The interdisciplinary doctoral program in Quantitative Biosciences welcomes its fifth cohort to the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The Quantitative Biosciences doctoral program is pleased to welcome its fifth cohort to Georgia Tech. As in previous years, the incoming class of seven students has an international background, joining us from China, Germany, and the U.S.
Lynn (Haitian) Jin graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from NYU Shanghai and a minor in Public Health from the college of Global Public Health. She has always had a passion for health and medicine, and her college experience in a mathematics department helped her to realize that she wanted to use mathematical modeling as a tool for fighting disease, designing better clinical treatments, and improving a patient’s quality of life. She worked on the modeling of Fontan circulation and fetal to postnatal heart hemodynamics during her junior year at Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. When asked about choosing Georgia Tech QBioS program, Lynn said, “I will be able to deepen my knowledge both in the quantitative aspects and biological sciences. Also, the QBioS program will give me the opportunity to explore more possibilities in applying mathematical tools to the field of health and medicine.”
Tucker Lancaster earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering-physics from Dartmouth college. After completing his undergraduate study, he returned to his home town of Atlanta to work at Georgia Tech. Working with Professors Todd Streelman and Patrick McGrath, Tucker helped develop novel tools for automated analysis of Cichlid behavior. “I’m particularly interested in applying advancements in machine-learning and computer-vision to tackle biological questions in the era of big-data,” said Tucker. His experience working with Professors Streelman and McGrath inspired him to pursue this interest through a PhD at Tech, where he chose the QBioS program for its flexible course of study, willingness to cross interdisciplinary boundaries, and outstanding faculty.
Aaron Pfennig graduated from Reutlingen University, Germany, with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences in 2019. Subsequently, he earned a master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Georgia Institute of Technology. During his master's at Georgia Tech, he worked with Professor Mark Borodovsky. They developed an ab-initio algorithm for the prediction of stop codon reassignments in prokaryotes, which also allows the prediction of bimodal genetic code in bacteriophages. “I heard about the QBioS program during my time at Georgia Tech and I got intrigued by its interdisciplinarity, combining the expertise and efforts of multiple disciplines in order to generate a better understanding of fundamental biological processes. My interests are in studying how modifications on the genome as well as protein level are involved in disease development and progression.
Aradhya Rajanala completed his Bachelor's degree in Physics in Georgia Tech earlier this year. He is interested in the computational analysis of biological systems and applying mathematical models to glean quantitative information from complex systems. "I have always been interested in a 'physics' style of thinking, asking why and how systems work in the way they do. I was both surprised and fascinated at the possibility of applying these same methods onto systems as complex as those in biology," he said. "I believe that the QBioS program will provide me with a stronger physics background while giving me a strong foundation in biology, allowing me to ask more meaningful questions and find biological inspiration."
Disheng Tang obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electronic and communication engineering from Beihang University. During graduate studies, his participation in several projects ignited enthusiasm for academic research. For three years, Disheng focused on a long-term project quantifying the predictability of dynamic networks. He gained a systematic understanding of network science, which is also a growing interest. Disheng led undergrads in another work on epidemic spreading, which sparked his interest in epidemiology. Finally, he has always been fascinated by the neural network of C. elegans. “The interdisciplinary nature of QBioS program in Georgia Tech, just like network science, is where I can acquire solid knowledge from various fields, and do research that is truly interesting and valuable.”
Ethan Wold earned his bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Geophysics from Brown University in 2020. There, he worked in the lab of Professor Tom Roberts studying the biomechanics of fluid-connective tissue interactions in skeletal muscle. He’s interested in studying the mechanics of organismal movement in an effort to understand underlying physics that can then be applied to engineered systems. “I chose QBioS because of the critical mass of organism biophysics researchers at Georgia Tech. No other institution would have given me the opportunity to interact with so many faculty operating in this field – I feel like I have the ultimate flexibility to go in any direction I want with my research and really develop my quantitative toolkit.” Outside of science, Ethan likes to play tennis, hike, and make music on the guitar or banjo.
Leo Wood graduated from Texas A&M with a major in mechanical engineering and a minor in electrical engineering in 2017. After performing research on a variety of topics in materials science and mechanics, he moved to biological systems in his master’s degree under Doug Altshuler at the University of British Columbia, studying the function of avian wing musculature. “I love biology because it's such a fun, complex blend of so many different fields, length scales, and concepts. The QBioS program is really unique because it acknowledges this blend, and that the most exciting work happens where traditionally separated fields meet. It’s a great fit, and I’m excited to really dig into those unexplored interfaces with this intellectually-diverse and quantitatively-minded community.”