We are delighted and proud to announce the conference speakers!

Plenary Session Speakers

Robert L. Caslen Jr.

President, University of South Carolina

Robert L. Caslen Jr., the University of South Carolina President , will deliver the Welcome and Opening Remarks.

G. Thomas Chandler, Ph.D., M.Sc

Dean, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina

Dean Chandler will chair the Opening Session and announce the winners of Student Big Data Case Competition.

Stephen J. Cutler, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina

Dean Cutler will deliver the Closing Remarks.

Susan Gregurick, Ph.D.

Associate Director for Data Science and Director of the Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) at the National Institutes of Health

Presentation Title: Using Data Science to Address a Global Pandemic

Susan K. Gregurick, Ph.D., was appointed Associate Director for Data Science and Director of the Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) at the National Institutes of Health on Sept. 16, 2019. Under Dr. Gregurick’s leadership, the ODSS leads the implementation of the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science through scientific, technical, and operational collaboration with the institutes, centers, and offices that comprise NIH. Dr. Gregurick was instrumental in the creation of the ODSS in 2018 and served as a senior advisor to the office until being named to her current position.

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Dr. Gregurick was previously the Division Director for Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Prior to joining the NIH in 2013, Dr. Gregurick was a program director in the Office of Biological and Environmental Research at the Department of Energy.

Before beginning a career of government service, Dr. Gregurick was a professor of computational chemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research interests included dynamics of large biological macromolecules, and her areas of expertise are computational biology, high performance computing, neutron scattering and bioinformatics.

Dr. Gregurick received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Maryland.

Cui Tao, Ph.D.

Professor at the School of Biomedical Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Presentation Title: Big Biomedical Data  Analysis Using Ontology and AI Technologies

Dr. Tao is an elected fellow of American College of Medical Informatics (FACMI).  Dr. Tao is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) of 2014 named by President Obama. 

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Dr. Tao is an expert in medical informatics with focus on ontologies, biomedical data and knowledge extraction, normalization, and integration, as well as applying artificial intelligent technologies on biomedical applications. Dr. Tao has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and has served as a reviewer for many different journal and conferences.

Bankole (Banky) Olatosi, M.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., FACHE

The Program Director for the MHA program in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management, at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina

Presentation Title: COVID-19 in South Carolina: Applying A Big Data Science Driven Approach

Dr. Olatosi is published in peer-reviewed journals and his research interests are in the fields of Big Data Health Analytics, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and rural health. He has expertise in the field of Data Analytics and Data Mining, and currently has NIH grant funding in this area. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and serves on the board of the South Carolina ACHE state chapter. 

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He is passionate and committed to the improvement of graduate healthcare education. He currently serves as the Chair of the CAHME Accreditation Council and is also a CAHME national board member. Banky Olatosi earned his doctorate in Health Services Policy and Management from the University of South Carolina and earned his MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities). He also holds a master’s degree in biochemistry.

Wenbin Lu, Ph.D.

Professor of Statistics at North Carolina State University

Presentation Title: Statistical and Machine Learning Methods for Optimal Treatment Regime Estimation and Inference

Dr. Wenbin Lu is Professor of Statistics at North Carolina State University. He obtained his Ph.D. from Department of Statistics at Columbia University in 2003. His research interests include biostatistics, high-dimensional data analysis, statistical and machine learning methods for precision medicine, and network data analysis. 

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Dr. Lu has published more than 100 papers in a variety of statistical journals, including Biometrika, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (Series B), Annals of Statistics, and Journal of Machine Learning Research. He has graduated 26 Ph.D. students. His research is partly funded by several grants from the National Institute of Health. He is an Associate Editor for Biostatistics, Biometrics and Statistica Sinica, and a fellow of American Statistical Association.

Dolores Albarracin, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, Business, and Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Presentation Title: Integrating Big Data into Theory and Applications on Health-Behavioral Change

Dr. Albarracin is a leading expert in the study of attitudes, communication, and behavioral change. She has been a tenured professor at the University of Illinois, the University of Florida, and the University of Pennsylvania. She has published about 180 journal articles and book chapters in the leading outlets of the psychology field and other disciplines. She is a fellow of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science.

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Her work has been recognized with the inaugural 2018 Mid-Career Award for Outstanding Scientific Contribution on Attitudes and Social Influence from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Her research received the 2019 Avant Garde Award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse for work using computational and experimental methods. She is the author of five books, including Action and Inaction in the Social World: Predicting and Changing Attitudes and Behaviors, published by Cambridge University Press. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Psychological Bulletin (2014-2020).

