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We are proud to support exceptional postdoctoral researchers and graduate students as they expand their research interests and experience in the vibrant and growing Chicago data science community.


  • Data Science and Applied AI Postdoctoral Scholars Program
    • The Center for Data and Computing and the Center for Applied AI jointly offer fellowships for Postdoctoral Scholars who wish to deepen their knowledge of cutting-edge data science and computing research while developing additional expertise in a specific, applied problem domain. For more information about how to apply to the program, please visit the Fellowships page.
  • Graduate Fellowships
    • In recognition of their outstanding contributions, Discovery seed fund grantees have the opportunity to nominate a graduate student researcher working on their project for a CDAC Graduate Fellowship. Fellows receive a generous travel stipend to attend conferences in their research area, as well as, access to a cohort of graduate fellows working on data science research projects across domains.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Dylan Fitzpatrick will be joining the Urban Labs Crime Lab as a Research Director and CDAC as a postdoctoral scholar in summer 2020. He is currently a PhD candidate in Machine Learning and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is a member of the Event and Pattern Detection Lab. His research is in development of new ML methods that leverage large spatiotemporal data sets to improve public health, safety, and security. For his dissertation, Dylan has designed novel algorithms for disease outbreak detection and crime forecasting. Most recently, Dylan has focused on patient-level opioid use monitoring, developing a semi-supervised approach for evaluating risk of opioid misuse in settings with few training labels. Dylan was a Researcher at the 2019 NASA Frontier Development Lab, where his research team developed generalizable, multi-basin models of flood susceptibility designed to overcome limitations of physics-based hydraulic and hydrologic models. Dylan earned a BA in Economics from Middlebury College and an MS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Dylan’s PhD advisor is Daniel B. Neill, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Public Service and Director of the Machine Learning for Good Laboratory at New York University.

Tarun Mangla will join CDAC as a postdoctoral scholar in summer 2020, and is currently a PhD student in the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, co-advised by Mostafa Ammar and Ellen Zegura. His research interests span video streaming, network measurements, and cellular networks. He completed his bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (2014) and MS in Computer Science from Georgia Tech (2018). He is a recipient of the Best Paper Award at IFIP TMA, 2018.

Jamie Saxon will join CDAC as a postdoctoral scholar in summer 2020, and was previously a postdoctoral fellow with the Harris School of Public Policy and the Center for Spatial Data Science of the University of Chicago.

He uses large data sources to measure the availability and use of civic and social resources in American cities. He is particularly interested in mobility among neighborhoods and the consequences of this mobility. He has also studied how gerrymandering affects representation, and developed powerful automated districting software.

He is committed to developing resources for computational social science research, and has taught programming and statistics for masters’ students in public policy.

He was trained as a particle physicist and was previously an Enrico Fermi Fellow on the ATLAS Experiment on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider at the Enrico Fermi Institute. He worked for many years on electronics and firmware for measuring and reconstructing particle trajectories. As a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, he made noteworthy contributions to the discovery and first measurements of the Higgs Boson in the two-photon channel.

His CV is here; you can also find him on LinkedIn or GitHub.

Ningzi Li will join CDAC as a postdoctoral scholar in Winter 2021. She received her doctoral degree in Sociology at Cornell University. Her research focuses on organizational theory and sociology of strategy, in particular, how social and institutional factors shape firm strategies. One stream of her work investigates causes and consequences of inter-organizational networks over the course of institutional changes using big data approach. A second stream of her work examines language as an essential component and representation of strategy using natural experiments and NLP methods. She is a recipient of the best paper award from Canadian Sociological Association Economic Sociology Research Cluster, 2019.

Her CV is here.

Graduate Fellows

Discovery Grant Project: Computer-Assisted Diagnosis of Indeterminate Thyroid Lesions

Project PIs: Xavier Keutgen, Maryellen Giger, Peter Angelos, & David Sarne

Julian Conn Busch is a student in the Pritzker School of Medicine. A graduate of Seattle Pacific University (summa cum laude) in Psychology and Chemistry, he took a two-year hiatus before matriculating into Pritzker, during which he worked as a pastry chef and volunteered as a suicide hotline operator. As a medical student, he is excitedly exploring different medical fields and is interested in pursuing a career in academic medicine. In his free time, he enjoys running, swimming, and cooking with friends.

Discovery Grant Project: Measuring Messages About Race and Gender

Project PIs: Anjali Adukia & Hakizumwami Birali Runesha

Emileigh Harrison is a PhD student at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy where her doctoral studies are focused on education and inequality. Her research interests include non-traditional education paths such as community college and homeschooling. Specifically she is interested in the impact of stricter homeschooling regulations on health and academic outcomes for homeschooled children.

Discovery Grant Project: Health Monitoring Based on Wearable Sweat Sensors

Project PIs: Pedro Lopes & Sihong Wang

Alex is a first-year CS PhD student working with Prof. Pedro Lopes in the Human Computer Integration Lab, where he aims to develop meaningful interactive devices that overlap with the human body. Alex leverages his background in mechanical engineering and materials science to develop haptic interfaces based on emerging materials.

Discovery Grant Project: Machine Learning and Satellite Imaging to Reduce Methane Emissions

Project PIs: Thomas R. Covert & Michael Greenstone

Charlie Sheils, MS-CAPP ’21, is a CDAC Graduate Fellow working on the project “Leveraging Machine Learning and Satellite Imaging to Reduce Oil and Gas Methane Emissions” in coordination with the Energy & Environment Lab within the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs. He will work on this project in Denver, Colorado over the summer as well as part-time during the academic year in Chicago. Charlie is originally from Rochester, New York, and graduated with an economics degree from Williams College in 2017. He previously worked on various antitrust and damages litigation matters at an economic consulting firm in Washington, DC.

Qia Wang will be a computer science Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago in fall 2020. Her primary interests are in computer security, specifically network security. She wants to investigate different vulnerabilities in programs and construct efficient defend methods and design user-friendly implementations. She also became interested in the IoT recently and is excited to explore more about the security aspect of it.

Discovery Grant Project: Learning How to Measure Scientific Images

Project PIs: Gordon Kindlmann & William Irvine

Zhuokai Zhao is a Ph.D student in Computer Science at the University of Chicago, advised by Prof. Gordon Kindlmann. His main research areas include image analysis and active learning, with focus on improving the computation of imaging-based science. Prior to his Ph.D study, he received his M.S. in Robotics at the Johns Hopkins University, advised by Prof. Russell H. Taylor and Prof. Nassir Navab. He obtained his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, advised by Prof. Seth Hutchinson.