List of PhD Students (click on a name to view the profile):

Aseel Addawood, Karen Allen, Mohammad AmanzadehJames Balamuta, Priscilla Boff FerronatoSyed Abbas Bukhari, Jarai Carter, Usawadee Chaiprom, Ryan ChandlerCraig Evans, William GillespieActon Gorton, Hsiao-Ying Huang, Kelechi IkegwuMichael Junokas, Donald Keefer, Kangjae LeeKyungho Lee, Chang LiuYan Liu, Yishuo Liu, Bushra Minhas, Fizza Mughal, John NguyenSantiago Nuñez-Corrales, Tom Le Paine, Justin PenceAnkit Rai, Nate RussellKhuram Shahzad, Kuimars Soltani, Joseph Troy, Mikko Tuomela, Sean Wilner, Bradley WoodruffXuesong Yang, Joe Yun, Pan Zhang

Current Students

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Aseel Addawood

Email: aaddaw2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Masooda Bashir, iSchool

Area of Research: My research is at the intersection of information science and social science. My research is focused in the field of data mining and social media.

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Karen Allen

Email: allen6@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Ian Brooks, iSchool & NCSA

Area of Research: Health Informatics

Mohammad Amanzadeh

Email: amanzad2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. George Francis, Math

Area of Research: 

James Balamuta

Email: balamut2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Stéphane Guerrier, Statistics

Area of Research: My research interests lie primarily in computational statistics, state-space models, and large scale data problems. Presently, I am working on a robust multivariate time series framework for inertial measurement units (IMUs).

Priscilla Boff Ferronato

Email: pf4@illinois.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/priscilla-ferronato

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Stan Ruecker, New Media

Area of Research: My research interest is related to the relationship between design, technology and society. In creating affordable, functional, meaningful and sustainable solutions to the problems we, as individuals and as society, face on our daily basis. Therefore, I am researching a data visualization system for multiple interpretation support in design.

Syed Abbas Bukhari

Syed Abbas Bukhari

Email: sbukhar@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Alison Bell, Animal Biology

Area of Research: My PhD research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of why animals behave differently from each other. It is more about understanding animal personalities. I am conducting my research in Alison Bell’s lab in department of Integrative Biology. We are using transcriptomics and bioinformatics approaches e.g. RNA sequencing and microarray to unveil the link between genes and behavior.

 

Jarai Carter

Jarai Carter

Email: carter31@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Jon Gant, iSchool

Area of Research: My main interests lie in the areas of agriculture, communications, and technology, specifically looking at how to integrate the agricultural industry into 21st century ways of using technology and communicating. This includes the use of social media and digital media production.

Usawadee Chaiprom

Usawadee Chaiprom

Email: chaipro2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Matt Hudson, Crop Sciences

Area of Research: I am interested in the research areas of Functional Genomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology focusing on agriculture. My project topic is the small RNA analysis in the energy plant, named switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). The aim is to study the regulatory mechanisms of small non-coding RNAs such as miRNA and siRNAs in different developmental stages of this biomass crop using bioinformatics tools and molecular biology techniques. I hope that the research results will be useful in improving yields of biomass in the future.

Ryan Chandler

Email: rchan8@illinois.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanchandler13

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Roxanna Girju, Linguistics

Area of Research: I am interested in researching the practical applications of computational semantics inside large organizations for the purposes of unlocking the potential of unstructured (text) data. My research also includes the development of knowledge representations in the form of ontologies and graph data structures to support cognitive information systems specifically human-computer dialog systems.

Craig Evans

Craig Evans

Email: csevans2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Jana Diesner, iSchool

Area of Research: My research interests lie at the confluence of three broader topics, information flow within an organization or community, public adoption of mobile computing technology, and social/collaborative information behaviours. While each of these areas have a wide range of research topics, my specific interest is in researching the information needs of an increasingly mobile, and digitally connected, population. The underlying premise of my interests lie within the notion that on a mobile device (particularly smartphones and tablets) the type of information people look for is different to that which they would seek in a desktop environment, and is heavily influenced by the location. While my goal is for the research to remain domain agnostic, it is leaning towards medical and public health area for practical application purposes.

