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Honghuang Lin, PhD

Honghuang Lin

By Merin C. MacDonald | Date published: December 13, 2023

December Researcher Spotlight: Honghuang Lin, PhD

In this month’s Researcher Spotlight, we feature the work of Honghuang Lin, PhD, a professor of medicine in the Division of Health Systems Science, Clinical Informatics Section, and a co-director in the Program in Digital Medicine.  

Dr. Lin’s research focuses on the development of novel computational methods to study complex diseases. He is a longtime investigator of the Framingham Heart Study, the longest-running cardiovascular epidemiological study that recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Dr. Lin has extensive experience in the analysis of genetic and omics data. Through his role in various large-scale international genetic consortiums, he and his collaborators have identified thousands of genetic variants associated with various diseases, including chronic inflammation, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Lin and his team are also developing innovative computational methods to integrate multi-omics data to understand molecular mechanisms underlying aging and cardiovascular disease. Beyond this work, Dr. Lin is building machine-learning models for early disease diagnosis. One of his recent studies showed that deep learning models can predict biological age from standard 12-lead ECGs, which is associated with incident risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Moreover, he and his team are exploring the sustained feasibility of digital and wearable devices for health monitoring, specifically for cardiovascular and cognitive health. In combination with both structured and unstructured health data, his team is developing novel analytic strategies to help identify potential digital biomarkers to predict a patient’s future health outcomes  

Dr. Lin is a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) and has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers. He is currently the Principal Investigator on five grants, including a U01 project funded by the National Institute on Aging, aimed at developing innovative multimodal machine learning methods to study the heterogeneity of Alzheimer's disease. In this project, Dr. Lin’s team assembles a large collection of clinics, genetics, images, and digital data to build advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning models for Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, Dr. Lin and collaborators were funded to establish a Health Technologies & Innovation Center co-sponsored by the American Heart Association and Gates Ventures. The project focuses on precision brain health by deploying various digital devices to monitor cognitive health in participants with diverse backgrounds, particularly in underrepresented populations.

In his role as a co-director of the Program in Digital Medicine, Dr. Lin helped develop the educational curriculum for the Digital Medicine fellowship training program. He meets fellows regularly and advises them on how to develop research projects in digital medicine. Dr. Lin also serves as the Inaugural Chair of the Framingham Advisory Investigators Committee (FAIC), which is tasked to provide recommendations of future scientific directions for the Framingham Heart Study. He has also established close collaboration with investigators across UMass Chan. 

Dr. Lin earned his PhD in Bioinformatics from the National University of Singapore. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. He also holds a BS in Mathematics from Peking University in China. Before joining the faculty at UMass Chan in 2022, Dr. Lin served as faculty at Boston University School of Medicine from 2010-2021 

“I am dedicated to advancing the field of computational biomedical science,” said Dr. Lin, “I look forward to continuing to make contributions to the field in the years to come.”  

We thank Dr. Lin for his contributions and commitment to our mission in the Department of Medicine.