Past Fellows

Group photo 2013-2014 University of Miami Center for Computational Science CCS Fellows

Past Fellows

Congratulations to our past IDSC Fellows for successful completion of the program (alphabetical by last name):





Jeo Jin "Amy "Ahn, 2018-2019 IDSC Fellow

Yeo Jin “Amy” Ahn (2018-2019)

Project  Automating and Accelerating the Autism Diagnostic Process

Mitsunori Ogihara, PhD | Department of Computer Science and IDSC
Daniel S. Messinger, PhD  |  Professor of Psychology

Amy was a PhD student in Psychology. She graduated with honors from Cornell University with a B.S. in Human Development and a concentration in Social and Personality Development. She joined the Early Play and Development Lab in fall of 2017. She was interested in infants’ and young children’s social interaction and how it relates to typical and atypical social and emotional development. She aimed to better understand children’s social behaviors by implementing objective measurement.

Steven Anderson, 2018-2019 IDSC Fellow

Steven Anderson (2018-2019)

Project  Virtual Reality Simulations of Dyadic Medical Interactions

Mitsunori Ogihara, PhD | Dept. of Computer Science and IDSC AI + Machine Learning
Elizabeth Reynolds Losin, PhD  |  Department of Psychology – Health Division

Steven was a PhD student working under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Losin in the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Division in the Department of Psychology. He received his Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Psychology from Harvard University Extension School. Prior to joining the Social and Cultural Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Miami, Steven worked on developing behavioral health interventions for patients with chronic medical conditions at a healthcare technology company. His doctoral research centered on identifying sociocultural and contextual influences on pain perception in the self and others, with an applied focus on medical settings and the doctor-patient relationship. His research utilizes behavioral, neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and computational methods.

Chitra Banarjee, University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing IDSC Fellow 2019-2020

Chitra Banarjee (2019-2020)

Project:  Movement and Social Approach in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Gang Ren, PhD | IDSC AI + Machine Learning
Daniel S. Messinger, PhD  |  Professor of Psychology

Chitra was an undergraduate at UM studying Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Mathematics (Applied Analysis) with a minor in Chemistry. She was currently working under Dr. Daniel Messinger in the Interactive Behavior in Schools (IBIS) project to understand social movement and approach in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through objective, continuous measurements. As an IDSC Fellow, she hoped to explore the potential of automated behavioral measurement for objectively describing the ASD phenotype through quantification of the social movement deficits characteristic of children with ASD in their interactions with their peers.

Anthony Mario Bonacolta, University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing IDSC Fellow 2019-2020

Anthony Mario Bonacolta (2019-2020)

Project:  Single-cell Transcriptomic Sequencing of a Coral during the Bleaching Process

Ben Kirtman, PhD | Deputy Director, IDSC, and, Director, IDSC Earth Systems
Javier del Campo, PhD  |  Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Biology and Ecology, RSMAS

Anthony was a first year PhD student in Dr. Javier del Campo’s Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Laboratory in the Marine Biology and Ecology Department at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. His research focused on the role of micro-eukaryotes and bacteria in marine organisms.

Zachary Brooks, 2013-2014 IDSC Fellow

Zachary Brooks (2013-2014)

Project:  Big Data Analysis Methods in Climate Modeling

Ben Kirtman, PhD | RSMAS Department of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, and IDSC Earth Systems
Eric Rozier, PhD | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Undergraduate IDSC Fellow and FooteFellow  |  Double Major in Marine Science/Computer Science (minor in Math)

Jin Yop Stephano Chang, 2018-2019 IDSC Fellow

Jin Yop “Stephano” Chang (2018-2019)

Project  Development of Closed-Loop Neuromodulation of Gait and Balance Control After Spinal Cord Injury

Brian R. Noga, PhD and James D. Guest, MD PhD FACS FRCS (C) | The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
Odelia Schwartz, PhD  |  Department of Computer Science

Stephano was a Neurosurgery resident pursuing his PhD in Neuroscience with Dr. Brian Noga and Dr. James Guest at the University of Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, combining his clinical background with his scientific interest in neuromodulation for spinal cord injury. During the IDSC Fellows program, he aimed to apply a computational approach to optimize the application of neurostimulation technologies to restore function after injury.

Ashley Cook, 2021-2022 IDSC Fellow

Ashley Cook (2021-2022)

Project Detection of Rice’s Whale Calls in the Gulf of Mexico Using Passive Acoustic Data and Deep Learning


Ashley was a second-year Marine Biology and Ecology PhD student at the Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS) at the UM studying cetacean acoustics. She worked under Dr. Elizabeth Babcock and Dr. Melissa Soldevilla using passive acoustic monitoring to investigate spatiotemporal trends in Rice’s whale calls and to estimate Rice’s whale density in their primary habitat in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. As an IDSC Fellow, she utilized machine learning techniques to develop a call detector for Rice’s whales that can be applied to long-term acoustic datasets.