 

William Gillespie

William Gillespie

Email: gillespi@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Kevin Hamilton, New Media

Area of Research:  While preserving the centuries-old immersive aesthetic qualities of narrative literary text, how do we transition from book reading to open, networked, screen reading without simply repurposing text files or turning a digital framework into a distraction from reading? One of my goals is to create a responsive cloud-driven literary platform of superlative literary quality, with unique reader/text interactive capacities, and a reader interface optimized for legibility, comprehension, retention, and ergonomics.

Acton Gorton

Acton Gorton

Email: agorton2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Brant Houston, Journalism

Area of Research:  I am focusing my PhD studies on data analytics and information visualization. Recent notable work includes the incorporation of augmented reality into a printed vinyl mural erected in a historical section of downtown Champaign, whereby patrons scan the mural with their smartphones to access large-scale historical imagery. As a journalist, I make regular contributions through the creation of interactive maps built using publicly available data, which are routinely posted to CU-CitizenAccess.org. Ongoing research endeavors include text-mining documents relating to open meetings held by those in public office in order to understand trends in decision making, as well as data-mining health records to track the long-term effects of prescription drug usage.

Hsiao-Ying Huang

Hsiao-Ying Huang

Email: hhuang65@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Masooda Bashir, iSchool

Area of Research: privacy in information society; online community and information behavior; technology and social change

Ikegwu

Kelechi Ikegwu

Email: ikegwu2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Robert J. Brunner, Astronomy

Area of Research:  My research interests are in the field of Machine Learning and recently I have become interested in how Deep Neural Networks learn. This past summer I explored the utility of synthetic data for training deep-learning systems to be used in real-world settings. I’m currently working with Dr.Brunner to further improve a tool that acts as a meta-language for expressing machine learning operations.

Michael Junokas

Michael Junokas

Email: junokas@illinois.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikejunokas

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Guy Garnett, Music

Area of Research: I am interested in developing innovative, multi-platform systems that have the ability to gather, interpret, process, and control signals in live artistic performance. Through the exploration of these systems, I hope to create immersive technological environments artists can use for their own creative pursuits.

Donald Keefer

Donald Keefer

Email: dkeefer@illinois.edu

Website: https://www.isgs.illinois.edu/about-isgs/staff-directory/dkeefer

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Les Gasser, iSchool

Area of Research: I am interested in studying knowledge acquisition in the cognitive methods geologists use both when developing conceptual models, and when classifying observational data according to these conceptual models.  I am particularly interested in improving our operational understanding of the propagation of uncertainty within geologic reasoning when it is expressed in maps and models.

 

Kangjae Lee

Kangjae Lee

Email: klee171@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Mei-Po Kwan, Geography

Area of Research: My research interest is the effects of environmental problems and their relationships to human health in the context of spatial and temporal dimensions. For my research, I investigate the dynamic characteristic of environmental factors and complicated interaction between the characteristic and human mobility using geographic technology.

Kyungho Lee

Kyungho Lee

Email: klee141@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Guy Garnett, Music

Area of Research: My concentration area is Art and Cultural Informatics, exploring Human-Computer Interaction in a broad sense. Before I started my PhD, I had been working as a graphical user interface designer and user experience researcher more than six years. I am currently focusing on understanding dynamics of human body movement in the perspective of LMA (Laban Movement Analysis) in order to classify them into three foundational categories of LMA — Weight, Space and Time through machine learning techniques. I hope our research will contribute to bring a radical, revolutionary changes in designing natural user interfaces beyond the WIMP based interfaces.

 

Chang Liu

Chang Liu

Email: cliu100@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Jerome McDonough, iSchool

Area of Research: My current research interests lie in studying what motivates us to or not to share data and how we can make better use of our data.

Yan Liu

Yan Liu

Email: yanliu@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Shaowen Wang, Geography

Area of Research: My primary research interest is in high-performance and scalable optimization software and algorithms. In geoinformatics, I am interested in solving large-scale geospatial optimization problems by developing extreme-scale heuristic approaches (e.g. parallel genetic algorithms) that are capable for harnessing massive supercomputing resources on cyberinfrastructure.

Yishuo Liu

Yishuo Liu

Email: yliu256@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Guy Garnett, Music

Area of Research: Freehand gestural interface is regarded as the future of human computer interaction. How to develop a real-world functioning system with it, however, remains unsolved. My work here with Prof. Garnett is to explore the paradigm of interacting with a semiautonomous flock with spatial gestures.

