R25 Mentors

Our mentors will provide UofSC junior faculty members with training support in the program. The following is a list of our current R25 mentors, read on to learn more.

Jianjun Hu, Ph.D

Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Dr. Hu has training and expertise in machine learning-based analytics. His current research is focused on deep learning and machine learning and their applications in bioinformatics, health informatics, and materials informatics. Over the past 10 years, he has been working with an interdisciplinary group of biologists and public health specialists. Dr. Hu was PI of an NSF Career award on computational analysis of protein sorting signals and protein localizations and has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and special reports.

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Nesset Hikmet, Ph.D

 Professor in Engineering and Computing at the Department of Integrated Information Technology

Dr. Hikmet has led numerous distributed data collection and management projects and is heavily involved in research and health sector related activities. He has led and participated in grant-funded health informatics research in a wide range of contexts specifically focusing on data management and analytics and currently teaching the graduate courses “Health IT Database Systems” and “Large Scale Health IT Systems.”

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Xiaoming Li, Ph.D

SmartState Endowed Chair for Clinical Translational Research and Professor at the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

Over the last decade, Dr. Li has been a PI or site PI on 31 research projects (including 19 NIH funded) and a Co-investigator (Co-I) on over 37 research projects (including 22 NIH funded). He has published over 560 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and special reports. In addition to his experience and expertise in HIV behavioral prevention and care, Dr. Li is knowledgeable about and proficient in advanced data analytics, including Big Data analytics. Dr. Li is also the Interim Chief Population Health and Prevention Officer (formerly Chief Analytics Officer) for HSSC, a statewide healthcare research collaborative.

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Zhenlong Li, Ph.D

Associate Professor at the Department of Geography

Dr. Li’s primary research field is GIScience with a focus on geospatial big data analytics, high performance computing, spatiotemporal analysis/modelling, CyberGIS, and geospatial artificial intelligence with applications to disaster management, climate analysis, human mobility, and public health. He has more than 80 publications including over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 20 articles in books and proceedings. Dr. Li established and leads the Geoinformation and Big Data Research Laboratory at USC and has over ten years’ experience in designing and developing Web-based GIS applications by integrating big heterogeneous data sources. He has served as PI/Co-PI for grants funded by NASA, Earth Science Foundation, USC and NIH. Dr. Li is a Co-I on NIAID Big Data HIV and COVID-19 studies with Drs. Olatosi and Hikmet, and PI on an NSF grant for COVID-19 research.

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Alain Litwin, MD

Professor and Vice Chair of Internal Medicine at USC School of Medicine-Greenville

Dr. Litwin is board certified in addiction medicine and internal medicine and has been providing substance use disorder and medical care (including HIV and HCV) to people with opioid use disorders with complex social, psychiatric and medical needs within an integrated primary care and opiate agonist treatment program for 18 years. With funding from NIDA, PCORI, CDC, SAMHSA, AHRQ, CMS, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New York City, New York State, and industry, Dr. Litwin’s research, clinical and mentoring activities are focused on developing and studying models of co-located care for PWIDs with concurrent infectious diseases.

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Banky Olatosi, Ph.D

Assistant Professor and MHA program director in the Department of Health Services Policy & Management

Dr. Olatosi is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the MHA program in the Department of Health Services Policy & Management at ASPH and a faculty associate of CHQ. He has over five years of management experience and responsibilities in
academia and the non-profit sector.  

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Shan Qiao, Ph.D

Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

Dr. Qiao’s academic training is in sociology, anthropology and public health and her research projects use both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Her interests are in HIV prevention and treatment in the context of global health, as well as women living with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina.

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Sharon Weissman, MD

Professor in Clinical Medicine and Interim Chair for the Department of Medicine at USC School of Medicine-Columbia

Dr. Weissman has over 25 years of experience in both research and practice related to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Since joining the faculty at USC, she has collaborated with the USC School of Public Health, SC DHEC, and the SC RFA to access healthcare and HIV surveillance data to conduct research examining disparities in care, with a focus on HIV infected in rural SC as well as on antimicrobial usage in SC. Currently, Dr. Weissman is affiliated with the USC BDHSC and works closely with Drs. Li, Olatosi, and Zhang on the NIAID Big Data HIV and COVID-19 studies.

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Jiajia Zhang, Ph.D

Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dr. Zhang is Professor and Division Director of Biostatistics in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in USC’s ASPH. She is also a core CHQ faculty member and the BDHSC EHR Core Director. Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on developing methodologies for analyzing electronic health data, including the SC Cancer Registration data set, SC HIV data set, Women’s Health Initiative data set, NHANES III data set, SEER data set, geographic data sets from Census tract information, and the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study data set. Dr. Zhang has cumulated extensive experience in Big Data sets in epidemiological studies and statistical methodological work. She has published more than 160 statistical methodology and applied statistics papers and was the PI on 5 NIH-funded grants in methodologies development and Co-I on many NIH grants as the core biostatistician, including an NIH-funded COBRE Center, CAM Center, R01, R21 and R15.  Currently, Dr. Zhang is Co-I with Dr. Olatosi on both NIAID Big Data HIV and COVID-19 studies and is familiar with the mechanism in the data-linking and analysis procedure.

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