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Boost for research into machine learning

Posted: 20th May 2020

Dr Davis McCarthy’s work to harness the power of big data to solve health problems has received a $1.3 million boost with an Investigator Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, announced today.

NHMRC Investigator Grants provide sole investigators, at a range of career stages, with 5-year funding for their projects.

This funding will enable Davis to advance his use of computational approaches – so-called ‘machine learning’ – to drive biological discovery.

“Machine learning is often called a ‘black box’ – data goes into a computer and decisions come out, but what happens between the input and the output is opaque. This limits our ability to improve the outcomes,” says Davis.

Over the course of his Emerging Leadership (Level 2) Grant, Davis will use research data to develop interpretable deep learning models and software tools – that provide a justification for their decisions.

These models will enhance outcomes from breast cancer screening programs and help to interpret complex, large-scale single-cell genomics data.

Davis’ work is carried out through a joint appointment with the University of Melbourne and is generously supported through philanthropy, via a donation from former SVI Board member Paul Holyoake and his wife, Marg Downey.