June 01, 2022

Meet James C. Gee, PhD – MSE-DS Online Program Director

James C. Gee, Program Director, Online Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science

James C. Gee has been immersed in computational analysis and data science ever since he earned his PhD in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania. A renowned expert in biomedical image analysis and computing, he runs a lab that’s internationally known for its ability to translate research accomplishments into highly acclaimed open-source software.

Now Gee, a professor of radiologic science in Penn Medicine’s Department of Radiology, is bringing his deep experience in the field to his role as program director for Penn Engineering’s new online Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science (MSE-DS Online).

Gee says the global proliferation of data underscores the need for Penn’s new program.

“A lot of the most challenging problems in the world today can be tackled in part, if not in whole, by the clever use of data,” he says. “We are awash with data, but we need people who can make sense of all this data and deliver on its potential.”

“It’s like when you go to your favorite farmer’s market,” he continues. “There’s an abundance of vegetables and delicious ingredients, but you need cooks. You need people to take that raw material and translate it into delicious food that feeds you and nourishes you and elevates your experience.”

“Data scientists and data engineers are the cooks and chefs of the data world. Data science is one of the fastest-growing professions in the world, and for good reason.”

In addition to his role in the data science program, Gee is providing a bridge between medicine and data engineering in other ways as well. As the head of an interdisciplinary program that seeks to train leaders at the intersection of medical imaging and computational sciences, he’s building a pathway to further integrate data resources into student learning. He’s also creating a new center focused on healthcare innovations in Africa that will encompass the work of data scientists.

 “The work that comes out of my lab is quite diverse, but a common thread is that it’s all computationally based,” he says. “Our hope is that some of the data-related computational experience we’ve had in the lab can be brought to bear in terms of informing the data science online program.”

Gee says he’s looking forward to launching Penn’s new data science program.

“Penn has a tremendous track record in data science,” he says. “We have the core content and the core expertise and competencies to deliver a strong program. And our online MCIT program has been incredibly successful, demonstrating that we have the infrastructure and expertise to deliver world-class online training.”