Women in Data Science: Maryam Zaringhalam, Ph.D.

Maryam Zaringhalam, Ph.D.
Data Science & Open Science Officer
Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI), National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Organized the Webinar on Sharing, Discovering, and Citing COVID-19 Data and Code in Generalist Repositories

Training a new generation of biomedical data scientists:

I came to NIH fresh out of grad school where, quite honestly, I was a poor steward of data and code — not because I didn’t think data and code sharing were important, but because I didn’t know where or how to get the necessary training. I brought those experiences with me to NLM’s OSI, as I’ve worked on developing and supporting projects and programs geared towards training a new generation of biomedical data scientists. I also continue to leverage my ties to the research community to advocate for the role of libraries as hubs of data science expertise and training resources so that researchers — and particularly trainees — can avoid some of my past mistakes!

Women make data science better:

Data science has the potential to accelerate discovery, but without a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), biases may go unchecked and become hard coded into the questions and answers data scientists seek. The lived experiences and perspectives of women — particularly women who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or members of the disability community — are therefore critically important in ensuring that the products of data science have the greatest benefit for us all. Every chance I get, I tell women that they not only belong in data science, but that data science is better because of them. It’s been great hearing this message embraced and amplified across NLM and to be working in at OSI, where we work to put these principles into practice. 

Enabling researchers to make COVID-19 data available:

It’s impossible to think about data science at NIH in this last year and not immediately turn to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was enabled in no small part by NIH’s commitment to making data and scholarly literature surrounding coronaviruses and associated diseases available as quickly as possible, leveraging NLM’s expertise to operationalize that. I was particularly proud to be involved in planning and organizing a joint NLM-ODSS webinar on sharing, discovering, and citing COVID-19 data and code using generalist repositories. It’s been inspiring to see the research community so eager to share the data and tools they’ve been generating, so this workshop (which we organized in less than a month!) felt like a really timely and impactful contribution for researchers to orient themselves around how they can effectively share and discover coronavirus-related data resources.

On life before grad school:

Before starting graduate school, I taught chemistry in the United Arab Emirates where I was unwittingly roped into rapping at the Emirate’s Palace for some royals and a thousand of their friends.

Dr. Zaringhalam holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology. 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