New Clemson-MUSC partnership adds power of AI to health care


Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina have joined forces to harness the power of artificial intelligence to improve health care in South Carolina.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has the power to sift through the billions of chemical and electrical signals in the brain to differentiate a simple blink of an eye from an abnormality that may diagnose neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, for example. AI can analyze complex medical images to detect early signs of a tumor. Or it could predict a stroke or early onset cancer.

These are a few examples of limitless potential, but to put the power of AI to use in health care, research collaborations between AI experts, medical researchers and clinicians are essential. The new Clemson-MUSC AI Hub aims to build those collaborations, invest in promising research projects and equip researchers with the knowledge, tools and experts to apply AI to their work.

The Clemson-MUSC AI Hub features two key components: an AI Advocates cohort of experts; and an Augmentation Grant program to invest in interdisciplinary research. Additionally, the leadership team plans to hold an AI Summit in January for researchers to share ideas and form collaborations.

The Clemson-MUSC AI Hub is led by Brian Dean, professor and chair of the Division of Computer Science at Clemson; Christopher McMahan, an associate professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Clemson; and Hamilton Baker, pediatric cardiologist at MUSC Health.

“We want to be a catalyst between the fields of public health, medical research and AI and machine learning to advance science,” said McMahan, who is using AI to understand how genetics impact addiction, in hopes of developing customizable individual treatment plans.

“The reality is we use AI in lots of places already, most people just don’t realize it,” said Baker, who currently uses AI to study language processing. “There are so many projects out there that could benefit tremendously from what we’re doing.”

“The AI Hub will help grow the baseline of research teams conducting AI medical research. Recruiting faculty will be very important,” Dean said. “If you are involved in research that is generating a ton of data, AI is something you should consider, particularly if key patterns of interest in the data are very subtle. Modern advancements in AI can be gamechangers.” 

The online Clemson-MUSC AI Hub will include details on both programs, a list of upcoming events, tutorials and other information. 

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