Leading data science expert joins RENCI as deputy director

Rebecca Boyles, MSPH, currently the founding director of the Center for Data Modernization Solutions at RTI International, will join the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as deputy director on June 24, RENCI Director Ashok Krishnamurthy, PhD, announced today.

Boyles’ leadership of the Center for Data Modernization at RTI International focuses on bridging the research and information technology gap by applying a data ecosystem perspective that enables researchers to maximize the value of their data assets. Boyles also has worked closely already as a partner to RENCI, in particular as a leader on both NHLBI BioData Catalyst and the NIH HEAL Data Stewardship Group, two important projects that help researchers harness the power of data. 

As RENCI’s deputy director, Boyles will take responsibility for RENCI’s research division by managing and enhancing research partnerships with faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, and North Carolina State University; building relationships between RENCI and Triangle area businesses; and leading efforts to bring new federal research funding to RENCI and its partner institutions. She will also apply her trademark skills in developing fit-for-purpose solutions that enable researchers to use data for the public good. 

“Rebecca is an exceptional leader with deep expertise in building data science teams and executing on innovative and impactful projects,” said Krishnamurthy. “We have worked with her on a number of joint projects, and this history shows us that she will be able to make significant strategic contributions at RENCI and in partnership with UNC and our broader research community.” 

In addition to her passion for data science, research, and information technology, Boyles has also enabled strong strategic growth at organizations throughout her career. While a data scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Boyles clarified the strategic vision for the environmental health science data ecosystem, leveraging existing data assets to respond to timely public health issues. She identified opportunities to catalyze scientific advancements in chemical safety and public health through interactions with broad stakeholder groups. She also liaised with NIH leadership and served as science officer on the Big Data 2 Knowledge (BD2K) program including the Data Discovery Index, Frameworks for Community-Based Standards, and The Center for Predictive Computational Phenotyping.

“I am thrilled to join RENCI’s efforts to tackle intractable, long-standing problems by driving the future of scientific computing in collaboration with their partner institutions,” said Boyles. “I look forward to bringing my background in environmental health and biomedical research, along with my experience partnering with diverse groups, to contribute to the pursuit of novel and effective solutions.” 

Boyles holds an MSPH in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill, along with a BA in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her areas of expertise include data modernization, FAIR data principles, data and modeling applications, data analysis and data management, data integration, and data strategy and implementation. 

Download a picture of Rebecca Boyles.