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D3CODE: Panel on Building Collaboration in the Middle of a Global Pandemic – Why, What and How?

David Jaffray
Senior Vice President & Chief Technology and Digital Officer at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
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About speakers

David Jaffray
Senior Vice President & Chief Technology and Digital Officer at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
Caroline Chung
Director of Imaging Technology and Innovation at MD Anderson Cancer Center
Andy Futreal
Department Chair and Professor at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
Lydia Kavraki
Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice University
Christopher Jermaine
Computer Scientist at Rice University

Clinician-Researcher with a passion to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare through innovative solutions that harness the power of open collaborative efforts and disruptive technology developments.

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About the talk

Session 12: Special Collaboration Track - D3CODE, Panel on Building Collaboration in the Middle of a Global Pandemic – Why, What and How?

Moderator: David Jaffray, Chief of Technology and Digital Officer, Department of Information Security, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

Panelists:

- Caroline Chung, Associate Professor, Director of Advanced Imaging – Strategic Initiative, Director of Imaging Technology and Innovation, Department of Radiation Oncology, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

- Andy Futreal, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Genomic Medicine, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

- Chris Jermaine, Professor of Computer Science, Director of Data Science, Rice University

- Lydia Kavraki, Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Bioengineering, ECE, MECH, Director, Ken Kennedy Institute, Rice University

The special collaboration track with MD Anderson will offer a discussion about the Data-Driven Determinants for COVID-19 Oncology Discovery Effort (D3CODE), which was established to create a cross-functional, institution-wide data science initiative linked to understand cancer in context of the pandemic.

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This is our last session for the day. Basically. This will be a panel. It's a building collaboration in the middle of global pandemic. Why wasn't her and I'd like to thank dr. David Joffrey from MD Anderson for hosting this panel. He is also the chief technology and digital officer at MD Anderson and he is really just kind of awesome ever since I've met him and I feel like he's really good at karaoke, but I'm really glad you could be here. Thank you because the karaoke

it's a really nice position to be in to bring this panel together for this discussion and The Morning has been full of a conversation around collaboration collaboration with institutes and collaborations across Institute in the middle of a pandemic. Have you heard from Andy talking about the initiatives at myself and Caroline? You mean the panel and many others have been involved in called to decode initiative initiative that we really brought a lot of different teams together

to go after an objective which is to understand how covid-19 what it was that I would affect the care of cancer patients moving forward this really drove an entire team data science. I'm sure we'll get into in the conversation and we brought all kinds of different medical disciplines together with an oncology and started sharing data James work collaboratively across the organization to get data flowing and totally new ways of thinking and approaches to collaboration in merge with the so fantastic and then we started the conversation with rice and end of the milieu of a of a

pandemic and us trying to figure out how to learn about cancer and Kobe when he connected with Angela Lydia to say If we could just take the data science capabilities that rise of what we're trying to do we could do more together and in the challenges of a pandemic and Angela came up with a brain this speed-dating Paradigm, which was illustrating this gathered Town initiative and she talked about this in her presentation led to the creation of this specific morning and the data science Conference Track. It's

changed a little bit from what was initially called out but the idea that we could people working on a heart problems and bringing dinner together and that whole conversation has led to this event. And as we were going through at there were many thoughts the people had about the brainstorming is you heard earlier different ways to figure out how to work together. And in many ways the pandemic the urgency of it gave us that Crucible at Sandy shoot Rios word crucible. Dora the Explorer how we can collaborate differently and so on the panel is addition to Angela and I we have

Caroline Chung associate professor radiation oncology Diagnostic Imaging involves Imaging friend, but more recently active on the data governance, but now I'm moving on from there in a little bit wrong possibly professor of computer science great to have you join us as well and the future holds earlier on the decode initiative partner-in-crime realizing that the Collision of ovarian cancer was up too late for us to learn to help our patients and help them put that protocol together and Lydia

kavraki the director of the Kennedy Institute. She's a professor of computer science and it has been a partner and a collaborator to eat your system and works closely with us. Everybody on the call and enjoying this conversation. I miss anybody. I don't think I did anybody so I'm not going to take us through those questions individually rather. I'm just going to open up today. You can hear me. Okay, open up the individuals to start a just talked about, you know, what's happened in the past 6 months or so or 8 months and years setting where the endemic have influenced collaboration

