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Licong Cui, PhD awarded three grants to advance clinical informatics applications

Licong Cui, PhD Assistant Professor
Licong Cui, PhD
Assistant Professor
Licong Cui, PhD awarded three grants to advance clinical informatics applications

Over the course of the past four months, Licong Cui, PhD, UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) assistant professor, has been awarded over $2.8 million in research grants. All three grants were awarded by various institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) but center around one key research focus: building resources to enhance the practices of both clinicians and researchers.

Cui says “I am passionate about finding solutions to data science problems in biomedicine. All of the grants I have been awarded in 2020 will help me develop methods and create tools to aid care providers and other researchers in enhancing patient care and research practices.”

The first R01 grant Cui was awarded this year is worth $1.72 million and was received in May. With that grant, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Cui will focus on the creation of risk assessment tools to aid clinicians in better preventing Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). In August, Cui earned a $662,645 R01 grant from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to generate an auto-suggestion framework to augment the quality of biomedical terminologies towards enhancing clinical queries over electronic health records. The National Institute on Aging awarded Cui her most recent grant earlier this month. The work of that $429,000 R21 grant will focus on developing methods and tools to streamline the process of data access and interaction while conducting Alzheimer's disease research. 

“Dr. Cui joined SBMI in January of 2019 and has made a sizeable contribution to her field of research thus far,” noted Dean and the Glassell Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Informatics Excellence Jiajie Zhang, PhD. “She is a very productive rising star with a promising future in her ontology research pursuits. I look forward to her continued advancements as she builds tools that solve numerous data problems and care deficiencies.”

Cui earned her doctorate in computer science from Case Western Reserve University in 2014. Before arriving at SBMI, she spent several years as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and a member of Institute for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Kentucky. Her primary research interests focus on ontologies and terminologies, big data analytics, neuroinformatics, and health information extraction and retrieval.

Each grant includes collaborative work with co-investigators from UTHealth: McGovern Medical School Professor Samden Lhatoo, MD, McGovern Medical School Professor Paul Schulz, MD, SBMI Professor Cui Tao, PhD, and GQ Zhang, PhD, a professor with joint appointment at McGovern Medical School, SBMI, and the School of Public Health and vice president and chief data scientist at UTHealth.

“My ultimate goal with each grant is to advance informatics applications in disease-specific areas through data science innovation,” Cui said. “I hope to continue leading these types of research endeavors and working with my colleagues to harness big data that will ultimately impact healthcare practices.”

Cui is actively searching for motivated researchers to join her team. For more information on her research, please visit her website:

published on 09/21/2020 at 12:20 p.m.

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