Celebrating Distinction event honors Panagiotis “Takis” Benos

Panagiotis “Takis” Benos, Ph.D., William Bushnell Presidential Chaired Professor at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions department of epidemiology, was recognized November 16 at Celebrating Distinction.

two people posing with chair
Dr. Takis Benos and PHHP Dean Beth Virnig with one of the chairs presented to honorees at Celebrating Distinction.

Celebrating Distinction honors UF Health faculty members who recently have been named to an endowed professorship or chair, as well as the donors who made the endowed positions possible. Appointments to endowed professorships and chairs are reserved for faculty members who have achieved national and international acclaim.

An expert in systems biology and machine learning, Benos joined the University of Florida under the university’s artificial intelligence initiative in 2022 from the University of Pittsburgh.

His research focuses on the integration of heterogeneous (bio)medical data, including–omics, imaging and clinical data, for studying the onset and progression of diseases. His lab develops innovative causal inference and other machine learning methods to identify subtypes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, investigate the molecular mechanisms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and response to cancer vaccines, and identify biomarkers for survival of hepatitis patients with alcohol use disorder and development of liver fibrosis.

His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science, PNAS, European Respiratory Journal and others. Benos has presented at many international conferences and he has been invited to give talks at universities worldwide. He has been continuously funded through his own National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation grants since 2003 and has a large number of collaborations. He helped found two Ph.D. programs at the University of Pittsburgh, and has trained 11 postdoctoral fellows, 20 graduate students and 40 undergraduate students.

This endowment, named in honor of William P. Bushnell, supports a five-year term appointment by the president of the University of Florida. Bushnell studied engineering at UF in the 1920s and developed a number of successful ventures in the steel industry. His civic and professional experience included serving as a local politician of Bellair Shores, Florida, director of the Tampa Builders Exchange and CEO of Florida Metals Inc. and Bushnell Steel Products Inc. Bushnell made a substantial number of major gifts to UF during his lifetime and also funded charitable gift annuities. The William P. and Janet F. Bushnell Professorship in Urban Environmental Sustainability in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences also honors Bushnell’s legacy.