Hugh Welch

Management Analyst, Office of the Director, Columbia VA HCS

Presentation Title: Operational Analytics in Veteran Healthcare

Steve Bennett, Ph.D.

Director, Global Government Practice, SAS

Presentation Title: Saving lives and livelihoods: data and analytics in the fight against COVID-19.

As the Global Government Practice lead, Steve Bennett is passionate about helping governments around the world put their data to work for the citizens they serve.  In his current role, he drives strategic industry positioning and messaging in global government markets. A thought leader in decision science and the application of analytics in government, Steve works to ensure that analytics solutions at SAS deliver maximum value for governments around the world.

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Prior to SAS, Steve held a number of leadership positions during his 12 years in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Following the events of September 11th 2001,  Steve led the design and application of quantitative analysis to inform some of the United States’ most challenging security decisions, most recently as the Director of the National Biosurveillance Integration Center.  Over the course of his career in Government, he led numerous efforts to provide analytic decision support to senior officials in the White House and across the U.S. Government. Steve is relentless in his commitment to helping governments improve decision making, and pursues better organization, management, and use of data as critical to that endeavor.

Steve holds a doctorate in Computational Biochemistry from Stanford, as well as undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Caltech, and has authored a number of publications.  When not supporting improved analytics in government, he is coaching youth soccer, leading children’s ministry at church, or building something in his workshop.

Sean Young, Ph.D., M.S.

The Executive Director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology, the Center for Digital Behavior

Presentation Title: Reading Between the Tweets: Using Social Data for Predicting and Changing Public Health Behaviors

Dr. Young is the Executive Director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology, the Center for Digital Behavior, a Medical School and Informatics Professor with the UCI Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics, and the #1 Wall Street Journal and International Best-Selling author of Stick With It.

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He studies digital behavior and prediction technology, or how and why people use social media, mobile apps, and wearable devices. He helps people and businesses apply this knowledge to predict what people will do in the future (in areas like health, medicine, politics, and business) and to change what they will do in the future.

Sultan Haider

Head of Innovation Think Tank, Siemens Healthineers; Program Director and Adjunct Professor at Innovation Think Tank Lab at University of South Carolina  

Presentation Title: Elaboration of Disease Pathways to Drive Future Requirements for Healthcare Systems Using Innovation Think Tank 

Prof. Sultan Haider is the founder and Global head of Innovation Think Tank at Siemens Healthineers. He has filed over 500 inventions and patents and has established Innovation Think Tank Labs in Germany, US, Turkey, China, India, UK and UAE.

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Prof. Sultan has been invited to conduct Innovation Think Tank certification programs at a number of prestigious universities and hospitals worldwide like Acibadem University, New York University Abu Dhabi, Peking University, Oxford University Hospitals, Technical University of Munich, Bogazici University, Baskent Hospital Group and University, Imperial College London, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of South Carolina. Prof. Haider has been awarded multiple professorships and directorships in recognition of his innovation track record.

Breakout Session Speakers

Timothy Mackey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor at University of California (UC) San Diego, the Director of Healthcare Research and Policy at UC San Diego – Extension, and the Director of the Global Health Policy and Data Institute

Presentation Title: Leveraging Different Approaches in Big Data and Machine Learning to Conduct Infoveillance Studies for the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dr. Mackey is an Associate Professor at UC San Diego, the Director of Healthcare Research and Policy at UC San Diego – Extension, and the Director of the Global Health Policy and Data Institute. He is also the co-Founder and CEO of the healthcare big data startup S-3 Research. He holds a BA in Political Science-International Relations and a Masters Degree in Health Policy & Law from UC San Diego and also earned his PhD in Global Public Health from the joint doctoral program at UC San Diego – San Diego State University. 

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His work focuses on a broad array of multidisciplinary topics in domestic and global public health. This includes cross-cutting research in disciplines of public health, data science, international relations, public policy, and innovation.  This includes work using big data, machine learning, and data visualization to generate public health intelligence on topics such as COVID-19 and substance use disorder.  He has extensive professional experience including consulting for the World Health Organization, the US Department of State and others. 


Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM), Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, and Assistant Staff, Genomic Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic

Presentation Title: Harnessing Network Medicine for Drug Repurposing in COVID-19

Dr. Cheng is a computational and systems pharmacologist by training, with expertise in analyzing, visualizing, and mining data from real world (e.g., electronic health records and health care claims) and experiments that profile the molecular state of human cells and tissues by genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and interactomics (protein-protein interactions), for drug discovery and patient care. The primary goal of Cheng lab is to combine tools from genomics, network medicine, artificial intelligence, and experimental systems pharmacology assays, to identify novel real-world data-driven diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for precision medicine drug discovery (including Alzheimer’s disease, Cardio-Oncology, and COVID-19).

Jeffrey S. McCullough, Ph.D.

Professor of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan

Presentation Title: Using real world data for personalized treatment effects: heterogeneity in the benefits of oral antidiabetic medications.

Jeffrey S McCullough is a professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. He received his PhD in health economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Professor McCullough’s research focuses on technology and innovation in healthcare with an emphasis on information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals, and empirical methods. He is currently working on the application of machine learning techniques to personalized medicine. 

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Professor McCullough has done extensive work on the effect of electronic health record (EHR) systems on healthcare quality and productivity. Recent studies have also examined the impact of health system organization on the cost, quality, and price of care. Professor McCullough is a faculty affiliate of the Michigan Institute for Data Science and the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation.


Xingpei Zhao, M.S.P.H.

Doctoral Student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Presentation Title: Network-based Statistical Analysis of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data in Post-stroke Aphasia

Ms. Xingpei Zhao is a first year PhD Student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina. Ms. Zhao is interested in studying and analyzing health-related problems by applying advanced statistical methods. Her current research is about a network-based statistical analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data.

Chen Liang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina

Presentation Title: Emergence and Evolution of Big Data Analytics in HIV Research: Bibliometric Analysis of Federally Sponsored Studies in HIV 2000-2019

Dr. Liang received the PhD in Biomedical Informatics from University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics. His research interest is centered on health data integration, medical knowledge representation, machine learning, and clinical natural language processing. 

Xinying Sun, Ph.D.

Professor and Deputy director of Department of Social Medicine and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China

Presentation Title: Using behavior of wearable activity trackers and its relation with HbA1c among type 2 diabetes patients (T2DM)

Xinying Sun got the PhD in 2006 at Peking University. As visiting scholar, Dr. Sun studied at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during 2013-2014. Dr. Sun now is the member of health education and promotion branch of Chinese Preventive Medicine Association and the vice chairman of general practice and health management standard committee of China health information and health care big data society.

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Dr. Sun did several researches funded by China National Science Foundation and Beijing Science Foundation, focusing on health related behavior intervention and health communication. In the project of behavioral intervention in diabetes, she explored the factors influencing Chinese elderly patients’ actual behaviors of wearing activity trackers and its impact on glucose control.


Patrick Sullivan, Ph.D.

Charles Howard Candler Professor of Epidemiology, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, the Co-Director of the Prevention Sciences Core at Emory’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR),

Presentation Title: Social determinants of health data in AIDSVu.org: A new public health data resource

Dr. Sullivan is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, the Co-Director of the Prevention Sciences Core at Emory’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and a past Member of the US Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.  Dr. Sullivan’s career has included work on HIV surveillance at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV vaccine research at NIH-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Network, and research on HIV prevention for MSM supported by the US NIH and CDC.  

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He is the Editor in Chief of the Annals of Epidemiology, and has served as a Guest Editor for The Lancet, Public Health Reports, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, and Current Opinion in HIV/AIDS.


Whitney Zahnd, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina

Presentation Title: Staying Connected while Social Distant: A Spatial Analysis of Broadband Access and Implications for Peri-Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Times

Dr. Zahnd is a research assistant professor at the Rural & Minority Health Research Center at the University of South Carolina and co-director of the Big Data Health Science Center’s Geospatial Core. Her research focuses on identifying, describing, and ameliorating rural disparities in cancer across the continuum and utilizing spatial methods to explore disparities in access to health care services.

Wei Wang, Ph.D.

Leonard Kleinrock Professor in Computer Science
Director, Scalable Analytics Institute (ScAi)
University of California, Los Angeles

Presentation Title: Using Media Data for Monitoring and Prediction of Public Health Outcomes

Dr. Wei Wang is the Leonard Kleinrock Chair Professor in Computer Science and Computational Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the director of the Scalable Analytics Institute (ScAi). She is also a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biology, and Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Graduate Program. She received her PhD degree from UCLA in 1999. Dr. Wang’s research interests include big data analytics, data mining, database systems, natural language processing, bioinformatics and computational biology, and computational medicine. She has filed 7 patents, and has published one monograph and more than 280 research papers.

