Data Science Institute welcomes 7 engineering students among 18 summer fellows

Data Science Institute Summer Research Program 2020 photo grid

Seven engineering students are among 18 summer research fellows at the Vanderbilt Data Science Institute, working on projects that include image analysis, object recognition, education reform, genomics and England’s top soccer league.

The diverse projects share more than their core in data science: the summer program this year expanded its mission to require students to spend at least 30 percent of their time on projects related to COVID-19.

For Mubarak Ganiyu, a rising senior in mechanical engineering, that means evaluating how COVID-19 has impacted the top five soccer leagues in Europe. His larger project involves analyzing soccer players’ attributes and creating a predictive model for their potential performance. He’s working with Wond’ry Executive Director David Owens.

Ganiyu, a fan of soccer, also is pursuing a minor in quantitative methods. He plans to work in a data science-related field or the artificial intelligence sector after graduating.

TingYan (Nicholas) Deng is working on an ongoing project affiliated with the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering, using deep learning techniques to build a surgical analysis system for otolaryngology. Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering Benoit Dawant is his faculty adviser.

The project has prototyped a novel surgeon-worn video platform that provides an unobstructed view of the surgical field. “A key consideration now is to develop methods to identify where the surgical ‘action,’ or area of interest, is taking place in the frame of these videos,” Deng said.

Deng, a rising junior majoring in computer science, math, and economics, will use deep learning techniques to develop tracking mechanisms that automatically adjust the camera on the right area despite the natural body movement of the wearer.

This is the institute’s second cohort of summer research fellows. The program, which is conducted with online workshops and faculty interactions his year, integrates students into the institute’s community of data science scholars. Each student fellow works with a Vanderbilt faculty member.

Also in the institute’s second summer cohort:

  • Jong Eun Jung, a rising junior majoring in computer science and human and organizational development is working with Jason Grissom, professor of public policy and education and faculty director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance.
  • Samuel Lee, a rising junior with a triple major in French Horn performance, computer science and mathematics, is working with Distinguished Professor of Psychology Thomas Palmeri, also DSI’s director of undergraduate research.
  • Yuzhe Lu, a rising junior and triple major studying math, computer Science, and medicine, health, and society, is working with Yuankai Huo, assistant professor of computer science and computer engineering.
  • Reena Zhang, a third year student majoring in psychology and computer science, Jennifer Trueblood, associate professor of psychology.
  • Qianhui Zheng, a rising junior and computer science and biochemistry double major, will work with Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Biological Sciences Antonis Rokas.

The summer fellows will engage in 10 weeks of research with their faculty mentors, enhance their data science skills through online workshops conducted by the data science team, and become more articulate leaders through weekly demonstrations.

To learn more about the Summer Research Program, visit the Data Science Institute website. More information also is available about the 2020 summer fellow projects.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314