Computational Medicine congratulates our graduate students Gabriel Hassler from Biomathematics PhD Program and Christa Caggioni from the Bioinformatics PhD Program on being awarded with the F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Pre-Doctoral Individual National Research Service Award.

The purpose of this Kirschstein-NRSA program is to enable promising Pre-Doctoral students with potential to develop into productive, independent research scientists, to obtain mentored research training while conducting dissertation research. The F31 is also used to enhance workforce diversity though a separate program.

Gabriel Hassler is a 4th-year student in the Biomathematics Ph.D. program working with Dr. Marc Suchard. He is broadly interested in developing new statistical models and methods for studying the evolution of biological phenotypes.
In his proposed work "Scalable Inference in Statistical Models of Viral Evolution and Human Health" his aim is to develop new statistical models and inference techniques designed to study the relationships between viral genetics, viral phenotypes, and infection outcomes in viral epidemics. These new statistical methods will allow fast analysis of large, high-dimensional data sets. He expects these methods to be broadly useful and have applications that include fundamental research on the evolution of viruses during an epidemic, identification of unusually dangerous viral strains, and the use of viral genetic sequences to predict clinical outcomes.

Christa Caggiano is a 4th year student in the Bioinformatics PhD program working with Dr. Noah Zaitlen. She is interested in developing methods to work with large biological data, with a special interest in neurogenetics. 
Her paper, “Comprehensive cell type decomposition of circulating cell-free DNA with CelFiE,” soon to be published in Nature Communications, focused on developing an algorithm to learn about the rate of cell-death in patients with disease. Her future work will focus on making CelFiE a part of a scalable platform that is suitable for the clinic. Along with collaborators at the UCSF and University of Queensland, Christa will be applying her cfDNA technology to a large cohort of ALS patients. The overall goal of this research is to identify a quantitative biomarker for ALS that can improve diagnosis and facilitate a better quality of life for patients.



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Leticia Ortiz | Marketing & Communications | Building a community around data science in biomedicine​