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Dr. Wang received the IBM Invention Achievement Awards in 2000 and 2001. She was the recipient of an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award in 2005. She was named a Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellow in 2005. She was honored with the 2007 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement. She was recognized with an IEEE ICDM Outstanding Service Award in 2012, an Okawa Foundation Research Award in 2013, and an ACM SIGKDD Service Award in 2016. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the ACM Special Interest Group on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, and Biomedical Informatics (SIGBio) in 2015. She is a fellow of ACM.


Graciela Gonzalez-Hernandez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Informatics in the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics of the Perelman School of Medicine and Senior Faculty of the Institute of Biomedical Informatics (IBI) at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and Director of the Health Language Processing (HLP) Center within the institute

Presentation Title: Challenges in Digital Epidemiology: Using Social Media Mining for Health Research

Dr. Gonzalez-Hernandez is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Informatics in the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics of the Perelman School of Medicine and Senior Faculty of the Institute of Biomedical Informatics (IBI) at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and Director of the Health Language Processing (HLP) Center within the institute. She has positioned my research in the cross-cutting field of knowledge discovery through natural language processing, extracting unstructured information from clinical records, journal articles, and social media postings to elucidate data patterns, trends, and relationships that can aid the discovery process in pharmacoepidemiology, clinical research, and public health monitoring and surveillance. 

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The UPenn HLP Center has made available novel approaches to the complete pipeline for information extraction from different sources using NLP, with over 75 publications in prestigious journals and conferences, making their code and datasets generally available for research. They have led state-of-the-art advances in social media mining through the organization of workshops and shared tasks at leading biomedical informatics and computational linguistics conferences. With 19 years of academic career plus 5 more as Software Engineer and Project Manager, She has a unique perspective with respect to the integration of research and applicable software systems, the need for their adequate construction and distribution, as well as with the effective management of interdisciplinary teams and federally funded research.


Dianne Davis

Supervising Statistician with the Health and Demographics Division of the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA)

Dianne Davis is a supervising Statistician with the Health and Demographics Division of the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. Dianne has over fourteen years’ experience working in South Carolina’s Integrated Data System with particular emphasis on health data.  She provides independent and professional analysis to state and local officials as well as other stakeholders to aid in the development of public policy and effective administration of programs.  Some of her major projects include the analysis and reporting of South Carolina’s hospital discharge data and managing the South Carolina Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) data.  She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS in Statistics.

Elizabeth Hall

Program Manager with the SC Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA), Health & Demographics Division

Elizabeth Hall is a Program Manager with the SC Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA), Health & Demographics Division.  She is the Senior Database Administrator and Manager of the Analytic Product Section which is responsible for analysis performed using Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, ESRI, and Panorama Necto.  Some of her major projects include a public data dashboard for the RFA website, a dashboard for DSS child care services, and a data cube for a study on the impacts of incarceration.  She also serves as the Technical Lead for the South Carolina Health Information Exchange (SCHIEx) infrastructure.  Prior to her role as a Program Manager and Database Administrator, she served as a Statistician for the SC Free Medical Clinic Data Collection Project.  She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS in Mathematics.

Yang Yang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Radiology at the Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York

Presentation Title: Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Rapid Diagnosis of Patients with COVID-19

Dr. Yang Yang, is Assistant Professor of Radiology at the Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. His research is focused on fast magnetic resonance imaging technique development and its translational/clinical applications. Dr. Yang was trained in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia on MRI  physics, novel pulse sequence development, advanced image reconstruction, and machine learning for fast imaging. During the pandemic of COVID-19, Dr. Yang is one of the pioneers in characterizing the imaging features of COVID-19 and developing artificial intelligence-enabled rapid comprehensive diagnosis of patients with COVID-19 using a combination of imaging data and clinical information.

Zhenlong Li, Ph.D.

