August 10, 2021 Newsletter

August 10, 2021 Newsletter

august 10

Take a look at our August 10, 2021 Newsletter with updates from the Ken Kennedy Institute.

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In This Issue

  • Member of the Month: Jamie Padgett
  • Todd Treangen awarded CDC grant
  • Upcoming Events

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Member of the Month, Dr. Jamie Padgett, is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Engineering and the Faculty Lead of CERISE. She researches the application of probabilistic methods for risk assessment of infrastructure, the subsequent quantification of resilience and sustainability, structural portfolios such as regional portfolios of bridges or oil storage tanks exposed to multiple hazards including earthquakes, hurricanes, or aging and deterioration.

How do you explain your research in one sentence?
My research seeks to understand and improve the performance of structures and infrastructure in the face of multiple hazards, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, by leveraging a combination of physics-based, data-driven, and probabilistic modeling to assess risk and resilience of these systems.

What challenges do you see in your research that you didn't expect?
Maybe I should have expected it, but I have found that our memory is unfortunately very short when it comes to lessons learned from past disasters! So, while there are many technical challenges related to our work, I think a big challenge is finding ways capitalize on opportunities to boil down and translate the findings in a practical context.

What is a favorite experience with the Ken Kennedy Institute?
I appreciate the effort that the Institute is making to forge new partnerships and relationships across campus. For example, I've truly enjoyed the "research cluster" discussions that the Ken Kennedy Institute has spurred.
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News Highlight

Treangen Lab awarded CDC grant for real-time SARS-CoV-2 variant tracking

Treangen Lab, in Rice University’s Department of Computer Science, is the recipient of a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop the Harvest Variant software for integrated, collaborative real-time variant tracking of SARS-CoV-2. The ability to conduct real-time monitoring will support both CDC and the broader public health community’s understanding of changes to SARS-CoV-2 infectivity and transmissibility, vaccine efficacy, and fitness within human hosts.

Todd Treangen, assistant professor of computer science, says, “It’s very exciting that my group will be providing robust software solutions specific to SARS-CoV-2 variant analyses and pathogen surveillance in support of CDC’s mission.”

The 12-month long contract, “Harvest Variants: Enhancing Harvest tools for integrated, real-time, collaborative variant tracking of SARS-CoV-2,” includes a $630,000 grant and is a part of CDC’s SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology, and Surveillance(SPHERES) Initiative. These awards are intended to fill knowledge gaps and promote innovation in the U.S. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding awards are determined through a competitive selection process.

“The overarching goal is to leverage my existing software platform for microbial genome analyses to provide a cohesive, comprehensive software toolkit to facilitate analysis of SARS-CoV-2 variants by scientists in public health labs across the US,” said Treangen.
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Ken Kennedy Institute Member Luncheon
Date: September 10 at 12 PM

The Ken Kennedy Institute is excited to announce the return of our monthly luncheons for members during the academic semesters. The purpose of these luncheons is to provide a space where Rice faculty members can network with colleagues, explore opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, and provide a platform to promote the research interests of our members. Click here for more info.

Ken Kennedy Institute Distinguished Speaker
Date: September 16 at 4-6 PM

Vivek Sarkar is the chair of the School of Computer Science and the Stephen Fleming Chair for Telecommunications in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, since August 2017. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Sarkar was a Professor of Computer Science at Rice University, and the E.D. Butcher Chair in Engineering. During 2007 - 2017, Sarkar led Rice’s Habanero Extreme Scale Software Research Laboratory which focused on unifying parallelism and concurrency elements of high-end computing, multicore, and embedded software stacks. He also served as Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rice during 2013-2016. Click here for more info!

7th SCI Summer Research Colloquium

Date: August 13, 2021

This all-day event features presentations by Rice students & postdocs about their latest discoveries. Subjects include advances in photonics and optics, condensed matter physics, nanoscience, nanoengineering, nano- and quantum materials, bioengineering, solar energy, ultracold atoms, plasmonics, and more.
Click here for more info.

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