Ramona Walls

Critical Path Institute has named Ramona L. Walls as executive director of data science within C-Path’s Data Collaboration Center. 

Walls joined C-Path in December 2020 as a data scientist in ontologies, standards and metadata. In 2021, she was promoted to associate director of data science, where she led a new OSM team that introduced the use of ontologies for data integration within C-Path.

Walls will oversee multiple efforts including work in C-Path’s Data and Analytics Platform, expansion and modernization of C-Path’s data integration pipeline to encompass new data types, and the development of a rare disease knowledge graph.

“We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent throughout the C-Path team,” said Rick Liwski, C-Path’s Chief Technology Officer and DCC director. “Ramona has proven herself to be an invaluable and innovative leader in the field of data science and she is an ideal fit to drive the organization’s data strategy and vision, while also supporting our world-class team of data scientists.”

As executive director of data science, Walls is responsible for leading the data science team, which aims to increase the FAIRness (findable, accessible, inoperable and reusable) of data by developing and integrating semantic standards, tools for consumption and sharing of data, performing data transformations that increase data accessibility, and by performing analyses that transform data into information — all core components of C-Path’s expertise.

Prior to joining C-Path, Walls was assistant research professor in the Bio5 Institute of the University of Arizona, where her research focused on semantic data integration, ontology design, and management of large and dispersed datasets. She has been principal investigator on multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and other funders and has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in fields as diverse as rare diseases, environmental health, evolution, biodiversity, sustainability and space situational awareness.

Walls is on the steering committee of the Clinical Research Data Sharing Alliance, is a board member and active technical contributor to the Genomics Standards Consortium and is a founding member of the OBO Foundry Operations Committee. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental resource management and horticulture at Penn State University and a doctorate in ecology and evolution from Stony Brook University. After a postdoc at the New York Botanical Garden, she joined the iPlant Collaborative, now CyVerse, where she led initiatives related to integrating, managing and publishing big data.

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