Bruce R. Schatz Receives Beckman Research Award

Professor Bruce R. Schatz receives full funding for his recently submitted project: “Predicting Mortality from Wearable Devices” from the Campus Research Board. This is a great achievement for Schatz as the Campus Research Board receives requests totaling approximately $5,000,000 annually—and generally awards only one-third of that amount.

The Board has designated Schatz’s project as an Arnold O. Beckman Award. These awards are funded from the endowment given to the university by Dr. Beckman, and only the projects of special distinction or promise are selected to receive this designation. The award will be used to purchase unique datasets on physical activity from the UK Biobank. Schatz will develop predictive models of 5-year mortality from sensor data provided by 100,000 participants from this national UK health resource.

The Campus Research Board, founded in 1932, is part of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at Illinois. It supports full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty research projects and creative activities, is committed to fostering and supporting excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activities. The Board supports faculty research needs through five programs including the Research Support Awards.

Schatz describes this project, “We propose to predict your risk of dying within five years, using only the same sensors in the smartphones that everyone already carries. When successful, this will revolutionize primary care for aging populations, enabling early detection of severe conditions.  We have developed unique technologies for using wearable devices to measure walking patterns while showing such patterns suffice to predict chronic disease status. The models use machine learning on sensor data.  It is well known that walking patterns are closely related to mortality risk. The Beckman Award enables us to purchase unique datasets for analyzing walking for large populations. Thank you to the Research Board for supporting this unusual project in data science for societal impact.”

Schatz is a professor of library administration in the University Library, and a professor in the Institute for Genomic Biology, where the research will take place. He is also a professor and head of the Department of Medical Information Science in the College of Medicine, and professor of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Illinois. He was the principal investigator of national flagship NSF projects in digital libraries, based in the Grainger Engineering Library Information Centre, and in bioinformatics, based in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.  He is the author of the first technical book on using wearable and mobile devices to revolutionize medicine and public health, Healthcare Infrastructure: Health Systems for Individuals and Populations (2011).

Let’s congratulate Bruce R. Schatz for his outstanding achievement.

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