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Digital Health + Life Sciences Informatics, Spring 2023

Catch the Replay: Renowned Cardiology Researcher Zahi Fayad on Integrating Health-Related Data Sets

by Richard Westlund

January 18, 2023

Integrating varied data sets is vital for advancing medical research and delivering personalized health care, according to Zahi A. Fayad, PhD, a nationally renowned cardiology researcher. “We need to assemble the data for the whole person, including wearables, clinical reports, and imaging,” he said. “For instance, sensor technology can provide insights on a patient’s lifestyle and environment that can be combined with medical records and images.”


A specialist in cardiovascular disease and imaging, Dr. Fayad delivered a January 11, 2022 talk on “Advances in Whole Person Research and Mobile/Digital Health” at the Richter Library through the Data Citizens Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by the University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing (IDSC) and Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Ken GoodmanKenneth W. Goodman, PhD, Director, IDSC Data Ethics + Society, introduced Dr. Fayad, who is Director, BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute; the Lucy G. Moses Professor in Medical Imaging and Bioengineering; and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Radiology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

“Dr. Fayad is helping to transform how we metabolize information in the service of patient health and use IT to improve the health of individuals and populations,” said Dr. Goodman, who is the founder and Director of the UM Miller School of Medicine’s Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy and Director of the University’s Ethics Programs.

Examining Linkages

In his talk, Dr. Fayad focused on the internal and external linkages that affect an individual’s health. “I have grown to appreciate the heart’s interconnection with other organs, including the brain, liver and the microbiome of the gut,” he said, adding that cardiovascular data such as heart variability rate (HVR) can provide an early indication of infectious disease. “One day we may be able to deploy digital interventions to modify that HRV signal,” he added.

Dr. Fayad also looked at the many lifestyle and environmental stressors that can affect the brain, heart and other organs. “High-resolution imaging studies show just how areas of the brain can be disrupted by chronic psychological stress, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” he said.  “That’s an example of the need to move to a more integrated view of medicine.”

“We know a lot about risk factors, but have only a rudimentary understanding of good health.”

While medical researchers have made remarkable discoveries on treating injuries and diseases, there is still much to be learned about the factors affecting individual health, according to Dr. Fayad. “We know a lot about risk factors, but have only a rudimentary understanding of good health,” he said. “We need to also study an individual’s health trajectory over time, including a situation that led to an adverse event, how the condition was treated and how well that person recovered.”

To advance that research, Dr. Fayad said researchers need to bring the various data lakes together, use metadata curation, and employ AI, ML, and analytic tools. “We also need clear rules of engagement from both an ethical and regulatory perspective,” he added. “Data privacy and security must also be priorities as we move toward an integrated approach to whole-person health.”



About Data Citizens

Data Citizens: A Distinguished Lecture Series” is an ongoing course of in-depth talks by experts in the field of data science on a wide variety of topics. The series is co-sponsored by the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), and is free and open to the public.  Check the IDSC Events Calendar and sign up for our Events Mailing List here.


About Dr. Fayad

Dr. Fayad is Guest Editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology Imaging (JACC Imaging), Section Editor for Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), Consulting Editor for Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB), Guest Editor for the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) and past Associate Editor of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (MRM). From 2013-2017, he served as Charter Member, NIH Center of Scientific Review, Clinical Molecular Imaging and Probe Development Study Section. In 2015, he chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) PARCC program at the HEGP in Paris.

He has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications (h-index of 123 accessed 08/01/2022 on Google Scholar with over 142,000 citations), 50 book chapters, and over 500 meeting presentations. He is currently the Principal Investigator of multiple federal, foundation and industry grants including 6 grants (5 R01s, 1 P01) funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and National institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. In 2021, Dr. Fayad ranked in top 10 in NIH research overall funding in the field of Radiology.

Dr. Fayad had his engineering trainings at Bradley University (BS, Electrical Engineering ’89), the Johns Hopkins University (MS, Biomedical Engineering ‘91), and at the University of Pennsylvania (PhD Bioengineering ’96). From 1996 to 1997 he was junior faculty in the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997 he joined the faculty at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine as Assistant Professor in Radiology and Medicine (Cardiology).

As a teacher and mentor, Dr. Fayad has been also extremely successful. He has trained over 100 postdoctoral fellows, clinical fellows and students. His trainees have received major awards, fellowships, and positions in academia and industry.

Dr. Fayad is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards including, but not limited to Fellow American Heart Association (2001), British Medical Association Book Award (2004), Fellow American College of Cardiolgy (2005), the John Paul II Medal, Krakow Poland (2007), Outstanding Teacher Award from the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (2008), Honorary Professor of Nanomedicine, Aarhus Univ, Denmark (2009), Opening speaker at the 97th Scientific Assembly and Scientific meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (2011), Henry I Russek Lecture at the 45th Anniversary of the ACCF New York Cardiovascular Symposium (2012), Fellow International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (2013), Academy Radiology Research Distinguised Investigator (2013), Distinguished Reviewer award from Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (2013), Centurion Society Medal from Bradley University (2014), the Editor’s Recognition Award, from the journal Radiology (2014), and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Biogengeering & Medical Imaging (2015), Dr. Joseph Dvorkin Memorial Lecturer at the Cardiac Research Day of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada (2015), Heart & Stroke/Richard Lewar lecturer at the Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research in Toronto (2016), Dr. Fayad’s work on stress, the immune system and cardiovascular disease published in the Lancet was featured in the Altmetric Top 100 (2017), Highly Cited Researchers by Clarivate Analytics (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021,2022), Mount Sinai Jacobi Medallion Award (2019).




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