DALLAS, March 9, 2018 – A new strategic alliance will target the prediction, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases using artificial intelligence computing and big data, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) announced today.  

The AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular MedicineTM together with the DCRI’s data science team, under the direction of Michael Pencina, Ph.D., and Lawrence Carin, Ph.D., will develop and test machine learning methods on the AHA Precision Medicine Platform, which is powered by Amazon Web Services.

“Together, we will develop new methods and technology for analyzing data, and create abundant opportunities for trainees to excel,” said Jennifer Hall, Ph.D., chief of the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. “We’re pleased to work with the DCRI’s team of data science experts to develop and test emerging strategies to power machine learning.”

Machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, refers to methods that use complex mathematical algorithms that are “trained” and optimized on large amounts of data. These methods can be especially useful for problems with large amounts of data with many variables. Machine learning can enhance how massive volumes of datasets are labeled and annotated to improve researchers’ understanding of deep learning methods.

The strategic alliance will investigate how big data is managed, accessed, harmonized, searched and deposited, specific to secondary analyses of clinical databases. In addition, DCRI and AHA will leverage their grants for big data harmonization and methods to create novel machine learning tools and aggregated data repositories.

“There is great potential in machine learning and other artificial intelligence methods to discover new insights, but we have to be sensible and think clearly about how we use it,” said Pencina, the DCRI’s director of biostatistics and a professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at the Duke School of Medicine. “I think team science is the key that unlocks that potential.”

The DCRI’s more than 1,300 staff members include 76 clinicians from the Duke School of Medicine and more than 100 biostatisticians and data scientists. Both sets of experts, in conjunction with the powerful technology established by the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, offer an ideal alliance for unlocking the potential of artificial intelligence to address the challenges of preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

For more information on the AHA Precision Medicine Platform, visit http://precision.heart.org/.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – two of the leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is one of the world’s oldest and largest voluntary organizations dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, visit www.heart.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About The American Heart Association’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular MedicineTM
The American Heart Association's Institute for Precision Cardiovascular MedicineTM aims to advance the science and practice of personalized medicine to improve the cardiovascular health of individuals and populations. The Institute is working to create products and services that integrate research with more precise approaches to reverse and prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke. To further advance our mission and Institute's goals, we offer funding opportunities to scientists of all fields. To learn more or to get involved, visit http://institute.heart.org/.

About the Duke Clinical Research Institute

The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), part of the Duke University School of Medicine, is the largest academic research organization in the world. Its mission is to develop and share knowledge that improves the care of patients through innovative clinical research. The DCRI conducts groundbreaking multinational clinical trials, manages major national patient registries, and performs landmark outcomes research. DCRI research spans multiple disciplines, from pediatrics to geriatrics, primary care to subspecialty medicine, and genomics to proteomics. The DCRI also is home to the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Diseases, the largest and oldest institutional cardiovascular database in the world, which continues to inform clinical decision-making more than 45 years after its founding.

Media Contact:

American Heart Association

Webb Bierbrier: 214-673-9990; webb.bierbrier@heart.org