Hanjing Dai, 2017-2018 IDSC Fellow

Hanjing Dai (2017-2018)

Project:  Image Rectification for Polarimetric Slope Sensing Data

Brian Haus, PhD| Department of Ocean Sciences
Shahriar Negahdaripour, PhD | Electrical & Computer Engineering

Hanjing was a first-year Ph.D student working under the supervision of Dr. Brian Haus at the Division of Applied Marine Physics, University of Miami. She received her M.Sc. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2015 from HKUST. Her research interests focused on both fluid dynamics and morphology in coastal regions, by using laboratory and mathematical models she hoped to investigate the realistic evolution of the coastal environment. Hanjing research was in Civil Engineering, Ocean Engineering, and Remote Sensing.

Katherine Dale, 2014-2015 IDSC Fellow

Katherine Dale (2014-2015)

Project:  Big Data Analysis in Marine Genomics

Doug Crawford, PhD | RSMAS
Geoff Sutcliffe, PhD | Department of Computer Science

Foote Fellow  |  Marine Science | Biology | Computer Science

Julian Dallmeier, 2021-2022 IDSC Fellow

Julian Dallmeier (2021-2022)

Project Spatial Clustering Analysis of Corpora Amylacea and Tau in the Hippocampus


Julian was a third-year Neuroscience PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. William Scott. He researched clearance mechanisms of Alzheimer’s-disease-associated pathology at the Brain Endowment Bank. As an IDSC Fellow, he applied feature extraction and clustering algorithms to neuropathological datasets to potentially unveil novel pathology distribution patterns.

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis (2021-2022)

Project Expanding Functional Control of a Fully Implanted Brain-Computer Interface


Kevin Davis was a second-year graduate student in the medical scientist training program (MD/PhD) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research centered around neuromodulation and rehabilitation for movement disorders such as spinal cord injury and paralysis. As an IDSC Fellow, he used feature extraction and a series of classification and regression algorithms to improve the functionality of a fully-implanted Brain-Computer Interface in a patient with chronic cervical spinal cord injury for use in their home.

Matt Danzi, 2015-2016 IDSC Fellow

Matt Danzi (2015-2016)

Project:Identifying the Regulators in RNA-Seq Data

Stephan Schuerer, PhD  |  Interim Program Director, IDSC Drug Discovery
Stefan Wuchty, PhD  |  Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

3rd Year PhD Candidate, Lembix Lab | The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis  |  Dept. of Neurological Surgery

Phillip Davidson, 2015-2016 IDSC Fellow

Phillip L. Davidson (2015-2016)

Project:Comparative RNA-seq Analysis during Embryogenesis” (two development stages of the ctenophore)

Gary Beecham, PhD |  Director, Division of Research Informatics in the Center for Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics
William Browne, PhD |  Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences

Senior, Biology Major

Michael Durante, 2016-2017 IDSC Fellow

Michael Durante (2016-2017)

Project:  Michael’s project “Epigenomic Profiling of Uveal Melanoma” focused on utilizing next-generation sequencing techniques to understanding the epigenetic mechanisms of uveal melanoma tumorigenesis. Uveal melanoma is the most common primary adult cancer of the eye, which manifests as aggressive tumors (pictured at right). Most uveal melanoma tumors have one of three driver mutations (BAP1, SF3B1, EIF1AX), as well as distinct copy-number profiles. Michael will use techniques that look at histone modifications and chromatin accessibility to study how the driver mutations change the epigenetic landscape of uveal melanoma. The large-scale datasets that are generated with these techniques were analyzed using the Center for Computational Science’s Pegasus supercomputer.

Michael’s IDSC Fellowship helped him use advanced mathematical modeling and novel computational algorithms to analyze these next-generation sequencing datasets.

