Becker Library formalizes partnership with Institute for Informatics (I2)

Becker Medical Library has provided bioinformatics services to the Washington University School of Medicine and medical center community dating back to the 1990s. This history led to a natural partnership with the Institute for Informatics (I2) when the institute was established in 2016 – a partnership now formalized to provide faculty, staff and students with a complete spectrum of informatics knowledge and tools on this emerging field that translates big data into actionable knowledge.

Philip R.O. Payne, PhD, an internationally recognized leader in informatics and the founding director of I2, is one of the key stakeholders in driving this partnership. “Becker Library has a long history of supporting informatics on campus. Co-investing in the next generation of scientists with the library is critical to all big data initiatives underway and will continue to foster collaboration across informatics science, education, and practice,” Payne said.

The services offered through this partnership will complement Washington University Libraries’ data services offerings and create opportunities for the libraries to share their data science expertise and best practices with the WUSM and BJC communities.

As part of this partnership, Becker Library has created the Division of Data and Research Computing, to be led by Marcy Vana, PhD. Vana, along with Becker Library Senior Support Scientist Maze Ndonwi, PhD, has championed the library’s goal to create an “onramp” to informatics by fostering a long-term partnership with the Center for High Performance Computing, and worked to develop a popular series of workshops to introduce the campus research community to research computing basics.

Becker Library is hiring an additional senior support scientist who will work with Vana and Ndonwi to expand the library’s offerings to include data services. The position is posted on the university website (https://jobs.wustl.edu/, Job ID 42143). Members of the university community are encouraged to apply or forward the posting to qualified candidates.

The partnership between I2 and Becker Library not only furthers objectives in both entities’ strategic plans, but also reflects the National Library of Medicine’s strategic commitment to “bring its research focus in information science, informatics, and data science to meet the challenges of this rapidly changing biomedical space” (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/plan/strategic_planning.html).