Bushra Minhas

Bushra Minhas

Email: bfazal2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, Crop Sciences

Area of Research: I am interested in the phylogenetic analysis and evolution of ribosomal proteins and ribosomal RNA.

Fizza Mughal

Fizza Mughal

Email: fmughal2@illinois.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mughalfizza

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, Crop Sciences

Area of Research:My research focuses on the relationship between protein dynamics and the structure-function paradigm from an evolutionary point of view. The flexible regions of proteins, the loop structures, have been found to play a critical role in protein function. Therefore, I use protein loop structures in Molecular Dynamics Simulations that I perform on a high performance computing platform, the NCSA Blue Waters. This dynamics data is then annotated using protein function and structure data as well as sophisticated evolutionary timelines developed in our lab, for studying the history of how dynamics impacts function. My ultimate aim is to uncover evolutionary drivers operating at a scale of billions of years by looking at biophysical changes at the nanosecond to microsecond scale.

John Nguyen

Email: jknguye2@illinois.edu

Website: http://data-slinky.com

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Barbara Minsker, CEE

Area of Research:  My research interests are in data mining, applied machine learning, and data visualization. At the moment, my focus is environmental informatics where my goal is to leverage environmental information to develop systems and methodologies to facilitate better human decision-making to environmental issues.

Santiago_Nunez

Santiago Nuñez-Corrales

Email: nunezco2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Les Gasser, iSchool

Area of Research: My research interest focuses on developing abstractions that connect data analytics and scientific visualization to simulations in general through multi-level, hierarchically nested models across diverse knowledge domains in integrated and consistent ways. The latter involves the development of new mathematical tools and their computational counterparts for domain experts to seamlessly express interesting problems without loosing representational accuracy, specially in realistic conditions where noisy, complex environments are the norm. In particular, this research seeks to employ methods from different science domains and mathematics (e. g. drift-diffusion processes, Fokker-Planck equations, tensor analysis, differential geometry) as enablers towards a simulation language where probability is at the core of the processes, providing naturally the structure of observables that are connected to data analysis and visualization. A broader set of interests include philosophy of science, theories of knowledge, theory-theory and music (oboe performance, conducting).

 Tom Paine

Tom Le Paine

Email: tom.le.paine@gmail.com

Website: tomlepaine.github.io

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Thomas Huang, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Area of Research: I‘m applying deep learning to computer vision: speeding it up, and making it work with less labeled data. Recently I started on a project to improve object detection using reinforcement learning.

Justin Pence

Justin Pence

Email: jpence2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Zahra Mohaghegh, Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering

Area of Research: I have been a Graduate Research Assistant in the Socio-Technical Risk Analysis (SoTeRiA) Laboratory (http://soteria.npre.illinois.edu/) since August 2013. My research focuses on the theoretical and methodological advancement of socio-technical risk analysis frameworks, specifically making intellectual contributions to: human reliability analysis, organizational risk analysis, spatial dimensions of socio-technical risk analysis, risk-informed emergency preparedness, planning and response (EPPR), Integrated Probabilistic Risk Assessment (I-PRA), and the Data-Theoretic approach for risk analysis.

Ankit Rai

Ankit Rai

Email: rai5@illinois.edu

Website: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=49839138&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Barbara Minsker, ECE

Area of Research:  Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Data Mining, Computational Statistics, Database systems, Big Data,etc.

 

Nate Russell

Nate Russell

Email: ntrusse2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Bryan White (IGB)

Area of Research: My research focuses on developing machine learning systems for the knowledge discovery process. I am interested in developing scalable and interactive systems that work across domains, but my primary areas of application are computational biology, medicine and natural language understanding. My recent research with the Visual Analytics Lab at the Illinois Applied Research institute involves heterogeneous network analysis, unsupervised metric and manifold learning for very high dimensional data, as well as supervised feature selection algorithms with ensembles.

Khuram Shahzad

Khuram Shahzad

Email: shahzad2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Juan Loor, Animal Sciences

Area of Research:  I am basically interested in structural bioinformatics (e.g., protein structure prediction, modeling and simulation), systems biology, and microarrays & high throughput sequencing data mining and analysis.

 

Kuimars Soltani

Kuimars Soltani

Email: soltani2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Shaowen Wang, Geography

Area of Research: I focus on Spatial DataMining, Network Analysis and visualization of spatial-temporal data. I am also highly interested to explore high performance computing (Particularly MPI and CUDA programming) and distributed systems. I enjoy technology journalism, classical literature and soccer in my free time.

