First BMI Certificate Awarded to CEAS student, Benjamin Landis, MD

By: Shannon Frohme

Benjamin Landis, MD, UC College of Engineering and Applied Science student receives the first BMI certificate to pursue pediatric cardiovascular genetic research

CEAS Student, Ben Landis, MD, receives the first Biomedical Informatics (BMI) certificate

CEAS Student, Ben Landis, MD, receives the first Biomedical Informatics (BMI) certificate

From his early medical school days at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Ben Landis, MD, found lifelong reward in the ability to give back countless childhoods to kids with heart disease.

While enrolled in the UC CEAS Department of Electrical Engineering & Computing Systems BMI (biomedical informatics) graduate certificate program, Landis also completed a three-year Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Heart Institute.
Landis pursued the BMI certificate to extend his passion for research on pediatric cardiovascular genomics by taking advantage of the program’s “novel technologies, such as next generation sequencing.” Developing the requisite skills to apply these analytical technologies will propel his research towards clinical application.

Students who are awarded the Biomedical Informatics graduate certificate learn fundamental principles of data science and how it is applied in clinical, genomic, and other large scale data sets. Such contexts include studies on disease etiology, personalized treatment and optimal clinical interventions.
Currently Landis is pursuing one additional year of Subspecialty training in his Cardiovascular Genetics Fellowship at Children’s Hospital. By combining principles of genomic data science gained from the BMI program, Landis plans to develop research of the physiology and genetic mechanisms that underlie pediatric cardiovascular diseases.

For the upcoming year, Landis has proudly secured a junior Pediatric Cardiology faculty position at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, making his dream of being a clinical pediatric cardiologist a near reality. While continuing to work amongst children with cardiovascular diseases, he will also begin development of a research laboratory, funded by Riley Hospital. Accompanied by his mentor and collaborator Stephanie Ware, MD, PhD, the two will pursue Riley Hospital’s Cardiovascular Genetics Program to conduct translational research in the areas of thoracic aortic aneurysm and congenital heart malformations. Further explaining the focus of his research, Landis says, “My research work will utilize laboratory and bioinformatics-based analyses to understand the genetic and pathophysiological mechanisms of these diseases and, in particular, the factors that impact the severity of disease.”

Within the next 10-20 years, he hopes to establish an independent research laboratory investigating the genetics of pediatric heart disease, focusing on aortic diseases.

In addition to these seemingly lucrative career accomplishments, Ben Landis is full-heartedly a family man. His most prized achievement thus far was marrying his wife Melissa, a neonatologist at CCHMC and raising their two great children together.

Having fully integrated the knowledge gained from the BMI program to advance pediatric cardiovascular clinical research, Landis offers prospective BMI graduate certificate students advice on how to gain the most value from the program. He strongly recommends, “take advantage of the instructor’s expertise while looking for ways to collaborate with people who might have different training backgrounds. There are significant benefits to having an ongoing project in BMI while you are taking courses.”

The flexibility of the BMI program allowed Landis to tailor elective courses towards his specific areas of interest. The integration of clinical and translational research has awarded him the opportunity to apply such skills towards his current research which utilizes exome sequence data of patients with aortic disease.

The flexibility of the program has also reinforced his ability to facilitate effective collaboration with experts in the field of BMI. Landis concludes, “My faculty appointment in Pediatric Cardiology at Riley Hospital for Children includes a secondary appointment in the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. I am sure that the BMI Certificate helped me gain the credentials and skill set to secure this kind of position.”

A native of Atlanta, GA, Ben Landis received his BS in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and his MD at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. His most recent publication titled, “Clinical Stratification of Pediatric Patients with Idiopathic Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm” is published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Mentors and collaborators of Benjamin Landis, MD, include:

• Bing Hinton, MD in pediatric cardiology
• Stephanie Ware, MD, PhD in genetics
• Lisa Martin, PhD in biostatistics and epidemiology
• Anil Jegga, DVM in biomedical informatics
• Phil Dexheimer, MS in computer science
• Jeanne James, MD in pediatric cardiology

The Biomedical Informatics (BMI) graduate certificate is a joint program between UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Medicine in partnership with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. BMI is an interdisciplinary field that combines knowledge of informatics and medical sciences to assist in the management of health and biomedical information

BMI has become an integral component of both clinical and translational research and healthcare infrastructure, increasing the demand for researchers and health professionals trained in BMI.