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Miller Wins Discovery Learning Research Symposium Award


April 2007

Jon Miller - 2007 Discovery Learning Research Symposium Award for Chemical and Biological Engineering

Computer Science student Jon Miller was the recipient of the 2007 Discovery Learning Research Symposium Award in the area of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Jon's work, directed by Professor Debra Goldberg, was titled Assessing Comparative Genome Maps:

Comparative genome maps, which identify related chromosomal regions in two species, are a powerful tool for leveraging what we know about one organism to gain insights about related organisms. For example, we would like to learn about human disease from research done with mice. These maps are difficult to construct due to incomplete and noisy data and because our genome models aren't perfect. A measure of confidence on computationally generated comparative maps will make them much more useful for biologists. Jon implemented methods to determine the stability of each region identified as related between species by determining how easily small fluctuations in the data can change the results. He helped define the patterns to use for data randomization. As expected, he found that more accurate comparative maps have greater stability on average. However, he also noted that comparative maps with disparate accuracy and completeness give the same range of stability results, suggesting his methods give a universal measure of stability.

The symposium is the culminating event for students who participated as Discovery Learning Apprentices during the 2006-2007 academic year. Undergraduate engineering students in the program earn hourly wages while engaging in research with college faculty and graduate students. The students then present the results of their work at the symposium, where the work is judged on a research statement, research methodology, research outcomes, student knowledge, complexity of the project, and the student's presentation of the material. There were 33 students participating in the symposium this year.

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Department of Computer Science
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