research goal is to address problems in human health and disease by developing computational and informatics methods to reason over both genomic and environmental information spanning molecules to populations towards a more precise medicine practice. His group develops large data analytics methods for discovery of the biology of a new disease in diverse settings such as electronic health records, insurance claims, and traditional cohorts.

About the Moderator:

ahaltStanley Ahalt
, PhD, is the director of RENCI (Renaissance Computing Institute) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a professor in the UNC Computer Science department and Associate Director of Biomedical Informatics Service of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NCTraCS). He leads a team of research scientists, software, and network engineers, data science specialists and visualization experts who work closely with faculty research teams at UNC, Duke, and NC State, and with partners across the country. 
Ahalt’s primary foci in the recent years have been on two major data science initiatives: The National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS) and the iRODS Consortium. Ahalt is also Co-Principal Investigator for the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub, an initiative launched by the National Science Foundation to foster innovation through collaboration, diversity, education, and workforce development.