2016 SIAM Student Paper Prize awarded to Natalie Stanley

Congratulations to Natalie Stanley for receiving one of the three 2016 SIAM Student Paper Prizes!

Natalie, a Ph.D. candidate in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, was selected for this prestigious award based on her paper “Clustering network layers with the strata multilayer stochastic block model,” to appear in an upcoming issue of IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering (also available from arxiv.org). With this work co-authored with Saray Shai, Dane Taylor, and Peter Mucha, this award recognizes Natalie’s pivotal contribution leading this paper.

The Prize will be awarded at the 2016 SIAM Annual Meeting (AN16), to be held July 11-15, 2016, in Boston. There will be an award ceremony during the Opening on Monday and she has been invited to present her winning paper in a special minisymposium for the student paper prize winners that Wednesday. She will also receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with reimbursement toward her travel expense to attend the meeting.

Separate from Natalie’s paper prize, she will also be presenting some of her latest research in a 5-minute lighting talk in the “Ignite” format at the 2016 SIAM Workshop on Network Science, July 15-16, also in Boston, for which she has also won a SIAM Student Travel Award.

In addition to Natalie’s activities in our research group and in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Curriculum, she plays an important role as one of the first funded cohort of trainees in the NIH BD2K Biomedical Graduate Training Program at UNC.

Congratulations to Natalie for this wonderful and well-deserved recognition!

Jessime Kirk awarded a 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Jessime-Kirk-500x313Congratulations to Jessime Kirk for winning an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! A Ph.D. candidate in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Jessime works in Mauro Calabrese’s lab in the Department of Pharmacology and collaborates closely with our group to do the data analysis that is central to his thesis research.

More information about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) and its history is available from www.nsfgrfp.org.

Mucha, Shai & Taylor present at MBI workshop

A big thank you to all of the organizers of this week’s workshop at MBI on Generalized Network Structures & Dynamics. It was a pleasure to interact with so many colleagues and friends. And we’re grateful that we had the opportunity to present three different presentations. Mucha opened the workshop with an overview talk on “Communities in Multilayer Networks.” Dr. Saray Shai spoke on “Generalized network representations of multimodel transportation systems.” And Dr. Dane Taylor presented our work on “Contagion maps for examining spreading processes on networks.”

Photo credits go to Saray, with apologies that it means we don’t have any photos of her giving her talk!



Taylor receives Postdoctoral Scholar Award for Research Excellence

A big congratulations to postdoctoral associate Dr. Dane Taylor for being named as one of the 10 recipients of this year’s Postdoctoral Scholar Award for Research Excellence from the UNC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. For context, there are approximately 1,000 postdocs at UNC at any given time, so this is an incredibly competitive honor for Dane, recognizing his many scientific accomplishments. The awards “are designed to assist postdoctoral scholars in their continued professional development” and include both a plaque and a monetary award.

As part of today’s awards ceremony, Dane gave a great short talk about some of his work in the mathematical analysis of cascades on networks. Not only was I proud of him for winning the award, but many attendees commented to me about how much they enjoyed his talk, commending him for making his presentation accessible and interesting.

Congratulations Dane!

Saray Shai’s new paper on multiplex metropolitan networks

Congratulations to current postdoctoral associate Dr. Saray Shai and her collaborators for their recent paper in Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Remarkably, they were able to show that increasing the speed of subway trains doesn’t always make for better outcomes. With a great result like that, it shouldn’t be surprising that their work has garnered some nice press coverage.

Congratulations Saray!

Math + Political Science collaboration questions ‘Democratic Peace’ theory

KantianCommunitiesUsing a new technique to analyze 52 years of international conflict, an interdisciplinary collaborative team between Political Science and Mathematics suggests that there may be no such thing as a “democratic peace.” The study appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-authored by Ohio State Political Science professor Skyler Cranmer, University of Iowa Political Science professor Elizabeth Menninga (who recently earned her Political Science Ph.D. from UNC–Chapel Hill), and Peter Mucha from Carolina Mathematics.

Read more here…

Bring the noise

In a wonderfully titled research highlight in Nature Physics, Abigail Klopper discusses our recent publication “Topological data analysis of contagion maps for examining spreading processes on networks” (also available on our Networks reprints page).

Led by postdoctoral associate Dane Taylorcontagions, our former summer Fulbright visitor Florian Klimm, and working with collaborators at Oxford and Rutgers, we study the spread of contagions on networks using tools of topological data analysis and nonlinear dimension reduction. Focusing on a specific model of complex contagions, we explore the settings under which the contagion spreads by wavefront propagation versus spread by the appearance of new clusters.

Congratulations to Dane, Flo, and all involved.

Identifying virulence strategists in uropathogenic E.coli

UPECsiderophoresOur first paper from our collaboration with the Henderson Lab in Infectious Diseases at Washington University in St.Louis recently appeared in ACS Infectious Diseases. In this work, we applied tools of community detection in networks and data biclustering to identify virulence gene patterns in a population of UTI-causing clinical E.coli isolates. Using these methods, we showed that siderophore genes appear in virulence “strategists” groups and that these groups correspond with variations in antibiotic resistance and patient sex.

This collaboration has been both personally and professionally rewarding for me. Professionally, it is exciting to see our data analysis methods translated closer to clinical relevance, and we will continue to push this direction to make it even more so. Personally, it’s been a lot of fun to write a paper with an old friend: Jeff and I first met probably in 1987 (I think) but this is our first joint publication together. I just have to guess that this nearly 28 years is going to be my lifetime personal record for time to first publication (conditional of course on there being a publication—spoken like a mathematician).

With congratulations to all involved, we look forward to continued output from this interdisciplinary collaboration!

Mucha presents at GraphEx 2015

A big thank you to the organizers of the Graph Exploitation Symposium, hosted by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, for inviting me to speak there. I greatly enjoyed my two days at the symposium, which was full of interesting talks, posters, and conversations. It was a wonderful workshop.

Postdoc activities at SIAM DS15

Congratulations to Drs. Nishant Malik, Saray Shai and Dane Taylor for their successful minisymposium organizations and presentations at this week’s SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems (DS15).

Nishant organized a twopart minisymposium on Complex Network Theory Based Approaches in the Analyses of Complex Systems and Data, kicked off Wednesday morning by his presentation on the Role of Network Topology in Collective Opinion Formation and closed out Wednesday afternoon by Saray’s presentation on Revealing Collectivity in Evolving Networks: A Random Matrix Theory Approach.

Dane spoke Sunday morning on Topological Data Analysis for and with Contagions on Networks in a session on Dynamics on Networks and Network Topology in Ecology and Epidemiology, before hosting the minisymposium he organized on Structural and Functional Network Dynamics and Inference on Monday morning.


Dr. Nishant Malik speaks in the minisymposium he organized at SIAM DS15