This summer, WVU School of Public Health graduate student Emily Hone will represent Mountaineer Nation as one of only 15 students selected to participate in a data science program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

From June 10 to August 9, 2019, Hone will attend the NIH’s inaugural Graduate Data Science Summer Program at their headquarters in Bethesda, MD.

Open to students pursing a master’s degree in data science, the program allows participants to conduct full-time research and participate in the NIH Summer Poster Day. Each student has an individualized development plan with customized curriculum and leadership development opportunities. The immersion experience teaches students how to apply their computational skills to biomedical research to solve problems and make an impact.

Hone earned her bachelor’s degree from WVU in immunology and medical microbiology. With a strong interest in neurobiology, her research has focused on Alzheimer’s and stroke. She is currently studying the immune system’s role in the onset of stroke and in delayed parenchyma damage and how blood pressure relates to stroke outcomes.

She chose the Master of Science in Biostatistics program because it provided “an interesting twist to both research and science.”

“Data science, and especially biostatistics, plays into medicine in many ways,” Hone said. “We use it to design experiments and clinical trials. We use it to model data for publication. And we can see the emergence of medical devices that are more personal to the user.”

For example, an Apple Watch monitors heart rate specific to the user and can detect abnormalities.

“This technology is made possible through the implementation of data science,” Hone said. “In the future, I see data science being utilized more and more to develop technology that will provide medical benefits to individuals.”

New this year, the Graduate Data Science Summer Program allows students to work side-by-side with some of the world’s leading biomedical researchers while building peer networks.

“For our new – and small – Master of Science in Biostatistics program at WVU, it is an honor that one of our students was chosen to participate,” said Dr. Snehalata Huzurbazar, chair of the Biostatistics Department at the School of Public Health.

The inaugural program is a partnership between the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education, whose aim is to help students develop scientific and professional skills that will enable them to become leaders in the biomedical research community, and the newly formed Office of Data Science Strategy.