Director, Geoinformation and Big Data Research Laboratory (GIBD)
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute (HVRI)

Presentation Title: Monitoring the Spatial Spread of COVID-19 and Effectiveness of the Control Measures through Human Movement using Big Social Media Data

Dr. Zhenlong Li is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina (USC), where he established and leads the Geoinformation and Big Data Research Laboratory (GIBD). He received B.S. degree in Geographic Information Science from Wuhan University in 2006, and M.S. and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences from George Mason University in 2010 and 2015 respectively. Dr. Li is recognized as a Breakthrough Star by USC in 2020. He is also a Peter and Bonnie McCausland Faculty Fellow (2020-2023) at the USC College of Arts and Sciences.

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Dr. Li’s primary research field is GIScience with a focus on geospatial big data analytics, high performance computing, spatiotemporal analysis/modelling, CyberGIS, and geospatial artificial intelligence (GeoAI) with applications to disaster management, climate analysis, human mobility, and public health. He has more than 80 publications including over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 20 articles in books and proceedings.

He served as the Chair of the Association of American Geographers CyberInfrastructure Specialty Group, Co-Chair of the Cloud Computing Group of Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), and the Board of Director of the International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences (CPGIS). Currently, he sits on the Editorial Board of 4 international journals including the ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information , Geo-spatial Information Science, PLOS ONE, and Big Earth Data. He also serves as a peer reviewer for more than 30 international journals.

Roy Mathew, M.D.

Clinical Nephrologist and Researcher at the Columbia VA Health Care System
Chair of the Research and Development Committee at the Columbia VA

Dr. Roy Mathew serves as a clinical Nephrologist and Researcher at the Columbia VA Health Care System.  He has also served as the chair of the Research and Development Committee at the Columbia VA.  Dr. Mathew’s primary area of research focus is in cardiovascular disease within chronic kidney disease.  He has extensive experience working in the research data environment of the Veteran’s Health Administration – VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure (VINCI).  VINCI is the platform by which researchers can access VHA data for research purposes.  Dr. Mathew continues to access VINCI for various research projects and continues to actively and regularly publish in his area of focus.

Anita Nag, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, UofSC Upstate

Presentation Title: Proximity-dependent Biotinylation to Study Host Shutoff Nonstructural Protein 1 of SARS Coronavirus

Dr. Anita Nag is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at USC Upstate since 2019. She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UCLA and conducted her postdoctoral studies at Yale University and Florida State University respectively. Dr. Nag is interested in understanding the interaction between viral RNA and proteins with host factors during viral infection. 

Ugur Kursuncu, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow at AI Institute, UofSC

Presentation Title: Challenges in AI-infused Telehealth in the Post-Covid19 Era

Dr. Ugur Kursuncu is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the AI Institute, University of South Carolina. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Georgia. His primary research interests include knowledge-infused learning in AI, social computing, and health informatics, focusing on building socially responsible human-centered intelligent systems. Specifically, his research concerns novel AI algorithms for Big Data including biomedical, sensor, and social data, with extensive applications in healthcare and social domains including mental health, suicide, prescription, and illicit drug abuse, and public health issues. His research is particularly inspired by real-world use cases to assure that novel techniques are meaningful, intuitive, and socially responsible in the context of the target domain.

David Patterson, Ph.D.

Director of the Health and Demographics Division of the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office

Dr. David Patterson is Director of the Health and Demographics Division of the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. He oversees the office’s statistical and research units and its systems development initiatives, which include projects such as the SC Integrated Data System and the South Carolina Health Information Exchange (SCHIEx). Dr. Patterson has over twenty years’ experience in SC state government, and served as South Carolina’s Health Information Technology Coordinator from 2009 – 2014. He holds a doctorate in political science from Emory University with specialization in quantitative research methods and social welfare policy. Prior to his employment with the state, he served on the faculty of Southern Methodist University and as a Research Associate with the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ana Pocivavsek, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Physical and Neuroscience, UofSC School of Medicine

Presentation Title: Abnormalities in behavior, sleep, and brain gene expression profile in a developmental rodent model: Relevance to psychotic disorders

Dr. Pocivavsek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.  She is a behavioral neuroscientist who obtained her PhD from Georgetown University and completed post-doctoral training at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Her laboratory focuses on the neurobiology of kynurenic acid (KYNA), a neuroinhibitory product of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan degradation, and in particular on the role of this metabolite in cognitive processes in health and disease.  Using rodent models wherein KYNA levels are up- or down-regulated, her laboratory is investigating relationships between of KYNA, sleep and cognition. Her overall focus is to investigate a novel mechanisms that may ameliorate poor sleep quality and cognitive deficits for individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders. 

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