Sylvia Plevritis appointed chair of biomedical data science

Sylvia Plevritis, director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology, has been tapped to lead the Department of Biomedical Data Science.

Sylvia Plevritis

Sylvia Plevritis, PhD, professor of biomedical data science and of radiology, was appointed chair of the Department of Biomedical Data Science, effective April 1.

 “An accomplished scientist, researcher and educator, Dr. Plevritis’ collaborative vision, depth of expertise and leadership skills make her uniquely qualified to lead the department as it develops novel computational and statistical methods that transform health,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “Dr. Plevritis has focused her research on computational modeling of cancer biology and cancer outcomes, and her findings have forged new pathways that have advanced the medical community’s understanding of the disease.”

She replaces Carlos Bustamante, PhD, the department’s inaugural chair, who is taking a leave of absence from Stanford to join a venture capital firm that invests in health care, life sciences and technology.

Plevritis is the director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology and of the Cancer Systems Biology Scholars Program, and a principal investigator of the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network. She has served as the co-section chief of Integrative Biomedical Imaging Informatics at Stanford for the past 10 years.

Outside Stanford, she serves on the scientific advisory board of the National Cancer Institute and is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a distinguished investigator with the Academy of Radiology Research.

Plevritis earned a PhD in electrical engineering, with a concentration on MRI imaging of tumors, at Stanford in 1992 and a master’s degree in health services research, with a focus on cancer screening evaluation, at Stanford in 1996.

Her lab investigates cancer systems biology, parsing the molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and cancer outcomes through integrative computational modeling. 

As the new chair, Plevritis said she has two overarching goals that she wants to pursue in collaboration with the faculty of the department: further enhance the educational mission through direct connections with the biomedical informatics graduate program, and continue to deepen collaborative research opportunities for the department as a whole.

“As biomedical research increasingly turns to data sciences for answers, there’s an opportunity to build new approaches to analyze, visualize and derive insights from complex data sets,” Plevritis said. “Right now, we’re at the center of a tremendous revolution where we can use these data and insights to think about the whole person, how to maintain health, quickly identify early signs of disease and treat disease with the right therapies at the right time.”



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