BIDS welcomes Dr. Nic Dobbins as an Assistant Director

Nic Dobbins, PhD, MLIS

Dr. Nic Dobbins’ research interests focus on developing intuitive and useful user-centered tools for scientific discovery and data extraction from electronic health record data. His doctoral dissertation centered on pioneering natural language processing methods and large language model fine-tuning for generating database queries to find patients eligible for clinical trials, and his work was the first to empirically demonstrate that machine learning methods can surpass human programmers in identifying eligible patients using actual clinical trials and structured database queries on real-world data. Dr. Dobbins is also the creator and developer of Leaf, one of the most widely used cohort discovery tools in the world. Additionally, he has extensive experience in full-stack software engineering, user interface design, database schema design and management, and has published high-impact peer-reviewed manuscripts involving information extraction from clinical notes, large language models, automated biomedical reasoning, knowledge representation, social determinants of health, and de-identification. He is also fluent in written and spoken Japanese language. 

He is the Assistant Director for education in the Biomedical Informatics and Data Science section of the Department of Medicine. Within Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Dobbins leads efforts in large-scale de-identification of clinical notes, large language model usage and evaluation and cohort discovery tool development. Dr. Dobbins believes strongly in international scientific collaboration and also holds an Adjunct Assistant Professorship in the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine in Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. He received his PhD in biomedical informatics from the University of Washington, MLIS in library and information science from the UW iSchool, and BA in History and Asian Languages and Literatures from the University of Minnesota.