Raghu Machiraju has been named interim faculty director and co-lead of the Translational Data Analytics (TDA) program, a foundational component of the $500 million Discovery Themes initiative created by The Ohio State University to address global challenges.

Ohio State is investing extensively in data analytics, especially as it applies to core data and decision science, precision agriculture, health and wellness, and digital humanities.

Effective June 1, 2016, Machiraju began jointly overseeing TDA with Program Director David Mongeau, formerly of Battelle and Bell Labs. The partnership continues the Discovery Themes leadership model, which emphasizes both academic and business expertise.

Machiraju succeeds Philip R.O. Payne, who has accepted a position at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“I look forward to working with Raghu,” said David C. Manderscheid, lead dean for TDA and executive dean and vice provost in the College of Arts and Sciences. “As a TDA Faculty in Residence, he has shown leadership and an innovational spirit. I am confident he will lead TDA forward, enhancing the excellent trajectory that Philip Payne helped launch us on.”

Machiraju is a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and has an appointment in the SBS-Biomedical Informatics Department in the College of Medicine.  

A professor at Ohio State since 2000, he is an established and well-recognized computer scientist who considers data analysis and visualization as his primary research activities. Over the last two decades he has worked extensively in inter-disciplinary settings and contributed to creating visual analytics workflows for problems in computational fluid dynamics, computational materials, neuroscience, and cancer biology.

Machiraju’s current research interests include topics of computational biology and bioinformatics, and he has taught classes in computer graphics, data visualization and bioinformatics.  In 2015, he co-founded aBioBot Inc., a biotech startup that develops and builds an open-source intelligent and resilient automation systems that allow for the reproducible completion of repetitive and error-prone laboratory tasks.He holds a PhD from Ohio State and an ME from the Indian Institute of Science, both in computer science.

Payne, an internationally recognized leader in the field of translational bioinformatics and clinical research informatics, is leaving Ohio State at the end of June to serve as the founding director of the Institute for Informatics at Washington University.

He joined the Ohio State faculty in 2006 and served as director of the Biomedical Informatics Program at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science before being named chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics in August 2010. He has led a period of rapid growth in biomedical informatics scholarship and service, including a doubling of faculty, tripling of extramural research funding, the establishment of comprehensive educational programming, the delivery of biomedical informatics and data science shared resources, and the launch of multiple technology spin-off companies in collaboration with the Ohio State Technology Commercialization Office.  He is one of three elected fellows of the American College of Medical Informatics in the history of Ohio State.

Payne and Mongeau have jointly directed TDA since December 2014. Since then, the program has:

  • Hired 32 new faculty members across eight colleges to build on the university’s established excellence in data science and analytics research and teaching. An additional 34 new faculty searches have been initiated in 2016.
  • Completed a university-wide academic programming assessment across Ohio State’s 15 academic colleges to inform development of new graduate degree and certificate programs in data science and analytics.
  • Completed designs for a $52 million building renovation, which will become the physical hub for TDA@OhioState on campus.
  • Worked with 40 companies to fulfill their data science and analytics research and talent needs.  The work included pursuing data-enriched solutions to discover new drugs, improve crop yields, increase manufacturing efficiencies, and reduce chronic disease impacts.

The university will initiate a search for a permanent faculty director later this year.