J. William Harbour, MD|  Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Stephan Schürer, PhD | CCS Drug Discovery Program


Michael Fernandez, 2016-2017 IDSC Fellow

Michael Fernandez (2016-2017)

Project: 3D Vortex Visualization

Gecheng Zha, PhD | Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Mahsa Mirzargar, PhD  | Computer Science

Matthew Field, 2014-2015 IDSC Fellow

Matthew Field (2014-2015)

Project: Retinoblastoma Genomics Analysis for Variant Discovery

J. William Harbour, MD|  Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Nick Tsinoremas, PhD | IDSC Founding Director

Cancer Biology Program  |  Miller School of Medicine

Jia Geng, University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing IDSC Fellow 2019-2020

Jia Geng (2019-2020)

Project:  Developing Deep Learning Models for Rotifer (Bachionus spp.) Detection and Classification

Amin Sarafraz, PhD  |  Research Assistant Professor, College of Engineering and IDSC Systems and Data Engineering
Daniel Benetti, PhD  |  Director of Aquaculture and Professor, Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society

Jia was a PhD student in Marine Ecosystem and Society under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Benetti. He received his BS in Aquaculture from the Ocean University of China in 2015 and Graduate Certification in Data Science Foundations from North Carolina State University in 2019. His doctoral research centered on developing AI systems to automated live feed cultivation for fish hatcheries. During the IDSC Fellows program, he applied deep learning models to achieve high accuracy rotifer detection and classification. His project website can be reached via GitHub: gengjia0214/AIRoti.

Congratulations Jia! Jia was been selected for an “AI for Earth Microsoft Azure Compute” Grant. Through this award, Jia received a sponsored Microsoft Azure account for his project. Microsoft’s AI for Earth program awards grants to support projects that change the way people and organizations monitor, model, and ultimately manage, Earth’s natural systems. Depending on project need, the grants can award Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources (including AI tools) and/or data labeling services.

Lyssa Goldberg, 2014-2015 IDSC Fellow

Lyssa Goldberg (2014-2015)

Project: Media Coverage Biases in Reporting on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Joseph Uscinski, PhD | Department of Political Science
Mitsunori Ogihara, PhD | Department. of Computer Science, and Director, IDSC AI + Machine Learning
Alberto Cairo, PhD | Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the School of Communication and Director, IDSC Visualization

Foote Fellow  |  Journalism | Political Science | Computer Science

Matt Grossi, 2017-2018 IDSC Fellow

Matt Grossi (2017-2018)

Project:  Predicting Ocean Dispersion Using Neural Networks

Tamay Özgökmen, PhD |  Department of Ocean Sciences
Miroslav Kubat, PhD | Electrical & Computer Engineering

Matt Grossi was a PhD student in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). He was working with Dr. Tamay Özgökmen and the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) towards understanding and predicting how spilled oil gets transported in the ocean using field observations, hydrodynamic models, and, as an IDSC Fellow, neural networks. Matt holds a B.S. in Physical Oceanography with a minor in Meteorology from Florida Institute of Technology and a M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Delaware. Before coming to the University of Miami, he worked in the Ocean Observation Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) where he oversaw underwater glider operations and maintained a regional network of high-frequency (HF) radar sites for monitoring coastal ocean surface currents in near real time.

Viola Zhi Liu, 2013-2014 IDSC Fellow

Zhi Liu (2013-2014)

Project:  Gene Network Organization in Disease

Gary Beecham, PhD | Dr. John T. Foundation Dept. of Human Genetics
Xiaodong Cai, PhD | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Graduate IDSC Fellow

Joseph Masterjohn, 2013-2014 IDSC Fellow

Joseph Masterjohn (2013-2014)


Project: Elucidating Novel Genetic Interactions in Yeast

Stefan Wuchty, PhD | Department of Computer Science
Gennaro D’Urso, PhD | Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

Undergraduate IDSC Fellow  |  Double Major in Computer Science/ Math

Thomas McCauley, 2017-2018 IDSC Fellow

Thomas McCauley (2017-2018)

Project  Properties of Network Models in Social Psychology

Michael McCullough, PhD | Department of Psychology
Kamal Premaratne, PhD | Electrical & Computer Engineering

Thomas graduated with a B.S. in psychology from the University of Delaware in 2014, and an M.A. in experimental psychology from the College of William & Mary in 2017.  He joined the EHB lab in fall of 2017, with the aim of pursuing questions pertaining to the evolved psychological mechanisms underlying cooperation, punishment, emotion, and morality. His goal was to understand how these mechanisms interact with enduring ecological features by identifying points of variance and invariance in their function across diverse societies. He’s also interested in statistics, experimental methodology, reproducibility in psychological science, and meta-science.

Samantha Mitsven, 2018-2019 IDSC Fellow

Samantha Mitsven (2018-2019)

Project  Objective Measurement of Language Development: An Investigation of Preschoolers’ Networked Social Interactions

Daniel S. Messinger, PhD  |  Professor of Psychology

Samantha received her B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University in 2013 and worked as a Research Assistant and Lab Manager in cognitive and neuroimaging labs at UC Davis and Stanford University following graduation. She was a second year PhD student in Developmental Psychology working under the supervision of Daniel Messinger. In her work, Samantha utilized objective, continuous measurements of children’s movement and vocalizations within preschool classrooms to understand the mechanisms by which social interactions with teachers and peers promote language development. As an IDSC Fellow, she hoped to further examine how peer social networks shape, and are shaped by, developing language capacities and how language is transmitted through the classroom through the formation and dissolution of network ties.

