Prof. Jenna Wiens has been selected for a 2020 Sloan Research Fellowship by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for her work harnessing patient data to improve healthcare outcomes.
Prof. Wiens’ primary research is in the development of data-driven predictive models needed to help organize, process, and transform data into actionable knowledge. As Co-Director of University of Michigan Precision Health, she has a strong track record applying this work to medical data to make better, more personalized treatment possible. Precision health is expected to help doctors customize treatments to individual patients’ genetic makeup, lifestyle, and risk factors, and to predict outcomes with significantly higher accuracy.
Previously, Wiens served as Co-Lead for Precision Health’s Data Analytics & IT Workgroup, which expanded access to data and research tools across the university with their launch of the Precision Health Analytics Platform.
Wiens is also an investigator at the Michigan Integrated Center for Health Analytics & Medical Prediction, which was awarded $1.25 million through the Michigan Institute for Data Science in 2017 to further develop medical prediction models that address complex clinical problems. As part of this center, Wiens seeks to increase the actionability and intelligibility of data-driven models in healthcare.
In 2014, she led a project to develop a data-driven hospital-specific model for estimating the probability that an admitted patient would test positive for C. difficile, a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. C. difficile kills more than 14,000 people a year. It’s difficult to eradicate and is often transmitted to patients in hospital environments.
In 2016, Wiens (as a co-investigator) and research colleagues from Michigan Medicine were awarded a $9.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to tackle C. difficile as a government-backed effort to attack antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Awarded annually since 1955, Sloan Research Fellowships honor scholars in the U.S. and Canada whose creativity, leadership, and independent research achievements make them some of the most promising researchers working today. 126 early-career scholars were recognized in 2020.