Dr. Michael Cianfrocco uses cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine protein structures to understand how nanometer-sized molecular machines work. While a powerful technique, cryo-EM data collection and subsequent image analysis remain bespoke, clunky, and heuristic. Dr. Cianfrocco is coupling his 16+ years of experience with artificial intelligence to automate data collection and processing by capturing human expertise into AI-based algorithms. Recently, his laboratory implemented reinforcement learning to guide cryo-electron microscopes for data collection [1, 2]. This work combined real-world datasets and Dr. Cianfrocco’s expertise with AI-driven optimization algorithms to find the ‘best’ areas of cryo-EM samples for data collection.
Our research group studies how and why an organism’s traits (“phenotypes”) evolve in natural populations. Explaining the mechanisms that generate and regulate patterns of phenotypic diversity is a major goal of evolutionary biology: why do we see rapid shifts to strikingly new and distinct character states, and how stable are these evolutionary transitions across space and time? To answer these questions, we generate and analyze high-throughput “big data” on both genomes and phenotypes across the 18,000 species of reptiles and amphibians across the globe. Then, we use the statistical tools of phylogenetic comparative analysis, geometric morphometrics of 3D anatomy generated from CT scans, and genome annotation and comparative transcriptomics to understand the integrated trait correlations that create complex phenotypes. Currently, we are using machine learning and neural networks to study the color patterns of animals vouchered into biodiversity collections and test hypotheses about the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of phenotypic innovation. We are especially passionate about the effective and accurate visualization of large-scale multidimensional datasets, and we prioritize training in both best practices and new innovations in quantitative data display.
My research interests are broad, but generally center on the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss at local, regional, and global scales with an explicit focus on global change drivers. Our work has been published in Science, Nature, Science Advances, Global Change Biology, PNAS, AREES, TREE, and Ecology Letters among other journals. We are especially interested in using AI and machine learning to explore broad-scale patterns of biodiversity and phenotypic variation, mostly in ants.
My research focuses on using digital health solutions, signal processing, machine learning and ecological momentary assessment to understand the physiological and psychological determinants of symptoms in patients with atrial fibrillation. I am building a research framework for rich data collection using smartphone apps, medical records and wearable sensors. I believe that creating a multidimensional dataset to study atrial fibrillation will yield important insights and serve as model for studying all chronic medical conditions.
I received my second PhD in Computer Science (with a focus on distributed systems and software engineering) from Virginia Tech USA in 2020, and the first PhD (with a focus on wireless networking and mobile computing) from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications China in 2015. I received the Best Paper Award from IEEE International Conference on Edge Computing in 2019. My ongoing research projects include measuring the data quality of web services and using federated learning to improve indoor localization accuracy.
I am faculty at ICPSR, the largest social science data archive in the world. I manage an education research pre-registration site (sreereg.org) that is focused on transparency and replicability. I also manage a site for sharing work around record linkage, including code (linkagelibrary.org). I am involved in the LIFE-M project (life-m.org), recently classifying the mortality data. That project uses cutting-edge techniques for machine-reading handwritten forms.
The goal of this project is the creation of a crucial building block of the research on AI and Architecture – a database of 3D models necessary to successfully run Artificial Neural Networks in 3D. This database is part of the first stepping-stones for the research at the AR2IL (Architecture and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory), an interdisciplinary Laboratory between Architecture (represented by Taubman College of Architecture of Urban Planning), Michigan Robotics, and the CS Department of the University of Michigan. A Laboratory dedicated to research specializing in the development of applications of Artificial Intelligence in the field of Architecture and Urban Planning. This area of inquiry has experienced an explosive growth in recent years (triggered in part by research conducted at UoM), as evidenced for example by the growth in papers dedicated to AI applications in architecture, as well as in the investment of the industry in this area. The research funded by this proposal would secure the leading position of Taubman College and the University of Michigan in the field of AI and Architecture. This proposal would also address the current lack of 3D databases that are specifically designed for Architecture applications.
“Neighborhood Environments as Socio-Techno-bio Systems: Water Quality, Public Trust, and Health in Mexico City (NESTSMX)” is an NSF-funded multi-year collaborative interdisciplinary project that brings together experts in environmental engineering, anthropology, and environmental health from the University of Michigan and the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública. The PI is Elizabeth Roberts (anthropology), and the co-PIs are Brisa N. Sánchez (biostatistics), Martha M Téllez-Rojo (public health), Branko Kerkez (environmental engineering), and Krista Rule Wigginton (civil and environmental engineering). Our overarching goal for NESTSMX is to develop methods for understanding neighborhoods as “socio-techno-bio systems” and to understand how these systems relate to people’s trust in (or distrust of) their water. In the process, we will collectively contribute to our respective fields of study while we learn how to merge efforts from different disciplinary backgrounds.
NESTSMX works with families living in Mexico City, that participate in an ongoing longitudinal birth-cohort chemical-exposure study (ELEMENT (Early Life Exposures in Mexico to ENvironmental Toxicants, U-M School of Public Health). Our research involves ethnography and environmental engineering fieldwork which we will combine with biomarker data previously gathered by ELEMENT. Our focus will be on the infrastructures and social structures that move water in and out of neighborhoods, households, and bodies.
My research investigates social inequality and its maintenance across time and generations. Current projects focus on wealth inequality and its consequences for the next generation, the institutional context of social mobility processes and educational inequality in the United States and other industrialized countries. I also help expand the social science data infrastructure and quantitative methods needed to address questions on inequality and mobility. I serve as Principal Investigator of the Wealth and Mobility (WAM) study as well as Co-Investigator of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). As such, my research draws on and helps construct nationally representative survey data as well as full-population administrative data. My methodological work has been focused on causal inference, multiple imputation, and measurement error.