Tayo Fabusuyi

By |

Tayo Fabusuyi is an assistant research scientist in the Human Factors Group at UMTRI. His research interests are in Urban Systems and Operations Research, specifically designing and implementing initiatives that support sustainable and resilient communities with a focus on efficiency and equity issues. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, his research develops and applies hard and soft Operations Research methods to urban systems issues in a manner that emphasizes theory driven solutions with demonstrated value-added. A central theme of his research activities is the use of demand side interventions, via information and pricing strategies in influencing the public’s travel behavior with the objective of achieving more beneficial societal outcomes. Informed by the proliferation of big data and the influence of transportation in the urban sphere, these research activities are categorized broadly into three overlapping and interdependent areas – intelligent transportation systems (ITS), emerging mobility services and urban futures. Before joining the research faculty at UMTRI, Dr. Fabusuyi was a Planning Economist at the African Development Bank and an adjunct Economics faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, where he received his Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy.

Annette Ostling

By |

Biodiversity in nature can be puzzlingly high in the light of competition between species, which arguably should eventually result in a single winner. The coexistence mechanisms that allow for this biodiversity shape the dynamics of communities and ecosystems. My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of competitive coexistence, how competition influences community structure and diversity, and what insights observed patterns of community structure might provide about competitive coexistence.

I am interested in the use and development of data science approaches to draw insights regarding coexistence mechanisms from the structural patterns of ecological communities with respect to species’ functional traits, relative abundance, spatial distribution, and phylogenetic relatedness, through as community dynamics proceed. I am also interested in the use of Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian approaches for fitting demographic models to forest census data sets, demographic models that can then be used to quantitatively assess the role of different competitive coexistence mechanisms.

Thomas Schmidt

By |

The current goal of our research is to learn enough about the physiology and ecology of microbes and microbial communities in the gut that we are able to engineer the gut microbiome to improve human health. The first target of our engineering is the production of butyrate – a common fermentation product of some gut microbes that is essential for human health. Butyrate is the preferred energy source for mitochondria in the epithelial cells lining the gut and it also regulates their gene expression.

One of the most effective ways to influence the composition and metabolism of the gut microbiota is through diet. In an interventional study, we have tracked responses in the composition and fermentative metabolism of the gut microtiota in >800 healthy individuals. Emerging patterns suggest several configurations of the microbiome that can result in increased production of butyrate acid. We have isolated the microbes that form an anaerobic food web to convert dietary fiber to butyrate and continue to make discoveries about their physiology and interactions. Based on these results, we have initiated a clinical trial in which we are hoping to prevent the development of Graft versus Host Disease following bone marrow transplants by managing butyrate production by the gut microbiota.

We are also beginning to track hundreds of other metabolites from the gut microbiome that may influence human health. We use metagenomes and metabolomes to identify patterns that link the microbiota with their metabolites and then test those models in human organoids and gnotobiotic mice colonized with synthetic communities of microbes. This blend of wet-lab research in basic microbiology, data science and in ecology is moving us closer to engineering the gut microbiome to improve human health.

Mihaela (Miki) Banu

By |

In the area of multi-scale modeling of manufacturing processes: (a) Models for understanding the mechanisms of forming and joining of lightweight materials. This new understanding enables the development of advanced processes which remove limitations of current state-of-the-art capabilities that exhibit limited formability of high strength lightweight alloys, and limited reproducibility of joining quality; (b) Innovative multi-scale finite element models for ultrasonic welding of battery tabs (resulting in models adopted by GM for designing and manufacturing batteries for the Chevy Volt), and multi-scale models for ultrasonic welding of short carbon fiber composites (resulting in models adopted by GM for designing and manufacturing assemblies made of carbon fiber composites with metallic parts); (c) Data-driven algorithms of prediction geometrical and microstructural integrity of the incremental formed parts. Machine learning is used for developing fast and robust methods to be integrated into the designing process and replace finite element simulations.

Shaobing Xu

By |

My work lies in the learning, control, and design of autonomous systems with an emphasis on connected automated vehicles (CAVs). I have been committed to developing robust autonomous vehicles, augmented reality (AR) technology, and V2X systems at Mcity. The highlights include: (1) a robust self-driving algorithm/software stack enabling high-level CAVs; (2) a data-and-AI-driven sensor-level augmented reality (AR) system for efficient safe CAV tests. These systems have been deployed on the Mcity CAV fleet and Mcity testing track for daily operations. I am interested in using big naturalistic human-driving data to train motion planning and control algorithms of self-driving cars, so the automated cars could behave with better roadmanship and thus higher acceptance. I am also interested in data-driven low-uncertainty learning algorithms for object detection, tracking, and fusion, in order to build the perception system of safety-critical autonomous systems.

Carlos Aguilar

By |

The Aguilar group is focused understanding transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms of skeletal muscle stem cells in diverse contexts such as regeneration after injury and aging. We focus on this area because there are little to no therapies for skeletal muscle after injury or aging. We use various types of in-vivo and in-vitro models in combination with genomic assays and high-throughput sequencing to study these molecular mechanisms.

Xu Shi

By |

My methodological research focus on developing statistical methods for routinely collected healthcare databases such as electronic health records (EHR) and claims data. I aim to tackle the unique challenges that arise from the secondary use of real-world data for research purposes. Specifically, I develop novel causal inference methods and semiparametric efficiency theory that harness the full potential of EHR data to address comparative effectiveness and safety questions. I develop scalable and automated pipelines for curation and harmonization of EHR data across healthcare systems and coding systems.

Evan Keller

By |

Our laboratory focuses on (1) the biology of cancer metastasis, especially bone metastasis, including the role of the host microenvironment; and (2) mechanisms of chemoresistance. We explore for genes that regulate metastasis and the interaction between the host microenvironment and cancer cells. We are performing single cell multiomics and spatial analysis to enable us to identify rare cell populations and promote precision medicine. Our research methodology uses a combination of molecular, cellular, and animal studies. The majority of our work is highly translational to provide clinical relevance to our work. In terms of data science, we collaborate on applications of both established and novel methodologies to analyze high dimensional; deconvolution of high dimensional data into a cellular and tissue context; spatial mapping of multiomic data; and heterogenous data integration.

Lisa Levinson

By |

My research interests are in natural language semantics and psycholinguistics, focusing on verbs. I conduct behavioral psycholinguistic experiments with methodologies such as self-paced reading and maze tasks, as well as surveys of linguistic and semantic judgments. I also study semantic variation using corpora and datasets such as the Twitter Decahose, to better understand how words have developed diverging meanings in different communities, age groups, or regions. I use primarily R and Python to collect, manage, and analyze data. I direct the UM WordLab in the linguistics department, working with students (especially undergraduates) on experimental and computational research focusing on lexical representations.

Wenhao Sun

By |

We are interested in resolving outstanding fundamental scientific problems that impede the computational materials design process. Our group uses high-throughput density functional theory, applied thermodynamics, and materials informatics to deepen our fundamental understanding of synthesis-structure-property relationships, while exploring new chemical spaces for functional technological materials. These research interests are driven by the practical goal of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative to accelerate materials discovery, but whose resolution requires basic fundamental research in synthesis science, inorganic chemistry, and materials thermodynamics.