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UIC faculty members earn DPI funding – Lenore Zuck

Privacy in the era of big data Heading link

Lenore Zuck

UIC’s Lenore Zuck, research professor of computer science at the College of Engineering, will lead a team of researchers to create a platform that will enforce strict privacy policies in sectors such as health care, and develop tools and methods for making the best tradeoffs between privacy and utility.

“The idea of allowing data privacy to be dynamic — strict in ‘normal’ times and but adaptable and accountable under specific extenuating circumstances — is novel,” Zuck said. “COVID-19 has shown us that privacy, particularly with respect to contact tracing and electronic health records, is of vital importance. We are actively working on solutions that will protect individuals’ privacy while providing a path for disclosures during an emergency.”

“In true emergencies, we want a system for disclosing information to authorized entities, and we want accountability standards around who is provided access, why information is accessed, and how the information, once accessed, is used,” she said.

Zuck’s team will include experts from UIC, UIUC, the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh.

More than 55 teams applied for the funding. Teams had to be led by a faculty member from the University of Illinois System and include scientists from at least one other partner university, including Argonne National Laboratory, Hebrew University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Chicago and Tel Aviv University.

An additional four teams will be led by faculty members at UIUC.

“This is just the beginning of our efforts to put already strong industries in the region on the very cutting edge,” said Bill Jackson, DPI’s executive director. “And we’re doing so by leveraging the most ambitious talent the region has to offer and enticing them to team up, rather than operate in silos. Such teamwork is going to generate exactly what this region and state needs: More federal R&D funding and more jobs.”

“These initial seed grants will build DPI’s first group of science teams that we will help position for success in the form of further R&D funding, the creation of new companies and jobs, and societal and economic impact,” said DPI’s Interim Director of Research Venkat Venkatakrishnan.


“We have assembled a phenomenal team of engineers from UIUC and UIC and will pair them with clinicians and informaticists from UI Health and other great institutions across the Midwest, including Rush, Mayo, Northwestern, OSF, Carle and the DuPage Medical Group to transform healthcare,” Kochendorfer said.

“Working in collaboration with our industry partners, we will apply novel AI methods to very diverse patient populations around COVID,” he said. “Then we will translate this effort to other diseases and conditions like cancer and we will make sure that we focus on the disparities of our more vulnerable patient populations, such as those who are homeless, older members of minority communities or those who are engaged in the criminal justice system.”

UIC News