Former F/A-18 pilot wins research award for IC3

On March 6, 2023, the University of Florida College of Medicine held its Annual Medical Student Research Program (MSRP) Symposium, where Intelligent Critical Care Center (IC3) medical student and 15-year US Navy veteran William Snead received a Finalist Award and $200 for his work.

William Snead with his research poster

Snead, a former F/A-18 and F-35C fighter pilot who retired as a lieutenant commander in 2021, is now in the UF College of Medicine’s class of 2025. His medical research project, “Phenotypes within a Vascular Surgery Cohort Identified with Consensus Clustering,” was honored as one of the top six projects out of 120 entered by medical students from his class.

As an MSRP student, Snead received mentoring from IC3 faculty including director Azra Bihorac, associate director for research Tezcan Ozrazgat-Baslanti, assistant scientist Yuanfang Ren, and postdoctoral associate Esra Adiyeke.

“Working with the IC3 team and learning about how artificial intelligence can inform and change the healthcare landscape was an amazing opportunity,” Snead said. “Engaging with Dr. Baslanti and Dr. Ren helped broaden my exposure to leveraging the power of unsupervised machine learning techniques to find meaningful clinical correlations within board patient cohorts from existing and accessible health records here at UF. With AI utilization and capability accelerating both in healthcare and society at large, it has been great to gain exposure firsthand that can be applied to future projects.”

The project aimed to develop a phenotyping model that would categorize vascular surgery patients into subgroups based on information available in their electronic health records (EHR) and then predict which subgroups of patients were more at risk of serious health risks in the three years following surgery. After examining EHR data from 933 UF Health vascular surgery patients from 2014 to 2021, the AI model developed three different categories of patients based on their pre-surgical history, and these three categories had significantly different probabilities of in-hospital mortality, acute kidney injury, and hypertension.

The next steps in this research involve validating this AI model with larger datasets from external institutions, with the ultimate goal of being able to help medical teams to provide timely and needed care to patients who are more susceptible to particular conditions.

In total at the MSRP Symposium, six finalists and 21 semifinalists received $4,700 in awards.

For more information on the UF College of Medicine’s MSRP program, click here.