Dr. Bardia Yousefi is one of the newest faculty members appointed to the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s B.S. in Biocomputational Engineering (BCE) program at the Universities at Shady Grove. Dr. Yousefi holds doctoral degrees in Intelligent Systems and Electrical Engineering.
We sat down with him to get his perspective on this burgeoning field, and what the future could look like for BCE graduates.
Tell us a little about yourself, and how your career inspired you to join the University of Maryland’s Biocomputational Engineering (BCE) degree program faculty.
I am excited to be a part of the BCE program. I recently joined this program at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) after my work at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
I have more than 10 years of experience in pattern recognition, data mining, and machine learning (ML). I was fascinated by the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine when I was a student, and it has come a long way.
In the past, it was challenging to find a subject that merges both AI and medicine/biology and an individual needed to choose one as a subject to study and research the other subject to fulfill the dream. For example, if you wanted to do ML and AI, the most effective path was through studying electrical engineering and computer science. But in doing so, you would have distanced yourself from biology and medicine — and catching up with these subjects was never easy. The same is true for those in the biomedical engineering field who would want to keep up with ML and AI — doing so would require a lot of extra independent study.
BCE is a very interesting program, as it is the first time such a curriculum is organized to bring biology and data analysis together. BCE trains students with the fundamentals of biology and data mining across the broad spectrum from the very beginning, and it bridges the gap between biology and AI. Students learn biology and conduct laboratory work while learning how to program and incorporate statistics, ML, and data mining into their research. This program is designed to immerse students in the fields of bioengineering and data science simultaneously, which I believe is the future of the medical/AI field.
Biocomputational Engineering is an up-and-coming field merging bioengineering with computation and data science. For prospective BCE students — why now?
The best way to answer this question is to refer to statistics in the job market.
According to LinkedIn’s U.S. Emerging Jobs report, the data mining and AI field has grown by 350 percent since 2012 while there are limited qualified candidates who can fill these job openings (~ 35,000). Among them, unfortunately, only 3 percent of U.S.-based data scientists work in the health care/hospital industry — there is an unequivocal and immediate need for more trained data mining experts in the field.
Our BCE program significantly contributes to filling this gap, as our graduates will have immediate employment opportunities spanning various industries.
What excites you most about this new program?
I am excited that this marks one of the first programs of its kind. Our graduates are going to be well prepared for the current and future demands of industry and academia. From the very beginning, I had no doubt that this is a brilliant program that will benefit our community and help shape the future of the health and AI fields.
Are you a student who is looking to work at the nexus of human health research, artificial intelligence, and big data?
By enrolling in the University of Maryland’s Biocomputational Engineering degree program, you’ll work toward your bachelor’s degree while studying at The Universities at Shady Grove campus – home to the new, state-of-the-art Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility. There, you’ll earn your degree from the A. James Clark School of Engineering while working alongside other biocomputational engineering students, as well as students from more than a dozen University System of Maryland STEM programs!
The best — and easiest — way to initiate the Biocomputational Engineering degree application process is to book a meeting with our program coordinator, Emily Bailey, who can walk you through your personalized pathway — especially if you’re interested in enrolling in the fall of 2021 or spring of 2022.
Looking to apply for Fall 2021 by the June 1st transfer deadline? Not to worry — you can still book a meeting time with Emily ahead of June 1st, but you need to act quickly!