PEARC17 Student Program Day Two: Malaria Modeling and Posters!

PEARC17 Keynote Paula Stephan, Georgia State University, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

By Bobby Hollingsworth (V-Tech/Harvard), Guest Blogger

Today was likely the busiest day of the PEARC17 conference as it involved speakers, modeling and the poster presentation. At breakfast I met up with one of my professors, Dr. Anne Brown, to catch up from Day 1 of the conference.

We then made our way to the plenary speech by Dr. Paula Stephan. Her lecture focused on the economics of academic science and incentive-based research. I find the interplay between incentives and novelty fascinating—often career-success based initiatives led to higher quality publications, whereas monetary awards for publications led to lower publication success rates. Additionally, Dr. Stephan analyzed the costs versus productivity of various positions in academia; the US national average pay for post-doctoral fellows seems awfully low!

Modeling malaria–an interdisciplinary approach.

Modeling day stemmed several hours of collaborative project-based work. We were presented with various projects and chose to model Malaria spread through a population. Our group had members ranging from engineers to computer scientists and business people, which allowed each member to leverage their unique skill set. Once work was delegated, we smoothly coded and tested our model in Python, and even made adjustments outside of the suggested parameters—we all had fun with the challenge. We were even allowed to continue working through lunch! Prior to breaking for the day, we split the remainder of the work, and have a small amount of preparation to do before presentations on Thursday.

Jackson Square, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana-US

Following a small break, the poster symposium began. The venue was excellent and many attended–I had many great conversations with a broad audience; their expertise ranged from computer science to bioinformatics. I presented on a project that is still in the analysis phase, so it was very fruitful hearing suggestions that I will likely incorporate in this research project. However, I felt a bit glued to my poster throughout the night, and at the end of the session I was a bit remiss that I did not get to see many other student posters.

Shortly after the poster symposium concluded, Dr. Brown and I walked to the French quarter and visited Jackson Square as the sun set on “The Big Easy,” and another great day at PEARC17.


Cover photo: Louis “Bobby” Hollingsworth and his poster titled “Utilizing Computational Techniques to Accelerate Discovery in Peanut Allergenicity: A Case Study.

The PEARC17 Student Program Chair is Alana Romanella (Virginia Tech). Program committee members include: Kate Cahill (Oklahoma State University); Peter Enstrom (NCSA); Ricardo Gonzalez (University of Puerto Rico/Mayagüez); Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek); Melissa Romanus (Rutgers); Semir Sarajilik (Georgia State University); and Ester Soriano (NCSA).

Modeling Day was organized by Kate Cahill, and the poster session was led by Semir Sarajilik (Student Poster Chair) and Peter Enstrom (General Poster Chair/NCSA).

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