opportunities in if you can connect it to what we're talking about here today, that would be fantastic. So we are all together mode. The rice Campbell's to an online mode initially. We switch completely online for their remaining of the spring semester. We continue working with our students over the summer Remodeling and now most of our classes are remotely so depending actually giving us a lot of work and we had to switch out. Online working with our students of online. This is not the mode of operation that you're used to it and they know that preferred mode of

operation. So it has been a challenge from our side operation connect. Maybe not in the way that we would have liked to connect to be in the same room and talk about the same problems to face to face, but then I would have participated otherwise, however, all the people who have participated in the huge amount of work with classes and education admission at Foremost the acting new projects and it is a challenge for many people. That's enough. So, I think we're finding out

and die maker and there's an urgency from the rice faculty and students to help. We work together at during the pandemic. So I would say his being a blessing on one on one side and the students at right now. Very interesting to pass it over to the NBA champs what's changed in your world? I know you collaborate a lot scene senior. What are you saying? I'm a b I'm incarcerated interacting with patients because of virtual care. So I think I would agree with Lydia's been there are good and bad. So the whole work from home and virtual environment in this kind that I

kidding. I think trying to organize a meeting I missed multiple collaborators with a feat in itself back in the day when all of us were flying around in different time zones, and I think that the availability of everybody all of a sudden being in front of the computer all day has made has made that happen a lot quicker and I think some of these speed at which we've brought this together or even within the decoder for it is really reflected by the availability and the willingness of people to actually take engage and actually have the time to engage. I think it's gotten to the point where

we need to reset what are rules are of spinning a web meetings without necessarily considering other people schedule. Their big is gotten this pendulum has swung way over to the other end and we will probably have to find a new bow. What's overtime because I think that people are splitting and bleeding. And before you know it you blinking on your calendar, but I think at the same time I think this has helped us accelerate things. I think you know what used to take 3 months for us to schedule a meeting in person to get everyone in that room were able to appreciate that people can

connect from wherever they may be and if people are perhaps some people to have needed to travel a nextplus they're still able to connect because we are connecting virtual again that convenience of being able to do that has really helped us accelerate some of these cooperation the teeming that you see around the Cove attack works and realizing this is an urgent need Global I think has really brought people together and really take a step back from thinking about their own data and their own way of doing things that is really trying

to think outside of the box and how we communicate Frameworks to actually try to try something new and I think that you will be gathered on is a great example of trying something new France warming has also been a great example of trying something new and the whole decode Alfred of team data science add an academic institution and getting leadership to support to think about things like group authorship is something new and I think I'm hoping I'm very optimistic that will have games and hopefully take along those games and

those learnings as we move forward Ian this pandemic. Can't hear you Chris. You're not moving. Yeah, so unfortunately I lost about the last star 2 minutes of that. There was really good. I think the question is this from your perspective what you're seeing how the pandemic has changed the collaboration opportunity that conversation cross-section and your experience. What are you seeing from your work. Some of the difficulties that that we have a collaborating across the street,

but the traditional model is that there is this huge cramp up right? I meet somebody they have an interesting data set. We have a long series of meeting students could involve, you know, a PhD topic gets proposed around us and it's you know, we're talkin like three or four year window and this is how we have to work at Rice, right? Cuz our businesses is mostly graduating PhD students on teaching course of fried. And so our research has largely PhD student Groban. And I'm it is

difficult for us when something like covid-19 just pops up and demands instant action. Like I said, I really afford it exposes the limitations of the classic University Research model because often are students are engaged in other projects Riot. It's it's difficult to take a fourth-year PSU student who is smelling graduation and sort of take them off of something and put them on on on Koger than I think one thing if it's going to cause a discussion, especially like in a very traditional University like rice,

like how do you react quickly write how how is the traditional model that we have where we stick PhD student some problems kind of inadequate or something comes up like Yeah, I mean the rapid change. I think it would be a challenge and they want two things that we've been thinking about from a starting research projects prospective students. And then they don't like that and one other things we really think is interesting of the Dakota Nation. It was to start to really take away that because that was going to be a major barrier for us to make progress if we can get the