Joseph Troy

Joseph Troy

Email: jmtroy2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Lisa Stubbs, Cell & Developmental Biology

Area of Research: I am working in the lab of Dr. Lisa Stubbs, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Presently I’m working on a bioinformatics project to identify interactions between Zinc Finger Protein 558 (ZNF558) and Long Terminal Repeat (LTR) elements in human DNA.  Zinc Finger Protein 558 belongs to the Zinc Finger family of Transcription Factors that bind to DNA thus regulating the expression of DNA.  Through out history many LTRs have been introduced into the human genome via retroviruses.  Of interest is the evolutionary history of Zinc Finger Proteins compared to the evolutionary history of the LTRs they bind to.

Mikko Tuomela

Mikko Tuomela

Email: mstuomel@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Michael Twidale, iSchool

Area of Research: I aim to find methods to make information retrieval in large systems more convenient and large data sets more accessible and usable. In this regard I am interested in intelligent interfaces and data mining,including computational approach to problems that may have traditionally been outside the scope of quantitative analysis. After coordinating the HASTAC V digital humanities conference, I have been very aware of the interdisciplinary nature of informatics and information science, seeing connections to digital art and applications in social sciences as well.

 

Sean Wilner

Sean Wilner

Email: swilner2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. John Hummel, Psychology

Area of Research:  I study semantic encoding for relational reasoning and analogical inference.  My work combines traditional natural language processing with some unconventional neural network modeling to produce a system that draws analogies between phrasal scenes to make predictions about the extensions of those scenes.   I focus predominantly on natural language processing/logical back-ends and their integration with other neurally inspired systems.

 

Bradley Woodruff

Email: bsw@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Luc Paquette, Curriculum & Instruction

Area of Research:  

XUESONGYang

Xuesong Yang

Email: xyang45@illinois.edu

Website: http://www.ifp.illinois.edu/~xyang45

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, ECE

Area of Research: Machine learning and deep learning for speech signal processing and natural language processing

Joe Yun

Joe Yun

Email: jtyun@illinois.edu

Website: http://go.illinois.edu/josephtyun

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Brittany Duff, Advertising

Area of Research:  My research interests lie within the intersection of computer science and advertising utilizing computational methods. I am seeking to understand how digital advertising can be made more effective utilizing analysis through computational and big data analysis.

Pan Zhang

Email: panz2@illinois.edu

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Sandra Rodriguez-Zas, Animal Sciences

Area of Research:  My research interest generally lies in bioinformatics. At the moment, I focus on understanding and utility of vast high-throughput sequencing data through statistical genomic and bioinformatics methods.

 

 

PhD Graduates

 Arshan Nasir

Arshan Nasir

Graduate Advisor: Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, Crop Sciences

Current Email: arshan_nasir@comsats.edu.pk

Website: http://ww3.comsats.edu.pk/faculty/FacultyDetails.aspx?Uid=625

Area of Research: I am interested in viral evolution. I want to study the distribution of unique protein fold architectures in viruses that commonly infect living organisms. I also wish to explore the contribution of viruses to biodiversity, medicine, economy, and health. All these questions can be addressed by identification of key processes that govern the evolution of macromolecular structure in living organisms and viruses.

Brent Fegley

Brent Fegley

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Vetle Torvik, GSLIS

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brentfegley

Area of Research: My research interests lie at the nexus of network science, machine learning, natural language processing, and science-of-science policy. Presently, I am endeavoring to understand the mechanisms of scientific collaboration by examining the properties and behavior of large-scale co-authorship networks in biomedicine over time. My hope is that such effort will help inform funding policies and investment decisions for scientific research in both public and private sectors.

 

Scott Nixon

Scott Nixon

Graduate Advisor: Prof. Sandra Rodriguez-Zas, Animal Sciences

Current Email: senixon@illinois.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottenixon

Area of Research: I am interested in exploring the broad analysis and fine detail available when applying informatics to biological models.

Research interests involve the biological routes from perceived stressors to physical and behavioral response, and how applying high-throughput capabilities and appropriate models can improve our understanding of these complex issues. Ongoing research involves examining an animal model of depression triggered by activation of the immune system.