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Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP)

Dr. Bradley A. Malin – PECASE Recipient 2009

Technologies to Enable Privacy in Biomedical Databases (R01-LM-009989)

Project Information

In 2009, Bradley Malin, Ph.D., was honored as a recipient of the PECASE award for his research on managing and protecting the privacy of personal information stored in electronic health records and research data files. As an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Malin undertakes an interdisciplinary endeavor to address the growing need for data privacy research and development for the rapidly expanding health information technology sector. He is the founder and current director of the Health Information Privacy Laboratory (HIPLab). Under his direction, the HIPLab has made contributions to a number of health-related areas, including intelligent auditing technologies to protect electronic medical records from misuse in the context of primary care, as well as algorithms to formally anonymize patient information disseminated for secondary research purposes.


What do you think the impact of this award will have on your research career?

The PECASE award is a rare honor, which I hope draws attention to our research, some of the solutions we have developed, and highlights our outreach work on facilitating a dialogue between various communities. As for my career, I hope that this award enables me to continue to develop biomedical information management solutions that are rooted in technical formalism, but also grounded in societal needs.

Photo of Dr. Bradley A. Malin

Dr. Bradley A. Malin

What is your best career advice to young investigators?

I would impress upon young investigators that they should not be afraid to tackle the major challenges in their field. However, this does not mean they should jump in without a plan. Rather, young investigators need to recognize that it is worth spending the time up front to build a realistic roadmap for their investigations. This roadmap needs to demarcate where the risks are, as well as what the contingency plans are in the event their investigations fail to yield expected results. And when these negative results occur— and they always occur—the investigator should not be discouraged. Taking the time to characterize why such a result transpired often leads to greater insight into a problem and novel breakthroughs in theory and experimentation.


Publications supported in part by this grant include:

Benitez K, Loukides G, Malin B. Beyond Safe Harbor: automatic discovery of health information de-identification policy alternatives. In Proceedings of the ACM International Health Informatics Symposium. 2010: 163-172.

Durham E, Kantarcioglu M, Xue Y, Malin B. Private medical record linkage with approximate matching. In Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium. 2010: 182-186.

Loukides G, Gkoulalas-Divanis A, Malin B. Anonymization of electronic medical records for validating genome-wide association studies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2010; 107: 7898-78903.

Malin B, Benitez K, Masys D. Never too old for anonymity: a statistical standard for demographic data sharing via the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2011: forthcoming.

Malin B, Karp D, Scheuermann R. Technical and policy approaches to balancing patient privacy and data sharing in clinical and translational research. Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2010; 58(1): 11-18.

Tamersoy A, Loukides G, Denny J, Malin B. Anonymization of administrative billing codes with repeated diagnoses through censoring. In Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium. 2010: 782-786.

Last Reviewed: August 27, 2014