Women in Data Science: Heidi Sofia, Ph.D.

Heidi Sofia, Ph.D.
Program Director
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Co-leads the Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative consortium and organized supplements to enhance software tools for open science 

Beauty, awe, love, and humor:

I am never happier than when some brilliant young or established scientist in the community brings forward innovative, transformative science which I can endeavor to foster. In the four antidotes to our challenging times—beauty, awe, love, and humor—I find the first two in these instances. And my colleagues often provide the last one.

Use your power for good:

The first “computers” were women who performed the mathematical calculations that were needed to advance science, starting in 1757 in the search for Haley’s comet. In today’s society, data science is a superpower resembling the ability to read letters or books in medieval times. So be literate, empower yourself, and use your power for good!

An energized community in a new era of data science:

With some strategic leadership NIH has catalyzed a new era of data science and lit the spark to energize a community of contributors who enjoy working together across divisions to get interesting things done.

What's a fun fact about you?

I once worked a construction job to rebuild the track of the Colossus wooden roller coaster in Los Angeles to fund a trip around the world, later putting these carpentry skills to work building a bamboo raft to float 100 miles down the Pahang River in Malaysia.

Dr. Sofia holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry. She was featured in a blog post titled "Women in Tech at NIH: Togetherness Enables Transformation" guest authored by ODSS Director Dr. Susan Gregurick for the NLM's Musings from the Mezzanine in September 2020 and a lecture Gregurick delivered in March 2021 titled "Women Leading the Way: Stories of the Women (and Men) Making an Impact on Data Science at NIH."

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This page last reviewed on March 19, 2021