Technological advances in life sciences research require dealing with massive amounts of data. To give future life scientists a foundation in data sciences, Nebraska established a new doctoral program that provides the skills and experience to answer questions only big data can handle. The Complex Biosystems program assembles more than 100 faculty from across four colleges to train students in acquiring, evaluating and analyzing big data. This highly interdisciplinary program exposes students to five specializations, encompassing a range of quantitative approaches and life sciences – from mathematical models and algorithms to ecosystem dynamics and host-microbe interactions. The program director is Jennifer Clarke, head of the Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative. The first students graduated in 2017.