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Attendees at the fifth annual Indiana University School of Medicine Education Day received a glimpse into the future of medicine  — in more ways than one. 

Education Day 2024 examines role of AI in medical research

Three people pose for a photograph in front of research board at Ed Day 2024.

Attendees at the fifth annual Indiana University School of Medicine Education Day received a glimpse into the future of medicine  — in more ways than one.

Held April 26 at Hine Hall on the IU Indianapolis campus, the event featured presentations, posters, small group discussions and more on medical education research in topics spanning the gamut of specialties.

The day’s keynote speaker, Hooman H. Rashidi, MD, MS, offered attendees a look into the possibilities of generative AI in medical research. As executive director of the Computational Pathology & AI Center of Excellence (CPACE) at the University of Pittsburgh, he is at the vanguard of the burgeoning field.

All medical research, Rashidi said, revolves around one key factor.

“Everything we do starts around data,” he said.

Hooman Rashidi presents on the future of AI at Ed Day 2024.Gathering real data takes a significant amount of time, with regulatory hurdles to navigate when accessing patient data due to privacy concerns. One possible answer, according to Rashidi, is synthetic data.

Generative machine learning models create new data that emulates original, real data sets, with none of the privacy issues attached. Studies have shown “no significant difference” between the results from real data versus synthetic.

Rashidi made clear that synthetic data would not replace real data — it would complement it. He said synthetic data has significant value in expediting pilot studies, for example.

And it’s an area unlikely to be a fad. Studies predict synthetic data usage will outcompete real data usage in all industries by 2030.

“You have to become familiar with this world,” Rashidi said.

He believes synthetic data could be the future foundation for a vast biobank that facilitates research into rare diseases and speeds up pharmaceutical development.

Despite the promise of AI, Rashidi cautioned against considering it the be-all and end-all, noting that “irreducible error” is inherent to the AI process.

“If anybody comes up to you and says they have the perfect AI tool, just kindly smile but don’t believe anything they say,” he said. “There is no such thing. There is no way you’re going to get a perfect model — it just doesn’t exist.”

Next generation unveils researchStudent Emily Merritt presents her findings at Ed Day 2024.

Paul Wallach, MD, the school’s executive associate dean for educational affairs and institutional improvement, noted that of the 182 proposals submitted, 166 were accepted to present. Along with research from faculty, staff, residents and fellows, several included enlightening presentations from the profession’s future — current medical students.

One such presentation, from fourth-year medical student Emily Merritt, concerned a student module she created after she identified a gap in the Transitions 2 process. Merritt felt that students needed to know more about how to work with blood banks and pathology resources like the microbiology lab as they entered their clinical years of medical school.

Merritt took an elective that allowed her to see what goes on in the microbiology lab, including interpreting lab reports. “I came away from that experience with a much better understanding of how it works and thought [a module] could really help some students,” she said.

The module, implemented last week, will be available to future students to ease their move into the clerkship phase.

Best Abstract Certificate Winners

The day concluded with a reception. Wallach awarded certificates to those with the best abstracts:

Top Abstract for Oral Presentation — Faculty

Nicholas Anton, Payton Miller, Maya Hunt, Madeline Krusing, Dominique Doster, E. Matthew Ritter, Jennifer Choi, Dimitrios Stefanidis

Top Abstracts for Oral Presentation — Learner

- Kayla Nussbaum, Joe Turner, Matt Hays, Adrian Morales, Xiaochun Li, Jill Maudlin, Katie Pettit

- Daniel Pfeifle, Micah Pollak, Gabriel Bosslet

Top Abstract for Oral Presentation — Learner from Scholarly Concentration

- Jennifer Watters, Maria Bell, James Slaven, Syril Keena Que

Top Abstract for Poster Presentation — Faculty

- MaKayla Picklesimer Doyle, Kevin Moss, Abena Bruce, Adeoti Oshinowo

Top Abstract for Poster Presentation — Learner

- Jonathan Harris, Jordan Laing, Abigail Olbina, Morgan Lain, Noah Cooke, Aidan Gonzales, Dianna Perez, Isabella Applegarth, Marie Karam, Matthew Turner, Medha Somayaji, Eli Schantz

Top Abstract for Poster Presentation — Learner from Scholarly Concentration

- Leah Peipert, Lucy Brown, Carli King, Surya Sruthi Bhamidipalli, Julianne Stout, Jeffrey Peipert, Amy Caldwell

Top Abstract for Small Group/Workshop Presentation — Faculty

- Katie Stanton-Maxey, Lindsey Mossler, Sade Imeokparia, Megan Rendina, Cassey Krupa, Anne Skiles, Justin King, Ashley Gutwein, Kirsten Zborek, Chelsea Loria, Merideth Geib

Top Abstract for Small Group/Workshop Presentation — Learner

- Chinonye Olumba, Crystal Hill Morton, Niki Messmore 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Nick McLain

Nick McLain is the communications specialist with Medical Student Education. He previously worked in journalism, government relations and marketing. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from IU Bloomington and a Master of Public Affairs from Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.