data moving and so we work I'm convinced that the valuable thing and I think it can help not just internally, but between you want to persist I'm looking for it and you want to add. And you look like you're not looking at the camera, but she might be it just be delayed. Eddie was having trouble with audio earlier. Analogy doesn't work that often. So that's one of the issues I'm having today. So in terms of operation is kind of hard to collaborate when you can't talk to you

can't see what it has to do with the ability to bring how do you bring people together really quickly? And I think that that has proven Eddie I think what you just said was very important and I'm really glad that I didn't hear you said it really quickly and I think that's a very important thing. Can you pick up again on that thread I hope manetti over We lost Andy that he's making I think is really really important and I are going to try to win. Going to try to do my best Channel my best auntie Petrillo. I will do the accent challenge

important agility and intensity. I think it's important for collaboration. I think we suffer when things take too long to happen. And yes, it's worth doing things that take time not saying that's the case but somehow if we could somehow I just reduced the latency in our interactions and whether it's the data or the meeting some of the idea that getting a meeting scheduled in two weeks, and I was trying to continue on your threat around the speed if you want to jump back in town.

We were able to bring people together and it was around, the universal acceptance set speed matters. And the notion that somehow is more important answer is is a bit of an anomaly to me. But we need to have the same idea around speed that we do for this that we bring back into the camp. We do you bring teams together having said that the one point I would bring up his act when Caroline, that's where it is because I'm all too, now to have six hours of Zoom called start and stop and that is not the definition

of collaboration your team anything that's definition of exhaustion because there is well, we have to sort of let that pendulum sort of swing back to the middle of a bit take the good but realize, you know, there's a something with the brain doesn't need to know constant stimulation. It doesn't mean That was running. I mean, there's just no time that you speak in that particular space and that's what I find. Probably the one thing we need to do if modified of it.

Echo in what actually and the increase in Caroline has said they issue of speed and how fast we can adapt and change them. Now this is covid-19. It could be something else in the future to me is very very important. And it's like MD Anderson and Rice University is criticizing mentioned already at work in very different ways. So for me, this is a wonderful opportunity to re-examine our internal structures and to resync what needs to be in place for us to be more child be able to respond to a crisis happens

now with covid-19. During our research. So how do we take something that we find in our research and push it either from Academia to A to Z to MD Anderson MD Anderson paak institutions that are organized around different goals also see that is an opportunity for us to sing as I said before about the infrastructure and the way that we need to work to achieve something which is bigger than what each of us can achieve individually Barbara umbrella protocol. We brought investigators together, but what has grown out of that really is this inspired team data

science thinking around the insta. And also the infrastructure as you say we're thinking about our data differently other David has mentioned that we were building the pieces to help us aggregate you find that data faster. So those infrastructure pieces that were building we can leverage for many many years to come and I think the same way that we're rethinking how we're thinking how we're approaching data. We need to take a step back and rethink Howard approaching know our policies and procedures in terms of collaborating across institutions. And I think once before to hear those

pieces that we could really streamlined what does collaboration really could look like moving forward. It's like we've had a little taste of what it can be like to be a job and I got it. I think it's exciting because I do think that everybody's going to become a little start-up minded you no matter where they are and I think it's addictive so I'm being as Andy point that I will take it from coming back to cancer just needs the priority and we could move faster and Eastpointe and so I'm super excited about that

kind of easy down 3 points. Another related pointer David if I can speak for a second is how do you how do you form teams that have five members from different institutions and maybe members that have a lining but a little bit different goals. And this is I think it's something that we can think because we can put in front of us has two different institutions. We work with students. We are graduating students in these are the people of that that will be working on the

projects from our side student supportal. You have a slightly different model and 444 faculty and mean we have our research and I will try to get funding for supporting our projects. So financial support for anything new is always a very very important. In mind that is how do you align your goals with the girls or somebody else when they are complementary? But of course and I don't see any something that we should assume. It happens automatically. I think people have to work on this

to make it hot. No one absolutely and how do we expose people to common problems? And how can we find out what the skills and capabilities are the the speed-dating thing that we did the other time was a great know a way to kind of start that thinking but there's so much more that can be done. I think we just kind of the iceberg there's a lot more that could be and I think they can probably part is that if we see the agility the speed with which we can work and how it changes the engagement Inspire us to try to do more in this on this in this regard.

