Graduate students receive genomics and bioinformatics fellowship awards

Author: Gene Stowe

The Genomics, Disease Ecology and Global Health Strategic Research Initiative Program and the Eck Institute for Global Health are pleased to announce the awarding of five graduate student fellowships in the areas of genomics and bioinformatics. These are one-year awards that will allow graduate students in the College of Science and the College of Engineering to pursue graduate research programs. This program also encourages collaboration between the two colleges as it relates to making available powerful state-of-the-art tools in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics within the newly established Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facilities.
The awardees include:

Samuel Rund

Samuel Rund, Department of Biology, COS – Faculty Advisor: Giles Duffield – to study the molecular basis of the circadian rhythms in the mosquito that transmits malaria, Anopheles gambiae. One possible and novel approach to mosquito control (and thus control of disease transmission) could involve the utilization or disruption of the mosquito’s natural circadian rhythms.

Upeka Samarkoon

Upeka Samarkoon, Department of Biology, COS– Faculty Advisor: Michael Ferdig - to study the nature and complexity of inheritance of malaria, Plasmodium falcipaurm, genomes. The studies intent to look at the complexity of the nature of inheritance and the types of mutations acquired during and after inheritance, with the objective of better understanding the natural history and evolution of new strains of malaria.

Geoffrey Siwo

Geoffrey Siwo, Department of Biology, COS – Faculty Advisor: Michael Ferdig – to study the gene networks involved in the resistance and susceptibility of malaria parasites to the drug chloroquin. The objective of these studies is to identify potential vulnerabilities of drug resistant strains that could be exploited by new intervention strategies or possibly reclaim the use of drugs to which resistance is widespread.

Andrew Rider

Andrew Rider, Department of Computer Science, COE – Faculty Advisor Scott Emrich – to study new approaches in network/data mining and bioinformatics to analyze metagenomic data sets and the very large computational resources required for this work. Specifically, the studies will be applied to describing gene regulatory networks in the malaria parasite, which will have applications to the study of drug resistance and pathogenicity of the parasite.

Darcy Davis

Darcy Davis, Department of Computer Science, COE – Faculty Advisor Nitesh Chawla – to utilize patient medical histories and previously discovered disease-gene interactions to construct, analyze and compare a collection of networks to further understand the interaction between patients, diseases and gene. The objective of these studies is to contribute to the development of prediction models (genetic linkages) that represent novel interactions or patient prognoses.