In a relatively new field called multiscale biology, big data is helping us learn from a massive body of information, as well as the networks they form that define the complex biological processes at play within any living system, that we could not have understood if we stuck with looking at smaller collections of factors in isolation.
After I read that a new study had found health benefits from drinking coffee, I sprang from the table and brewed myself a cup of strong Yemeni espresso. I had downed almost the entire contents when the radio news came on. The broadcaster announced that a recent health study had discovered that if you drank too much coffee, it could kill you.
It was a child who nearly died that made me realize just how drastically my profession had to change. Because nearly 8 million children died in 2010 before reaching the age of five, in large part because of imminently treatable illnesses, and because 57 countries globally are facing a human resources health crisis and of those countries, each only has 1.13 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, compared with 13.22 per 1,000 in the U.S.