I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Computer Science Sohini Ramachandran as director of Brown’s Data Science Initiative (DSI), effective July 1, 2021, a role she has held on an interim basis since August 2020.
Professor Ramachandran brings extraordinary strengths to this role, as many of you have discovered over the past year. As permanent director, she will continue her work to advance DSI’s mission and impact by leveraging Brown's strengths in data science across campus to provide a hub for research and education in this area. To this end, she will be partnering with departments to encourage innovative approaches to the incorporation of data science into teaching and research and, in this and other ways, working to promote data fluency among students across disciplines and throughout career stages.
Such efforts reflect a larger vision. In building and sustaining true interdisciplinary collaboration in data science research across our campus, DSI, guided by Professor Ramachandran, will strengthen Brown’s leadership not only in methods development for data-driven research but also in tackling systemic societal problems such as preventing the spread of misinformation, developing effective and accessible personalized medicine, and designing technology that serves the disenfranchised.
Professor Ramachandran joined the Brown faculty in 2010, and in addition to her appointments in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Computer Science, she has also served as director of the Center for Computational Molecular Biology since 2017.
Her research in theoretical population genetics is emblematic of Brown’s interdisciplinary approach, drawing on mathematical modeling, applied statistics, and computational approaches to make inferences about deep human history and the evolution of human traits and diseases from whole genomes. Recently, her research program has developed new lines of inquiry in cancer genomics and in characterizing disease-associated genetic mutations, making results applicable to diverse human populations and individuals of mixed-ancestry.
Prior to joining Brown, Professor Ramachandran was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Her peer-reviewed publications have appeared in a range of journals, including Cell, Nature Communications, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and Genetics. She is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, the recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award, along with holding multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health. She is Program Director of the NIH-funded T32 Predoctoral Training Program in Biological Data Science at Brown University. In 2019, she was a Natural Sciences Programme Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala, Sweden, and was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), nominated by the NIH.
Professor Ramachandran earned both her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and her undergraduate degree in Mathematical and Computational Science from Stanford University.
Please join me in congratulating Professor Ramachandran on this appointment. I look forward to working with her in this role.
Richard M. Locke, Provost