The Medical Informatics Home Area is UCLA’s nexus for interdisciplinary training of the next generation of scientists involved in biomedical informatics and data science. UCLA provides a unique environment to bring together cutting-edge expertise and experience in a dynamic environment for graduate students engaged at the intersection of engineering, medicine, public health, and other related fields — and focusing on the goal of transforming modern healthcare through contemporary data-driven methods and tools. Drawing on leading experts from the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Public Health; and the College of Letters & Science, our Home Area faculty cover the breadth of medical informatics research. The physical proximity of these Schools, the College, and our close collaboration with the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center provide novel  opportunities for our students to participate in team science in new, immersive ways — translating the latest methods from computer science, (bio)statistics, and other areas to solve real-world clinical challenges and to imagine the future of digital medicine.

What is Medical Informatics?

Medical informatics focuses on the evolving role that computation and data science, sociotechnical theories, and new information technologies now have in transforming biomedical research, clinical decision making, and ultimately the delivery of healthcare and development of policies. The discipline focuses on the uses of data to help clinicians and scientists improve human health and provide healthcare, developing new computational methods and using them to generate new biomedical knowledge. An inherently interdisciplinary field, medical informatics exists at the nexus of computer science and related engineering disciplines; information sciences; and clinical medicine. The field is thus also diverse in the sources and types of data it deals with, ranging from the electronic health record (EHR) and imaging, to more contemporary omics and mobile health (mHealth); and is agnostic to the clinical domains in which it intersects. Example areas of research include (but are not limited to): information systems for healthcare and clinical research; medical image analysis, including segmentation, feature quantification, and discovery of biological correlates; information extraction and natural language processing (NLP); medical knowledge representation and reasoning for classification and predictive modeling tasks; and biomedical data visualization.

Medical informatics uses knowledge from the clinical sciences, basic sciences, and engineering to develop computational approaches towards extracting, analyzing, and supporting decision making within health and patient care. In contrast, bioinformatics merges biology, computer science, and information technology to enable the discovery of new biological insights, as well as to create a global perspective from which unifying principles in biology can be discerned. Bioinformatics helps in omics and the sequencing genes and understanding the role of DNA, genes, and chromosomes; whereas medical informatics is concerned with the understanding of diseases from clinical data and methods to enhance clinical decision making.

Participating Departments

Samueli School of Engineering

  •      Bioengineering
  •      Computer Science

School of Medicine

  •      Medicine
  •      Pathology
  •      Physiology
  •      Radiological Sciences

Division of Life Sciences

  •      Integrative Biology and Physiology
  •      Microbiology, Immunology, and molecular Genetics
  •      Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology