My research focuses on building infrastructure for public health and health science research organizations to take advantage of cloud computing, strong software engineering practices, and MLOps (machine learning operations). By equipping biomedical research groups with tools that facilitate automation, better documentation, and portable code, we can improve the reproducibility and rigor of science while scaling up the kind of data collection and analysis possible.
Research topics include:
1. Open source software and cloud infrastructure for research,
2. Software development practices and conventions that work for academic units, like labs or research centers, and
3. The organizational factors that encourage best practices in reproducibility, data management, and transparency
The practice of science is a tug of war between competing incentives: the drive to do a lot fast, and the need to generate reproducible work. As data grows in size, code increases in complexity and the number of collaborators and institutions involved goes up, it becomes harder to preserve all the “artifacts” needed to understand and recreate your own work. Technical AND cultural solutions will be needed to keep data-centric research rigorous, shareable, and transparent to the broader scientific community.
The primary tools currently in use are variations of linear models (regression, MLM, SEM, and so on) as we pursue the initial aims of the NICHD funded work. We are expanding into new areas that require new tools. Our adolescent sample is diverse, selected through quota sampling of high schools close enough to UM to afford the use of neuroimaging tools, but it is not population representative. To overcome this, we have begun work to calibrate our sample with the nationally representative Monitoring the Future study, implementing pseudo-weighting and multilevel regression and post-stratification. To enable much more powerful analyses, we are aiming toward the harmonization of multiple, high quality longitudinal databases from adolescence through early adulthood. This would benefit traditional analyses by allowing cross-validation with high power, but also provide opportunities for newer data science tools such as computational modeling and machine learning approaches.
Societal control tends to be implemented from the top-down, whether that is a private corporation or a communist state. How can data science empower from the bottom-up? Computational technologies can be designed to replace extractive economies with generative cycles. My research includes AI for the artisanal economy; computational modeling of Indigenous practices; and other means for putting the power of data science in the service of generative justice.
Student moving from her knowledge of braiding algorithms, to her program for braiding patterns, to a mannequin head for installation in adult braider’s shops. https://csdt.org/culture/cornrowcurves/index.html
My data science-related work deals with predicting productivity of entry-level workers using applicants’ psychometric profiles. The work has relevance for the design of AI-based hiring, job search for unemployed workers, sectoral transitions (particularly for entry-level workers), and the design of optimal incentive contracts based on worker type.
My research focuses on the intersection between mobile technology, parenting, parent-child interaction, and child development of processes such as executive functioning, self-regulation, and social-emotional well-being. Our projects use a combination of methods including surveys, videotaped parent-child interaction tasks, time diaries, and mobile device app logging to examine how parents and young children use mobile technologies throughout their day. We have developed novel content analysis approaches to understand the experience of young children while using commercially available mobile apps – including advertising content, educational quality, and data collection. We emphasize questions that are relevant to everyday parenting experiences, and also consider what design changes would help create an optimal default environment for children and families.
Before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2018 as Professor and Marion Elizabeth Blue Chair of Children and Families, I was Co-Director of the 3DL Partnership at the University of Washington, where I collaborated with academic colleagues, students, and service providers throughout the state to conduct and translate research on social emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-informed practices. I am now pursuing a similar line of research in Michigan, where I am collaborating with state partners and to identify, develop, and refine new approaches to disseminate research for schools and early childhood settings engaged in SEL and trauma work. As a scholar, I am committed to increasing the visibility, application, and sustainability of evidence-based programs and practices relevant to these topics and have worked extensively in the U.S. and internationally to advance goals for prevention and the promotion of child well-being.
Shobita Parthasarathy studies the governance of emerging science and technology as well as the politics of evidence and expertise in policymaking, in comparative and international perspective. She has a long-standing interest in the use and regulation of genomic and genetic data. Her first two books, Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT Press, 2007) and Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe, (University of Chicago Press, 2017) cover these themes. Using comparative and qualitative interpretive research methods, she studies the the ethics, politics, and economics of data collection and interpretation. This includes concerns about consent and intellectual property in genomic databases, the social implications of commodifying data, the use of personal data in determining access to social services and health care, and the use of data for social justice and public good.
Her current research focuses on the politics of inclusive innovation in international development, with a focus in India. She is interested in how political culture and ideology shape what counts as inclusive “innovation”, and in the implications for social and political order—particularly the “empowerment” of poor girls and women.
Kentaro Toyama is W. K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. He is the author of “Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology.” Toyama conducts interdisciplinary research to understand how the world’s low-income communities interact with digital technology and to invent new ways for technology to support their socio-economic development, including computer simulations of complex systems for policy-making. Previously, Toyama did research in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and human-computer interaction at Microsoft and taught mathematics at Ashesi University in Ghana.
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.