U-M collaborative sparks integration of biological and social data


The university has launched a new center bringing together researchers from a variety of scientific disciplines to advance analysis of biological and social science data.

The BioSocial Methods Collaborative, based at the Institute for Social Research, is funded in part by the Office of the Provost. Partners include the Life Sciences Institute and the Medical School.

“We aim to be a catalyst for new research methods that link the social and health sciences, and that will provide a fuller understanding of the complex realities affecting human health and quality of life,” said Richard Gonzalez, the group’s founding director.

“We want to create new approaches to integrating method and data that will transcend the separate silos of social science, medicine and biology,” said Gonzalez, professor of psychology, statistics and marketing, and a research professor in the Research Center for Group Dynamics and the Center for Human Growth and Development.

Affiliated faculty come from a wide variety of academic disciplines in the social and biological sciences.

“This new center exemplifies a new era of heightened collaboration between the social, medical and biological sciences,” said ISR Director James Jackson.  “ISR is proud to be playing an important role in linking medicine, public health, life sciences and other disciplines.”

Alan Saltiel, director of the Life Sciences Institute, is looking forward to the opportunity to integrate biomedical sciences with social sciences.

“This innovative approach can have a tangible impact on human health, longevity and well-being,” he said.

According to Steven Kunkel, senior associate dean for research at the Medical School, the new collaborative “will aid our research mission by fostering an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the Medical School research community and, ultimately, contributes to positive patient impact.”

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