Data, Machines, and AI (DMAI) Reading Group

Data, Machines, and AI (DMAI) is a reading group to discuss AI theory and methods, with a strong bent towards understanding what AI methods are most suitable for problems in biology and medicine, and how to advance state-of-the-art AI algorithms.


Reading group meets every two weeks. We have a speaker for every meeting. The speaker selects a paper and sends it to the group coordinator one week before the presentation. The coordinator shares the information with the group. Everyone is expected to read the paper before the group meeting.

Each meeting lasts for 1 hour and has three parts:

  • Paper presentation (30 minutes): The speaker presents the paper, including background, motivation, key challenges, methods and modeling assumptions, datasets, and experiments. The focus is on algorithms and carefully considering what makes them suitable for biomedical applications and why.
  • Insights (5-10 minutes): The speaker shares their insights with the group. This includes insights related to the merits of the research, possible future directions, how this research can be used in our ongoing projects, any drawbacks and ideas on how to fix them, any related-papers (other approaches to study the same problem), etc.
  • Discussion (20-25 minutes): Q&A and broader debate, brainstorming what biological or medical questions these methods can help us answer, dataset availability, source code implementation, any other topic attendees want to discuss.

These are interactive events; questions and comments are welcome throughout the meeting!


Every meeting has a dedicated speaker responsible for selecting a paper and presenting it. We use a rotation system for speakers. Members of the reading group can expect to speak 1-3 times a year.

Paper selection

Papers presented at the reading group are published at various venues over the last two years. Following is a sampling of relevant journals and conferences.

  • Journals:
    • Nature, Science, and Cell family, NEJM, PNAS, Lancet journals, JAMA journals
  • Machine learning and data science:
    • Bioinformatics conferences: ISMB, RECOMB, PSB
    • Journals: TPAMI, JMLR, TKDD, TKDE, Bioinformatics, JAMIA, PLoS Computational Biology, BMC journals, ACS family

We are generally interested in exciting, intriguing, and thought-provoking papers, no matter their publication venue, including preprints (e.g., arXiv, bioRxiv, and medRxiv).


Every other Thursday at 4:30-5:30pm EST.


Hybrid meetings on Zoom and in-person in Countway Bldg.


Reach out to the reading group coordinator (Wanxiang Shen, <>) with questions, comments, and suggestions.

Latest News

Nov 2023:   Next Generation of Therapeutics Commons

Oct 2023:   Structure-Based Drug Design

Geometric deep learning has emerged as a valuable tool for structure-based drug design, to generate and refine biomolecules by leveraging detailed three-dimensional geometric and molecular interaction information.

Oct 2023:   Graph AI in Medicine

Graph AI models in medicine integrate diverse data modalities through pre-training, facilitate interactive feedback loops, and foster human-AI collaboration, paving the way to clinically meaningful predictions.

Sep 2023:   New papers accepted at NeurIPS

Sep 2023:   Future Directions in Network Biology

Excited to share our perspectives on current and future directions in network biology.

Aug 2023:   Scientific Discovery in the Age of AI

Jul 2023:   PINNACLE - Contextual AI protein model

PINNACLE is a contextual AI model for protein understanding that dynamically adjusts its outputs based on biological contexts in which it operates. Project website.

Jun 2023:   Our Group is Joining the Kempner Institute

Excited to join Kempner’s inaugural cohort of associate faculty to advance Kempner’s mission of studying the intersection of natural and artificial intelligence.

Jun 2023:   Welcoming a New Postdoctoral Fellow

An enthusiastic welcome to Shanghua Gao who is joining our group as a postdoctoral research fellow.

Jun 2023:   On Pretraining in Nature Machine Intelligence

May 2023:   Congratulations to Ada and Michelle

Congrats to PhD student Michelle on being selected as the 2023 Albert J. Ryan Fellow and also to participate in the Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Congratulations to PhD student Ada for being selected as the Kempner Institute Graduate Fellow!

Apr 2023:   Universal Domain Adaptation at ICML 2023

New paper introducing the first model for closed-set and universal domain adaptation on time series accepted at ICML 2023. Raincoat addresses feature and label shifts and can detect private labels. Project website.

Apr 2023:   Celebrating Achievements of Our Undergrads

Undergraduate researchers Ziyuan, Nick, Yepeng, Jiali, Julia, and Marissa are moving onto their PhD research in Computer Science, Systems Biology, Neuroscience, and Biological & Medical Sciences at Harvard, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and UMass Lowell. We are excited for the bright future they created for themselves.

Apr 2023:   Welcoming a New Postdoctoral Fellow

An enthusiastic welcome to Tianlong Chen, our newly appointed postdoctoral fellow.

Apr 2023:   New Study in Nature Machine Intelligence

New paper in Nature Machine Intelligence introducing the blueprint for multimodal learning with graphs.

Mar 2023:   Precision Health in Nature Machine Intelligence

New paper with NASA in Nature Machine Intelligence on biomonitoring and precision health in deep space supported by artificial intelligence.

Mar 2023:   Self-Driving Labs in Nature Machine Intelligence

Mar 2023:   TxGNN - Zero-shot prediction of therapeutic use

Mar 2023:   GraphXAI published in Scientific Data

Feb 2023:   Welcoming New Postdoctoral Fellows

A warm welcome to postdoctoral fellows Wanxiang Shen and Ruth Johnson. Congratulations to Ruthie for being named a Berkowitz Fellow.

Zitnik Lab  ·  Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Science  ·  Harvard  ·  Department of Biomedical Informatics