Congratulations 2018 Outstanding Bioinformatics Students

Congratulations to Yuanbo Wang (PhD) and Sarthak Sharma (MS) who were recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Students in Bioinformatics at Georgia Tech! Each student received a monetary award funded by the J. Leland Jackson Endowed Fellowships Fund in Bioinformatics. Both students were selected for demonstrated excellence in their academic studies and their Bioinformatics research. Yuanbo"Cody" Wang has been in the Bioinformatics Doctoral Program for 4 years, working with research advisor Dr. Eva K. Lee in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. During this time, Cody has earned a cumulative GPA of 3.94 in a combination of Bioinformatics, Computational Sciences and Engineering, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering course work. As a researcher and software developer in healthcare, Cody feels privileged that his work can have a significant impact on society. Cody says he fell in love with research and development during his first project in Eva Lee's group. In this project, Cody designed a secure web application for physicians to query, visualize, and perform statistical summaries on Electronic Health Records (EHR) of 2.7 million projects. Cody says,"Each part of this project was intricately connected, so putting them together required a holistic understanding of the medical data, the database, the statistics, and the visualization principles and implementation techniques. Through the process of completing this puzzle, I worked tirelessly and overcame many difficulties. Given the huge variety of EHR data, my thesis research aims to map free-structured texts to standardized clinical terminologies that are essential in facilitating interoperability among clinical data. This allows computers to better recognize and extract important knowledge from these data to achieve ‘rapid learning' across multiple clinical sites. I have performed machine learning analysis to predict patient outcome and identify best clinical practice. This knowledge can be spread across sites to increase quality and timeliness of care and maximize outcome and service performance of the healthcare system." According to Professor Lee,"Cody has outstanding computational and analytic training and knowledge. His major strengths are his problem-solving capability and his passion in research and education and in his search for challenging research problems and real applications. His broad and intensive research experience has prepared him very well for a challenging academic position. I give him my highest endorsement for the Jackson Award for Outstanding PhD Student in Bioinformatics." Sarthak Sharma, our Outstanding MS student, maintained a 4.0 GPA in his first year of study, including five core Bioinformatics classes and three challenging electives such as Data and Visual Analytics. Sarthak works with Dr. Alberto Stolfi, a new Assistant Professor who recently launched his research group at Georgia Tech. Sarthak analyzed single-cell RNAseq data. He applied machine learning techniques for clustering and classifying similar populations of single cells based on their gene expression. Using his excellent bioinformatics and programming skills, Sarthak's work represents"the first use of scRNAseq to characterize the gene expression profiles of neurons in tunicates, our closest living invertebrate relatives." Sarthak is the lead author on a paper accepted for publication in the prestigious journal, Developmental Biology. According to Professor Alberto Stolfi,"I believe Sarthak's accomplishments at Georgia Tech speak for themselves. It is hard for me to imagine any other MSBINF student so quickly and so fundamentally elevating the research of a lab at Georgia Tech as Sarthak has in his short time here. In addition to his research accomplishments, Sarthak is a courteous, kind, and mature student and mentoring him has been a joyous experience for me personally. In sum, he is uniquely deserving of the 2018 J. Leland Jackson Fellowship."