Leader In Medical Informatics Research Joins Ohio State, OSC

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Apr 9, 2001) — 

 A Johns Hopkins scientist recognized as one of the world's foremost experts in high performance computing has been recruited to give The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health and OSC (Ohio Supercomputer Center) a leadership role in the new and rapidly expanding field of medical informatics.

Dr. Joel H. Saltz will chair the newly formed Department of Medical Informatics, a burgeoning discipline that integrates information research and management into the practice of medicine, and provides scientists with the means to obtain and share concise data needed for furthering research initiatives. His appointment was approved April 6 by The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.

Recruited by Dr. Fred Sanfilippo, senior vice president for Health Sciences and dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health, Saltz is one of several high-caliber researchers hired in the past two years by Ohio State to create and spearhead one-of-kind research programs.

Saltz holds a dual appointment as senior fellow at the Ohio Supercomputer Center, and appointments in the Department of Pathology and Department of Computer and Information Science. He also will serve as chief information officer and associate vice president for health sciences.

At Johns Hopkins University, Saltz was a professor and director of the division of informatics in the Department of Pathology. He held a second appointment at the University of Maryland where he was director of the high-performance systems software laboratory. He has a medical degree in pathology and doctorate in computer science, both from Duke University.

Dr. William E. Kirwan, president of The Ohio State University, said information technology has opened up a myriad of new opportunities in research, education and patient care.

"Our future as a premier teaching and research university is largely dependent upon our ability to develop leading-edge applications in information technology," said Kirwan.

"We're moving into an entirely new era of research and learning, and informatics will cross many disciplines," he added. "Perhaps the area where the greatest advances will be made in coming decades is medicine, and Joel Saltz is certainly the person to put us on the forefront in the use of this powerful technology in the medical sciences." 

Much of Saltz's research has been devoted to developing techniques and tools for high performance computing and utilizing the innovations for teaching and research, including studies that combine clinical, laboratory, radiology, genomic and proteomic information. He also has developed innovative techniques to support and manipulate large datasets, and has discovered novel methods for managing distributed collections of programs and databases.
His position with OSC will highlight his skills in high performance computing and medical data mining.

"We welcome Dr. Saltz's partial appointment with OSC (Ohio Supercomputer Center)" said Charlie Bender, executive director. "His international recognition and collaborations in data manipulation and large scale storage will allow us to broaden our National Science Foundation and Department of Defense programs."

During the past three years Saltz and his team at Johns Hopkins have designed a software system application termed "Virtual Microscope" that provides realistic digital emulation of high power light microscope slides. The software is designed to mimic the behavior of an actual microscope, complete with varying stage motion and changing magnification. Sanfilippo said Saltz is considered by many people to be among a select group of "architects" for medical informatics.

"It's very clear informatics technology is changing the way medicine around the world is practiced, and Joel is the standard-bearer for this movement," said Sanfilippo. "The Department of Medical Informatics will have considerable impact on the work of our faculty researchers and in many ways determine their success and that of the university as it continues to develop into one of the country's more active research campuses."

Sanfilippo said he selected Saltz as chair of the newly formed department because of his achievements, leadership and potential.

"There is no doubt Joel is a rising star in this field who will continue to excel in academic service as a researcher and educator," he added.

Saltz is a highly-funded researcher and during the past five years he has been the principal investigator on 11 grants with funding in excess of $4.5 million, and a co-investigator on eight additional grants totaling nearly $5 million. He has authored or co-authored approximately 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals and authored 11 book chapters. In addition, he is frequently an invited speaker at conferences and symposiums around the world.

He currently serves as a consultant and member of the Board of Councilors to the National Institutes of Health's division of computer research and technology. Saltz's achievements are also widely recognized by peers in the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure where he serves on the executive committee.

He has been an assistant professor at Yale University where he served as lead computer scientist for the Institute for Computer Application in Science and Engineering at NASA's Langley Research Center, and a professor in the department of computer science and Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland. He also was a professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

As professor and chair of medical informatics, Saltz will collaborate with researchers throughout the university, including engineering, biological and physical sciences, to develop sophisticated systems to support diverse research pursuits.

About OSC
OSC is Ohio's flagship center for high performance computing (HPC), networking, educational outreach, and information technology. OSC empowers our academic, industrial, and government partners to make Ohio the education and technology state of the future.

About OSU's College of Medicine
The Ohio State University College of Medicine includes a school of public health, school of biomedical science and school of allied medical professions. It has highly regarded programs in research and physician training with more than 1,000 faculty members. There are approximately 800 students at the college pursuing medical degrees, and 570 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Ohio State University Medical Center has consistently been named one of America's best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report magazine.