Donations to the Lead by Example campaign have driven a flurry of ingenuity and invention across all disciplines — a testament to the university’s status as a Tier 1 research institution. Gifts to the campaign created 127 new endowed chairs, professorships and fellowships that support faculty like Texas A&M statistician Bani Mallick whose boundless creativity and curiosity are changing the world.
Fighting Cancer With Data
Imagine the volumes of data collected on a cancer patient over time — an accounting of their medical history, lifestyle, symptoms, diagnosis, blood work, scans and treatment response. According to a study by the National Cancer Institute, information gleaned from a patient’s tumor in a clinical trial can digitally equate to one terabyte, the equivalent of 130,000 books.
“If you multiply the voluminous information by the millions of people diagnosed with cancer annually, you begin to see the incredible size of the data,” said Dr. Bani Mallick, a distinguished professor in the Texas A&M Department of Statistics who was appointed to the Susan M. Arseven ’75 Chair in Data Science and Computational Statistics in the College of Science during the campaign.
Thanks to a $2.3 million National Institutes of Health grant, Mallick has his sights set on this problem and is developing new statistical models to merge cancer-related data and analysis.
Through the use of Bayesian statistics, he is creating an assortment of novel methods to integrate large cancer data across multiple research platforms for a better understanding of cancer characteristics and behavior.
“The worlds of bioinformatics and big data are merging to discover innovative ways to integrate knowledge for cancer treatments,” he explained. “This way, we can improve its prevention, prediction and treatment. With cancer claiming the lives of so many people, it’s imperative to centralize the data we have and learn from it.”
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Where Passion Finds Purpose: The Texas A&M Foundation builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time, by uniting generosity and vision to raise and manage major endowed gifts. Learn more at https://www.txamfoundation.com/.
Written by Cathy Gordon ’79