Yang Chen

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Yang Chen received her Ph.D. (2017) in Statistics from Harvard University and then joined the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor of Statistics and Research Assistant Professor at the Michigan Institute of Data Science (MIDAS). She received her B.A. in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics from the University of Science and Technology of China. Research interests include computational algorithms in statistical inference and applied statistics in the field of biology and astronomy.

Jun Li

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Jun Li, PhD, is Professor and Chair for Research in the department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics and Professor of Human Genetics in the Medical School at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

 Prof. Li’s areas of interest include genetic and genomic analyses of complex phenotypes, including bipolar disorder, cancer, blood clotting disease, and traits involving animal models and human microbiomes. Our approach emphasizes statistical analysis of genome-scale datasets (e.g, gene expression and genotyping data, results from next-generation sequencing), evolutionary history, bioinformatics, and pattern recognition.

Danny Forger

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Daniel Forger is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics. He is devoted to understanding biological clocks. He uses techniques from many fields, including computer simulation, detailed mathematical modeling and mathematical analysis, to understand biological timekeeping. His research aims to generate predictions that can be experimentally verified.

Brenda Gillespie

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Brenda Gillespie, PhD, is Associate Director in Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research (CSCAR) with a secondary appointment as Associate Research Professor in the department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She provides statistical collaboration and support for numerous research projects at the University of Michigan. She teaches Biostatistics courses as well as CSCAR short courses in survival analysis, regression analysis, sample size calculation, generalized linear models, meta-analysis, and statistical ethics. Her major areas of expertise are clinical trials and survival analysis.

Prof. Gillespie’s research interests are in the area of censored data and clinical trials. One research interest concerns the application of categorical regression models to the case of censored survival data. This technique is useful in modeling the hazard function (instead of treating it as a nuisance parameter, as in Cox proportional hazards regression), or in the situation where time-related interactions (i.e., non-proportional hazards) are present. An investigation comparing various categorical modeling strategies is currently in progress.

Another area of interest is the analysis of cross-over trials with censored data. Brenda has developed (with M. Feingold) a set of nonparametric methods for testing and estimation in this setting. Our methods out-perform previous methods in most cases.

Adriene Beltz

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The goal of my research is to leverage network analysis techniques to uncover how the brain mediates sex hormone influences on gendered behavior across the lifespan. Specifically, my data science research concerns the creation and application of person-specific connectivity analyses, such as unified structural equation models, to time series data; these are intensive longitudinal data, including functional neuroimages, daily diaries, and observations. I then use these data science methods to investigate the links between androgens (e.g., testosterone) and estradiol at key developmental periods, such as puberty, and behaviors that typically show sex differences, including aspects of cognition and psychopathology.

A network map showing the directed connections among 25 brain regions of interest in the resting state frontoparietal network for an individual; data were acquired via functional magnetic resonance imaging. Black lines depict connections common across individuals in the sample, gray lines depict connections specific to this individual, solid lines depict contemporaneous connections (occurring in the same volume), and dashed lines depict lagged connections (occurring between volumes).

A network map showing the directed connections among 25 brain regions of interest in the resting state frontoparietal network for an individual; data were acquired via functional magnetic resonance imaging. Black lines depict connections common across individuals in the sample, gray lines depict connections specific to this individual, solid lines depict contemporaneous connections (occurring in the same volume), and dashed lines depict lagged connections (occurring between volumes).

Nils G. Walter

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Nils G. Walter, PhD, is the Francis S. Collins Collegiate Professor of Chemistry, Biophysics and Biological Chemistry, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and Professor of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Nature and Nanotechnology likewise employ nanoscale machines that self-assemble into structures of complex architecture and functionality.  Fluorescence microscopy offers a non-invasive tool to probe and ultimately dissect and control these nanoassemblies in real-time.  In particular, single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) allows us to measure distances at the 2-8 nm scale, whereas complementary super-resolution localization techniques based on Gaussian fitting of imaged point spread functions (PSFs) measure distances in the 10 nm and longer range.  In terms of Big Data Analysis, we have developed a method for the intracellular single molecule, high-resolution localization and counting (iSHiRLoC) of microRNAs (miRNAs), a large group of gene silencers with profound roles in our body, from stem cell development to cancer.  Microinjected, singly-fluorophore labeled, functional miRNAs are tracked at super-resolution within individual diffusing particles.  Observed mobility and mRNA dependent assembly changes suggest the existence of two kinetically distinct assembly processes.  We are currently feeding these data into a single molecule systems biology pipeline to bring into focus the unifying molecular mechanism of such a ubiquitous gene regulatory pathway.  In addition, we are using cluster analysis of smFRET time traces to show that large RNA processing machines such as single spliceosomes – responsible for the accurate removal of all intervening sequences (introns) in pre-messenger RNAs – are working as biased Brownian ratchet machines.  On the opposite end of the application spectrum, we utilize smFRET and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy to monitor enhanced enzyme cascades and nanorobots engineered to self-assemble and function on DNA origami.

