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School of Medicine Greenville Showcases Research at the 5th Annual National Big Data Health Science Conference

Big Data has the power to revolutionize healthcare. The National Big Data Health Science Conference, hosted by the USC Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC) on February 2-3, celebrated its fifth year and was at the forefront of this healthcare innovation.

SOMG participated in two significant presentations at this year’s conference, which brings together luminaries from academia, industry, government, and healthcare systems to explore the transformative potential of big data in improving healthcare.  

It was exciting to engage with some of the brightest minds in research and gain invaluable insights into the growing field of medicine.

– Zoe Sanders, SOMG second-year medical student

Zoe Sanders, a SOMG second-year medical student mentored by SOMG Associate Professor Dr. Jennifer Grier and Assistant Professor Dr. Debbie Barrington, shared her poster presentation titled “Severity Score Variability for Pediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection Severity: A Systematic Review” and received an award for the “Best Poster Presentation from an Emerging Scholar.” The work of this team on the research project — which included second-year medical student Jacob Estrada and first-year medical student Kenny Nguyen — exemplified the dedication to excellence and innovation that defines the School of Medicine Greenville.

“Presenting our research on RSV infections and severity scoring tools at the BDHS Conference was a special experience,” said Sanders, the lead author on the presentation. “It was exciting to engage with some of the brightest minds in research and gain invaluable insights into the growing field of medicine. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to contribute to advancements in medicine, especially in the post-COVID world where big data integration offers so many new avenues for improving patient outcomes. Our findings hold a lot of promise in aiding clinicians in making informed decisions and it has been amazing to witness this project evolve from the beginning. My understanding of research has blossomed, and this project has helped to shape my future as a physician. I’m grateful for the guidance and dedication of Dr. Grier, Dr. Barrington, and the rest of the team and I know we are all eager to see where this research leads us in improving pediatric healthcare.”

Dr. Anna Blenda, Professor and Director of Research Strategy and Operations at the USC School of Medicine Greenville, also presented on the topic of the “Integration of Molecular and Clinical Data from Cancer Patients” during the Genomics Core session. Her oral presentation showcased research at the intersection of cutting-edge science and clinical applications, which was conducted by several of her mentored medical students at SOMG. The presentation included research on galectin and glycomic profiling of cancer patients, as well as the impact of DNA mutations landscape on galectin protein landscape. Additionally, the use of bioinformatics tools and AI was discussed for the integration of molecular and clinical data.

“The School of Medicine Greenville and our Office of Research place significant emphasis on medical student research, and witnessing students’ work shine at a prestigious national conference is exceptionally rewarding,” said Dr. Blenda. “More than 90 percent of SOMG medical students engage in research, particularly during the summer SOARinG program after their first year of study. They are actively contributing to studies that have the potential to enhance the lives of many.”

The School of Medicine Greenville is focused on improving patients’ treatments. Research projects — such as those presented at the conference, which implement Big Data tools — are poised to significantly advance medical knowledge and improve patient outcomes. Ultimately, the integration of Big Data analytics into medical research opens unprecedented opportunities for enhancing diagnostic accuracy, personalizing treatments, and predicting health trends.

The National Big Data Health Science Conference continues to serve as a beacon of innovation, inspiring stakeholders to harness the transformative power of big data in shaping the future of healthcare.  

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.