Sara Lafia

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I am a Research Fellow in the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. My research is currently supported by a NSF project, Developing Evidence-based Data Sharing and Archiving Policies, where I am analyzing curation activities, automatically detecting data citations, and contributing to metrics for tracking the impact of data reuse. I hold a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Santa Barbara and I have expertise in GIScience, spatial information science, and urban planning. My interests also include the Semantic Web, innovative GIS education, and the science of science. I have experience deploying geospatial applications, designing linked data models, and developing visualizations to support data discovery.

Xianglei Huang

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Prof. Huang is specialized in satellite remote sensing, atmospheric radiation, and climate modeling. Optimization, pattern analysis, and dimensional reduction are extensively used in his research for explaining observed spectrally resolved infrared spectra, estimating geophysical parameters from such hyperspectral observations, and deducing human influence on the climate in the presence of natural variability of the climate system. His group has also developed a deep-learning model to make a data-driven solar forecast model for use in the renewable energy sector.

Nicholas Henderson

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My research primarily focuses on the following main themes: 1) development of methods for risk prediction and analyzing treatment effect heterogeneity, 2) Bayesian nonparametrics and Bayesian machine learning methods with a particular emphasis on the use of these methods in the context of survival analysis, 3) statistical methods for analyzing heterogeneity in risk-benefit profiles and for supporting individualized treatment decisions, and 4) development of empirical Bayes and shrinkage methods for high-dimensional statistical applications. I am also broadly interested in collaborative work in biomedical research with a focus on the application of statistics in cancer research.

Gary Luker

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We use a variety of quantitative imaging methods, ranging from single cells to clinical studies, to investigate cancer signaling and response to therapy over space and time. We develop image analysis methods to extract data from thousands of single cells over time and voxel-wise measurements of imaging parameters. We also use bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing to investigate heterogeneity among cancer cells and changes induced by intercellular interactions. A current goal of our ongoing work is to merge RNA sequencing and imaging data to understand cell decision making in cancer. We collaborate with investigators using machine learning and computational modeling approaches to inform cell signaling and resultant behaviors in tumor growth and metastasis.

Tayo Fabusuyi

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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.

Lana Garmire

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My research interest lies in applying data science for actionable transformation of human health from the bench to bedside. Current research focus areas include cutting edge single-cell sequencing informatics and genomics; precision medicine through integration of multi-omics data types; novel modeling and computational methods for biomarker research; public health genomics. I apply my biomedical informatics and analytical expertise to study diseases such as cancers, as well the impact of pregnancy/early life complications on later life diseases.

Thomas Schmidt

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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

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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.

Maureen Sartor

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My lab has two main areas of focus: molecular characteristics of head and neck cancer, and the intersection of regulatory genomics and pathway analysis. With head and neck cancer, we study tumor subtypes and biomarkers of prognosis, treatment response, and recurrence. We perform integrative omics analyses, dimension reduction methods, and prediction techniques, with the ultimate goal of identifying patient subsets who would benefit from either an additional targeted treatment or de-escalated treatment to increase quality of life. For regulatory genomics and pathway analysis, we develop statistical tests taking into account important covariates and other variables for weighting observations.

Carlos Aguilar

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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.