Chrissy want to add? I was all just for the for the sake of argument also to come down in the negative side or something that I can think about is that there are different goals. I tried on different sides of the street and I think one thing that I always sort of agonized over a bit is that you know. Write public publication is important if your MD Anderson or your rice and we can all agree that having a science or nature paper is a good thing. Right but you don't even

simple things. I think we need to think through going forward write a rice PhD student Works in machine learning their dream is the publisher neurips, right but publishing a top quality medical journal. I mean, that's nice but it's not necessarily going to advance their career the same thing happens on a reverse, right? And so just simple things like Like what? What are the participants going to get out of it? I think for a faculty member. This is easier, right? But again, you know, I always come back to our Our Workers are not exclusively. But for the most part PhD students are

whining these goals is again, you know, I think it's it's just something that we need to think about it now in the next emergency it right. You know, I think that these are the consequences we need to address. This is important early on if we're going to do this team data science Paradigm who gets recognized for their contribution. If someone does a great job of bringing fantastic dataset together, how do they get recognized? This is been a think it's a cultural

shift working together can accelerate but there has to be an incentive Paradigm but not necessarily the same exact. I need that is not a great conversation that front of other things we did was to say that you're going to go for promotion at MD Anderson and you've been part of the decode team. You help build the architecture many many more people the Dakota team gets recognized the publication and you've been part of that team. We keep track of everybody who contributes

Do you understand? You raise the question the first meeting cuz you understand, you know, you will have to build their careers and someone is so far. So I love your thoughts. That is something we definitely need to consider to Christmas point. I am more Curious to hear Aziz PhD students are coming through what what types of end goals do they have what are they anticipating? You know, is it is it supposed docket MD Anderson doing a project with us during a PhD would be a great thing to do is that I guess it just depends on what their aspirations are as they're

coming through in the HD programs. Just by the way. I have a book. How do we have to collaborate better? If the people who are really going to be engaging and doing the work of a large proportion of the workforce? If you will are PhD students need to learn more about what their and goals are and how do we actually a dress that has he thinks you're the projects and what types of learnings are useful for them in terms of their ultimate career goals and directions. Coventry Pointe

address that quickly, you know, I think there are different types of PhD students are maybe and releasing computer science or thinking about a faculty position in a computer science department and certainly having Publication a top infectious disease Journal is is a desirable thing for such a student. But as I said, I mean that's not as big a deal as having a public domain specific machine learning for the infectious disease specialist applying existing methods and finding something really interesting is is maybe the best you can hope for right

but then for a rice PhD student applying existing methods is you know, Janet results in the nice domains medical publication, but not in where there were many of them with our goal would be right because it would be a map of the name of the development analogies to publish in computer science. and I think all this can be worked out but it sort of requires all the participants to kind of think what the other side order is is bringing to the table and what they need out of it and I'm not sure everyone understands that I mean, I don't

think you know, I think you're both sides need to do some learning. Can I have a question for the group along that lines? Because I think that I've talked through with trainees, you know, the fact that the world is changing very quickly instead of the traditional job domain, but you can think of in terms of Direction in career. Those walls are being broken down and didn't know that networking and collaboration is such a cheap piece you a lot of the career paths that people may eventually get into so how do we actually endorse that new way of

thinking and how do we actually support that shaping of people careers Foster better collaboration as a whole generation moving forward? At the risk of dominating conversation. I think one thing I'll say that the large majority of our graduates who do data science price, maybe when he would disagree but I would say that they end up going to Google and Facebook and these sorts of places and I think we would love to have more of them end up at MD Anderson. And if that were the case, then of course publishing in in

cancer and known it would be a benefit mean somehow. I don't know that we're necessarily happy that all of our our students go to big Tech. I mean that's great for a percentage of them. But you know, I think that yeah if we could send more of that I'm in into medicine. That would be wonderful. One thing that we can think about getting his if you can get closer to the problem. Maybe we can identify the need for new methods. I mean right now we're just happy to get some data across the street line existing. We have some very hard problems that I think

