Brian athey, Phd

Savageau Collegiate Professor and Chair,  Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics
Professor,  Psychiatry
Co-Director, Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS)


Dr. Athey serves as the Michael A. Savageau Collegiate Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (DCM&B) at UM Medical School; and also a Professor of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine. Dr. Athey’s laboratories research is in the area of Psychiatric and Addiction Pharmacogenomics using bioinformatics, epigenomics, chromatin capture technology, and data mining from the U-M Health System Electronic Health Record (EHR). He also has a long record of imaging research, and has gotten back involved in this work, collaborating with Prof. Christopher Cremer at the University of Mainz, Germany. Dr. Cremer is a pioneer in super-resolution microscopy, and was the Ph.D. mentor of Professor Stephan Hell, recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize for super resolution microscopy. Together they have an active program multiomics-based pharmacogenomics research, with major proposals being under review at DOC and being prepared for the FDA.

Dr. Athey serves as PI of the UM NIGMS T32 UM Bioinformatics Training Program (in year 12; funded to year 17). The department and his research are both deeply committed to bioinformatics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and multi-scale ‘omics integration research. This focus is termed “Translational Bioinformatics” and the group is an acknowledged pioneer in this area. DCM&B hosts the well-established Bioinformatics Graduate Program (BGP), which has graduated 65 PhDs and over 40 MS trainees since 2005. In the 2017 academic year, there are >60 PhD and >20 MS trainees in the BGP. His department is also involved with Big Data research and development in Michigan Medicine, and on the UM Campus more generally, where he serves as Co-Director of the UM Data Science Initiative as Co-Director of the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS). Dr. Athey has served as a consultant to the Defense Science Office of DARPA and to the NIH Office of the Director and the NIH CIO. He has been a fellow of the Federation of American Scientists (

Dr. Athey has more than 15 years of experience in trans-disciplinary team science-based leadership experience as overall Principal Investigator of national and international biomedical informatics and computational sciences center and consortium leadership. These include the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Visible Human Project, the DARPA Telepathology Project and DARPA Virtual Solider Project, and the NIH National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics, NCIBI (see In addition, he was the founding lead of the UM NIH Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) Biomedical Informatics Core (BIC) of the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) CTSA. He is the founding co-CEO of the tranSMART Foundation, and now serves as its Chief Science Officer. The tranSMART Platform is being used worldwide in data driven discovery research in clinical and translational research. This could allow the Center and its members to analyze multi-omics and clinical/phenotypic data in the same analytic platform and to share it with collaborators outside of UM. He currently has 3 PhD students and 1 postdoctoral scholar. He has trained or co-Mentored over 14 MS, 16 PhD, and 7 postdoctoral fellows who are all enjoying successful careers in academia, industry, and government service.