Karna Nagalla, University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing IDSC Fellow 2019-2020

Karna Nagalla (2019-2020)

Project:  Computational Approaches to Microbiome Alterations and Disease States

Sylvia Daunert, PhD  Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Lucille P. Markey Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Director, Dr. JT Macdonald Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute
Director of Research, Center for Integrative and Complementary Medicine
Gregory O’Connor, PhD  |  Post Doctoral Associate, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Karna is an undergraduate at the University of Miami studying Microbiology/Immunology and Applied Math with a minor in Chemistry and Electrical Engineering. He will be working under Dr. Sylvia Daunert and Dr. Gregory O’Connor to analyze human microbiome changes caused by various diseases and their progression. Through the IDSC Fellows program, he hopes to continue learning different analyses programs to analyze massive amounts of data as well as gain a further understanding of the human microbiome and its potential role in disease treatments.

Sathvik Palakurty, 2017-2018 IDSC Fellow

Sathvik Palakurty (2017-2018)

Project:  Modeling Relationships Between Taxa Using Microbiome Networks

Michelle Afkhami, PhD | Department of Biology
Neil Johnson, PhD | Department of Physics [Now at George Washington]

Sathvik was an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Biology and Mathematics (Applied). He was interested in emerging systems biology approaches to complex problems and is currently using coexpression network analyses of RNAseq data to ask about the molecular basis of Multiple Mutualist Effects.

Emily Prince, 2015-2016 IDSC Fellow

Emily Prince (2015-2016)

Project:  Measurement of Behavior During the Strange Situation

Daniel S. Messinger, PhD  |  Professor of Psychology
Juhong Park, PhD  |  Assistant Professor, School of Architecture

Developmental/Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate

Tatiana Espindola Schnitman, 2015-2016 IDSC Fellow

Tatiana Espindola Schnitman (2015-2016) aka Catalina von Wrangell

Project:Com’ and shift: a sound play an audio-visual installation created to raise awareness about the loss of musical tradition and knowledge in a cross-cultural context.

Juraj Kojs, PhD  |  Asst. Professor Prof. Practice, Dept. of Theory and Composition, Frost School of Music
Alberto Cairo, PhD  | Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the School of Communication and Director, IDSC Visualization
Juhong Park, PhD  |  Assistant Professor, School of Architecture

MTC Department Student  |  MM in Digital Arts and Sound Design

Anchen Sun, 2016-2017 IDSC Fellow

Anchen Sun (2016-2017)

Project:  Anchen’s project revolved around the numerical solution of the shallow-water equations on high-performance computers. He focused on identifying the bottlenecks in the code’s performance—whether in CPU-bound or memory-bandwidth bound—and suggesting improvements.

Mohamed Iskandarani, PhD | Department of Ocean Sciences
William M. Drennan, PhD | Department of Ocean Sciences
Burton Rosenburg, PhD | Computer Science

Nicolas Velasquez, 2016-2017 IDSC Fellow

Nicolas Velasquez (2016-2017)

Project: Evolution of the Infrastructural Power of the State:  Magdalena Medio, 1982-2002

Elvira Restrepo, PhD | Geography & Regional Studies and International Studies [now at George Washington]
Shouraseni Sen Roy, PhD | Geography & Regional Studies


Chun Wu (2014-2015)

Project: Brain Insulin Regulation in Cocaine Addiction and Obesity

Deborah Mash, PhD | Miller School of Medicine
Stefan Wuchty, PhD | Department of Computer Science

Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology  |  Miller School of Medicine

Mingyue Wu, 2021-2022 IDSC Fellow

Mingyue Wu (2021-2022)

Project The Role of Cement Nanostructure on the Creep Behavior of Concrete


Mingyue was a first-year PhD student in the Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering Department following Dr. Luis Ruiz Pestana. Her doctoral research focused on predicting the aging behavior of colloidal glasses based on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and machine learning (ML) techniques. As an IDSC Fellow, she trained deep-learning networks using data from MD simulations to identify the complex patterns of behavior underlying glass relaxation.

Wei Wu, 2013-2014 IDSC Fellow

Wei Wu (2013-2014)

Project: Protein Networks Within the Wnt Signaling Pathway

Athula Wikramanayake, PhD | Department of Biology
Enrico Capobianco, PhD | IDSC Senior Lead Bioinformatics Scientist

Graduate IDSC Fellow