Data Science Initiative Interim Director
I am writing to announce the appointment of Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Sohini Ramachandran as interim director of Brown’s Data Science Initiative (DSI). She will succeed Professor Björn Sandstede, who is assuming the role of chair of the Division of Applied Mathematics. Reporting directly to the provost, Professor Ramachandran’s term as interim director will run through June 30, 2021.
Building on the exceptional work that Björn Sandstede accomplished during his service as leader of DSI, Professor Ramachandran will advance DSI’s mission and impact by leveraging Brown's notable strengths in data science to provide a hub for research and education in this area. Among her responsibilities will be to partner with departments across campus to encourage the integration of data science into teaching and research in new and creative ways, and to promote data fluency in students studying in a variety of disciplines and at a range of career stages.
Professor Ramachandran brings tremendous strengths to this role. She joined the Brown faculty in 2010, and in addition to her appointments in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Computer Science, she has served as director of the Center for Computational Molecular Biology since 2017. She has been deeply engaged with DSI, and is a member of its Executive Committee.
Her research in theoretical population genetics is emblematic of Brown’s interdisciplinary approach, drawing on mathematical modeling, applied statistics, and computational approaches to make inferences about deep human history and the evolution of human traits and diseases from whole genomes. Recently, her research program has developed new lines of inquiry in cancer genomics and in characterizing disease-associated genetic mutations such that results are applicable to diverse human populations and individuals of mixed-ancestry.
Prior to joining Brown, Professor Ramachandran was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Her peer-reviewed publications have appeared in a range of journals, including Cell, Nature Communications, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and Genetics. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, the recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award, and she holds an R01 from the National Institutes of Health. She is Program Director of the NIH-funded T32 Predoctoral Training Program in Biological Data Science at Brown. In 2019, she was a Natural Sciences Programme Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala, Sweden, and was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), nominated by the NIH. She earned both her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and her undergraduate degree in Mathematical and Computational Science from Stanford University.
I am grateful to Björn Sandstede for his important contributions to DSI over the last two years, and look forward to working closely with Sohini Ramachandran as she continues this good work as interim director.
Sincerely, Richard M. Locke Provost