Artistic depiction of the SiMREPS platform we are building for the direct single molecule counting of miRNA biomarkers in crude biofluids (Johnson-Buck, A. et al. Kinetic fingerprinting to identify and count single nucleic acids. Nat Biotechnol 33, 730-732 (2015)).

Artistic depiction of the SiMREPS platform we are building for the direct single molecule counting of miRNA biomarkers in crude biofluids (Johnson-Buck, A. et al. Kinetic fingerprinting to identify and count single nucleic acids. Nat Biotechnol 33, 730-732 (2015)).

Gilbert S. Omenn

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Gilbert Omenn, MD, PhD, is Professor of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics with appointments in Human Genetics, Molecular Medicine & Genetics in the Medical School and Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health and the Harold T. Shapiro Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Doctor Omenn’s current research interests are focused on cancer proteomics, splice isoforms as potential biomarkers and therapeutic tar- gets, and isoform-level and single-cell functional networks of transcripts and proteins. He chairs the global Human Proteome Project of the Human Proteome Organization.

Michael Boehnke

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Michael Lee Boehnke, PhD, is the Richard G Cornell Distinguished University Professor of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Prof. Boehnke’s research focuses on developing statistical methods for the analysis of human genetic data and application of those methods to understand the genetic basis of human health and disease. His methods and software are used by statisticians and geneticists worldwide. His disease research is focused on type 2 diabetes (T2D) and related traits and on bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. His studies that are generating and analyzing genome or exome sequence data on 10,000s of individuals requiring the efficient handling of petabyte-scale data.

Lydia Beaudrot

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Lydia Beaudrot, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and Postdoctoral Scholar – Michigan Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Prof. Beaudrot combines observational data with ecoinformatic and modeling approaches to investigate questions at the interface of ecological theory and conservation biology. The primary goals of my research are to 1) identify the mechanisms that structure ecological communities 2) understand how tropical mammals and birds respond to global change and 3) apply results to biodiversity conservation.

In an era of “Big Data,” in which data-driven decisions are pivotal to modern society, the field of conservation trails behind, with critical decisions based on expert opinion, biased information and irreproducible research. Global conservation targets require long-term monitoring of biodiversity trends, and a new paradigm for how these data are collected, shared and synthesized. Prof. Beaudrot conducts research with the TEAM Network, the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network, which is a partnership between Conservation International, the Smithsonian Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society. She creates robust analytics to assess biodiversity change and provide scalable solutions for a vital paradigm shift in conservation biology. She is particularly interested in the effects of global change on tropical biodiversity. One of the ways that she assesses this is by monitoring the population status of ~250 mammal and bird species with the Wildlife Picture Index. See wpi.teamnetwork.org.

Luis E. Ortiz

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Luis Ortiz, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Science, College of Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Michigan, Dearborn

The study of large complex systems of structured strategic interaction, such as economic, social, biological, financial, or large computer networks, provides substantial opportunities for fundamental computational and scientific contributions. Luis’ research focuses on problems emerging from the study of systems involving the interaction of a large number of “entities,” which is my way of abstractly and generally capturing individuals, institutions, corporations, biological organisms, or even the individual chemical components of which they are made (e.g., proteins and DNA). Current technology has facilitated the collection and public availability of vasts amounts of data, particularly capturing system behavior at fine levels of granularity. In Luis’ group, they study behavioral data of strategic nature at big data levels. One of their main objectives is to develop computational tools for data science, and in particular learning large-population models from such big sources of behavioral data that we can later use to study, analyze, predict and alter future system behavior at a variety of scales, and thus improve the overall efficiency of real-world complex systems (e.g., the smart grid, social and political networks, independent security and defense systems, and microfinance markets, to name a few).