National data science expert to discuss holistic study of COVID-19 in free Oct. 16 seminar

What can one of the world’s biggest supercomputers help us learn about the COVID-19 pandemic? A lot, as it turns out.

To explain how researchers are harnessing big data and intelligent analysis to understand more about the virus currently sweeping the globe, Dan Jacobson, a computational systems biologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will deliver a virtual talk for the Colorado State University community at 4 p.m. on Oct. 16. The Zoom presentation will be introduced by CSU President Joyce McConnell and Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph.

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In particular, Jacobson will detail his systems-based approach to integrating genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and molecular structure data in order to gain a more holistic and robust understanding of COVID-19 and how the virus impacts the body. His work includes a combination of data analytic, statistical, and explainable artificial intelligence methods in supercomputing.

Panel discussion

Following Jacobson’s lecture, Ray Goodrich, director of CSU’s Infectious Disease Research Institute, will lead a panel discussion with other campus experts, including Chief Medical Research Officer and Associate Director of Research for the Translational Medicine Institute Dr. Heather Pidcoke, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology Carol Wilusz, and Associate Professor of Statistics Bailey Fosdick.

The seminar is being organized in part by Michael Kirby, a professor in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Natural Sciences, assisted by V. Chandrasekar, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. It will be hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

“We are trying to nurture this campus-wide surge in interest in data science,” Kirby said.

The Oct. 16 virtual seminar is free to attend, but registration is required.