HHMI Interfaces Scholars at the University of New Mexico

Fall 2008 Cohort

George Bezerra Computer Science Paul Hooper
Anthropology

Wenyun Zuo
Biology

Ziya Kalay
Physics

2007 to 2008 Cohort

George Bezerra Computer Science

Helen DavisAnthropology

Erik Erhardt
Statistics

Paul Hooper
Anthropology
Ziya Kalay
Physics

Jordan Okie
Biology

Wenyun Zuo
Biology

Lai Xu
Electrical & Computer Engineering

2006 to 2007 Cohort

Erik Erhardt
Statistics
Paul Hooper
Anthropology
Ziya Kalay
Physics
Jordan Okie
Biology
   
  Sushmita Roy
Computer Science/Biology
Wenyun Zuo
Biology
 

George Bezerra '07-
Present Computer Science George's research interests comprise the self-organization and information processing in living systems. He investigates the mechanisms by which living systems in general spontaneously achieve temporal coherence and develop hierarchical structure, and how they adapt and anticipate responses to changes in the environment. This work is developed by means of an integrative approach within the life sciences, combining knowledge from ecology, immunology, molecular and cell biology, neuroscience and psychology, and sociology, to search for common working principles and self-organizing mechanisms that characterize life. Mathematical models and computer simulations are the main tools. Keywords are network hierarchy and modularity, homeostasis, oscillatory and coordination dynamics, perception, intention, and cognition.    TOP

Helen Davis '07-Present Anthropology Helen's research explores the substantive role of health and ecology on juvenile development. She has analyzed the effects of infection on learning and growth among children within a foraging society located in lowland Bolivia and is currently investigating the distribution of parasite infection and parasite: human (host) relations throughout the region.   TOP



Erik B Erhardt '06-Present Math & Statistics Erik won best poster at UNM Biology Research Day 2007 for his poster, "Stable Isotope Sourcing Using Sampling (SISUS) ©." Erik's current research interests include the general application and development of statistical methods for biological and medical research questions including the areas of biostatistics, statistical genetics, clinical trials, and computational statistics. Topics of papers in progress include phylogenetics and the coalescent process, simultaneous intervals for representing variation in maps, a morphometric analysis of black cohosh [Actaea racemosa L. (Ranunculaceae)], and several on the state of deltal hygiene education. In the UNM Cancer Research and Treatment Center under the direction of Seymour Grufferman, M.D., Dr. P.H., he is the statistician for the largest individual case-control study of Hodgkin's disease in children.    TOP

Paul Hooper '06 - present Anthropology Paul's research interests include cooperation and competition in human social networks, and explaining differences in social and political organization across societies. This research involves the development of theoretical models of human social behavior as well as empirical analysis of data from fieldwork with an indigenous group in lowland Bolivia. Paul has co-authored two papers, one with GF Miller (2008) "Mutual mate choice can drive costly signaling even under perfect monogamy." Adaptive Behavior 16(1), 53- 70, and the other, with J. Winking, H. Kaplan, M. Gurven, and P.L. Hooper. "Evolution of the post-reproductive lifespan." It's currenlty in prep.   TOP

 

Ziya Kalay '06 - present Physics Ziya works on statistical physics and is interested diffusion-reaction systems.   TOP




Jordan Okie '06-present Biology Jordan Okie and Bill Burnside presented a poster on "Cultural ecogeography: environmental determinants of hunter-gatherer geographic patterns" was awarded the prize for best student poster in the session on An integrative view of ecogeographic "rules" at the 3rd Biennual Conference of the International Biogeography Society held in the Canary Islands in 2007. Jordan is interested in how allometric scaling, metabolic theory, and stoichiometry can be used to explain patterns in the stucture of food webs and the dynamics of ecosystems.   TOP

 

Sushmita Roy '06-'07 Computer Science Sushmita Roy won Computer Science UNM Student Conference '07 best graduate poster. Sushmita, placed second in Poster Presenations at UNM Biology Research Day 2007 for her poster, "Predicting protein–protein interactions using amino-acid composition." Among other papers, she is a co-author on the, Discovery of functional elements in 12 Drosophila genomes using evolutionary signatures (2007) Nature 450, 219-232. Among other things, Sushmita has studied the inference, analysis and organization of bio-chemical networks, which is central to determining how an organism functions and adapts to its changing environment. Because these networks are highly dynamic, bio-techniques today can only provide us a single snapshot of these networks. Sushmita's goal is use integrate different types of genome scale data such as gene expression, protein interaction, phylogenomic and metabolic data to build a holistic picture of the structural and functional properties of these networks.    TOP

Lai Xu '07 - '08 Electrical and Computer Engineering Lai is interested in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). By analyzing structural MRI data from both healthy controls and schizophrenia patients, she is attempting to identify the anatomic difference of the schizophrenia patients and learn more about the brain’s structural ‘network’. Because MRI data are naturally acquired as a complex-valued data set, it is regrettable that all MRI analyses discard the phase part of the complex-valued data. Lai's aim is to use phase map to improve MRI research and offer more information to the study of mental illness.    TOP

 

Wenyun Zuo '06 - present Biology Wenyun works on species-abundance relationship, environmental factors affecting species distribution, and ecological modeling for predicting potential distribution of species. In her spare time she has built a new system with Support Vector Machine for predicting potential distribution of Rhododendron in China based on the specimen data. According to her data, this new system is better than the GARP system.   TOP