we really should get them methodologist closer to and we can make them more transparent where people who aren't the main exports can can I come in and say different way and crafts something different complex issues around? I'm sure you guys have all have seen it in different field, but I'm extremely important. I can't believe that we couldn't actually encourage new method development by some of the problems were working and I'm convinced the only way that

will get there as get a methodologist closer to the problem because I think we simplify the problems because then we can apply the methods we know exists and that's not the right place to start a nice time. Are you going to start with the real problem and work on it? So I think it's getting closer. I think it has a value that way. Car with what you just said, I think it's very important. If I can make it to komen's changing fast, and I think we should be open to a duck. Okay, I don't know how what would be the best model at this point.

But I think we should have the discussion on how we should add that and this is for us but it's also for a student of the students for many years in computer science, but now we see people who have different Industries. I'm sorry, but have different interests. And also we are seeing a shift from other factors would examine her students. I thinking a lot about privacy and F6 and ethical use of the data and how they're going to work on problems that are going to affect health and the

environment exam. What is coming in the future but I doubt one of our responsibilities to expose the students doing much much larger and brother set of problems that I can work on and I have been working in the interdisciplinary topics for almost 2 years now and I just heard everything to the attitude and I don't care about your message. I just need the date and then I know what to do with in her daughter just Spectrum. Where who is working and people need to understand the problem even if

it comes on the phone? Can you guys hear any? Don't they all nodded and regarding this whole idea that and it came up. I had even a conversation that we're moving in and I know you've all been teams together and eat. Yeah, I know and I would agree. One of the major issues we have is a parent and the complex interplay of data types and factors that we don't have the methodologies to do with them up and bring that together with the facts. And that's worse than Cancer Care and you

have a situation where we might be another interface where you happiness thousands of data points train from a sensor that all look like and that's where the business and you know, who does well who doesn't do well actually live and some of its locked in 40 years worth of experience in a medical oncologist. Medical oncologist intimate interaction in terms of the thinking about the design of the actual experiment in the measurement to analysis about any implementation on the other

side. Is there a good point? That's the whole idea. How do we how do we bring those teams Closer Closer Closer? How do we get the methodologist closer than not working on voice and driving with Google and and test but they're working on a really important problem. Yeah, that's it. That's a difficult question. Yeah, I mean I think of this is the thing, you know that like I said with the code red because the time. Is so short. It really exposes a difficult eater. I think the obvious answer is it take time and work right? You know that actually like we we I don't know if everyone

can see this but as somebody just I guess it would have christened. I got my name wrong sort of pointed out here.. You know if you if you bring a methodologist and they have to understand the domain right? That's one important thing in and. Becomes a big burden for the clinician for example, right like I need how do you teach And so I feel like the thing to do now is just to start now. I mean that you know, so that when the next the next Crisis shows up we have

we have a methodologist to understand the domain at least a bit. We have those Partnerships shut up. I don't know that there's a way to do it quickly. I feel like maybe it's just time and and hard work multiple. It creates in an ecosystem or you're innovating solving problem. But if it just lets people from different disciplines participate and that transparency on the problem. I think it was really really powerful and it must have to say it like I didn't think that was a question to ask but I think it was the

challenge the assumptions that we sit on already through an open dialogue I think is really powerful than I need a brainstorming welds rice and MD Anderson together with the brainstorm initiative and just have like you have the ability to have that conversation and thinking about but then we need a method is exist and have that conversation. Is a great conversation you guys. I heard a voice and it wasn't Caroline or Lydia's and I don't think it was Chris's of lips weren't moving or did you were like

10 minutes. The time I think we could talk for a long time. There was one question at the end of the question, which was how do we do this without wine and cheese and hopefully are we will have one in the future in this conversation will continue and we'll have it around a big brainstorming board where we can expose the problems to the Future methodologist in the computer science and data science programs that right. So I'd like to thank each of you for participating or hosting this event

over the past several hours and engaging is so actively in the in the event. Thank you to Lydia and Angela in particular. What's up with that? I'm going to drop the title to a close.

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David Jaffray
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