Congratulations to Notre Dame’s 2009 Eck Institute for Global Health Fellow Geoffrey Siwo upon receiving the 2012 IBM Ph.D. Scholarship from the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Program. Siwo works under the tutelage of, Eck Institute for Global Health member and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Michael Ferdig.
This award is an intensely competitive worldwide program that honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship in Global University Relations and Innovation Program recognizes exemplary work in variety of fields; Siwo received this award for his work in Ferdig's malaria-focused lab using computational biology approaches in coordination with Notre Dame's Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications (iCeNSA). In 2010 he conducted a research internship at the IBM Watson Research Center in New York, under Dr. Gustavo Stolovitzky, his mentor for the IBM Scholarship Award.
Siwo is interested in solving complex scientific problems using computing. His current research focuses on the system level properties of the human malaria parasite, the relevance to the fundamental principles of living systems and the application to clinically relevant issues such as drug discovery. He is taking that concept further to develop computing platforms that seek solutions to scientific challenges by harnessing human perception, cognition and collective intelligence through the abstraction of scientific tasks into games ('gamification'), open innovation networks and the ability of the web to focus millions of humans to collaborate on a task.
Siwo was the leader on the winning team of last fall's DREAM (Dialogue on Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods) Challenge where his team competed in an international systems biology competition. The team included biology graduate student Richard Pinapati, computer science graduate student Andrew Rider (also a former Eck Institute Fellow), and laboratory technician Asako Tan who, with Siwo, are all affiliated with both the Eck Institute for Global Health and iCeNSA. Their team concept drew heavily from combining biological knowledge with computational methods.
The Eck Fellowship Program at the University of Notre Dame is designed and awarded with candidates such as Siwo in mind. Fellowships are granted each year to outstanding graduate students from across the who have a specific interest in global health and whose research is directed to questions that impact global health. Geoffrey Siwo has and continues to push the questioning envelope and we are proud to have supported his trajectory of success in global health research.