Center for Biomedical Data Science

Abstract hexagons form a DNA double helix, suggesting how data reveals hidden patterns.

Attacking cancer with big data

The Center for Biomedical Data Science is a groundbreaking initiative to prevent and cure cancer and other diseases using data science and computation. 

Teamwork among data scientists, researchers and clinicians is essential to our mission. 

We explore normal and abnormal biological states at cell, tissue, organ, organism and population levels. We do this by analyzing large, complex, multimodal, multiscale data. We also develop, implement and share new computational analytical tools and methods.  

The center is a collaboration between the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the University of Oregon.  

Learn about the Center for Biomedical Data Science at the Knight Campus.

What we do

The data science goals include:

  • Identify biomarkers using multimodal and multi-scale data for precision early cancer detection and precision oncology.
  • Investigate cancer etiology, development and progression by modeling individual and population-level processes using machine learning and mechanistic models.
  • Build organized and harmonized large data sets to enable robust analysis and advanced data mining techniques.
  • Foster collaboration among clinicians, researchers and data scientists.
  • Construct and enhance data visualization tools to enable immersive exploration and interpretation of complex datasets.

We focus on all kinds of cancer data, including:

  • DNA and RNA sequencing data: bulk, single-cell, metagenome, microbiome and chromatin accessibility
  • Spatially resolved omics data: transcriptomics, proteomics and epigenomics
  • Proteomics and metabolomics data
  • Imaging at anatomic, mesoscale, molecular and nanoscale resolutions
  • Cellular and pathway interactions
  • Structure and interactions
  • Electronic medical records
  • Published literature

Now hiring

To serve these goals, we seek interdisciplinary scholars whose work spans diverse areas, including but not limited to:

  • Machine learning
  • Computer vision
  • Natural language processing
  • Responsible and interpretable AI-enabled health
  • Computational biology and bioinformatics
  • Systems biology and dynamic modeling
  • Molecular modeling
  • Data platforms and visualization

See our job openings.


Headshots of four cancer researchers.
Center for Biomedical Data Science leaders include (from left): Sadik Esener, Xubo Song, Emek Demir and Shannon McWeeney.

Interim director: Sadik Esener, Ph.D., provides intellectual vision, strategic leadership, and overall management for the center. He works closely with Bill Cresko, director of the UO program.

Scientific co-director:Xubo Song, Ph.D., is an expert in machine learning and image computation.

Scientific co-director: Emek Demir, Ph.D., is an expert in multi-omics and applications of computational biology.

Advisory board member: Shannon McWeeney, Ph.D., is an expert in medical bioinformatics.

Contact us

We’re eager to work with new partners and collaborators. Email

Join our team

We’re looking for smart, driven researchers to join our mission.

See our job openings.

Support the Knight Cancer Institute

Make an online gift and help us end cancer as we know it.