Awarded in 2014
Home Department: Statistics
Faculty Advisors: Susan Holmes (Statistics), David Relman (Microbiology & Immunology), and Catherine Blish (Infectious Diseases)
Research Title: Using evolutionary history to inform ecological data analysis
Research Description: Ecologists have long used statistical methods to see how communities function. However, these methods were developed when ecologists would measure a few dozen species at a time, thus giving uninterpretable results when used to investigate larger communities. Julia will develop analogous methods that will be more stable and interpretable and will use them to find predictors of resiliency in the gut microbiome and to find sub-populations of natural killer cells that are good at clearing infections. The first will let us predict whether a person's microbiome will be damaged if they take antibiotics, and the second will help us develop better vaccines.