NRT - Program trainees
Current graduate students Cohort 1
Ayme Tomson is a PhD student and researcher in Cognitive and Information Sciences. She works in the Interactive Cognition Lab and is advised by Dr Teenie Matlock.
Her research interests involve cognitive and computational linguistics with an emphasis on corpus analysis and behavioral studies. More about Ayme: https://aymetomson.com/
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jordan Ackerman graduated from NYU in 2011 with a degree in East Asian Studies (Chinese). Since then he has built projects in education and language technology (eg: www.wordsurge.com). In 2016 Jordan began a PhD in Cognitive and Information Science at UC Merced where he focuses on computational verbal art. In relation to NRT, his work revolves around agent-based modeling of the dynamics of learning sound patterns in speech and verbal art.
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Jonathan Anzules is an immunologists focused on studying the dynamics of the immune system and autoimmune disease. Using flow cytometry and RNA-seq data, he will create a model of the early developmental stages of the immune system until the point of equilibrium. This model will have three purposes.  Identify the key genes responsible for development of the immune system  Identify points of deviation (gene regulation, timing, unbalanced competition, early perturbation of the immune system) from a healthy system and a diseased one  Identify genes/cytokines/receptors that are dysregulated and evetually lead to autoimmune disease.
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Thomas Thayer completed his undergraduate at UC Merced with double major in Mechanical Engineering (M.E.) and Computer Science and Engineering (C.S.E.). He is currently studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). His research interests include robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and the application of each within the agriculture industry. More about Thomas:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomascthayer/ thayerengr.com (under construction)
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Derek Hollenbeck is a PhD Student in the Mechanical Engineering program at UC Merced that is advised by Dr. YangQuan Chen. Derek's research is focused on the use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), both multirotors and fixed wing aircrafts, as scientific data instruments to solve search and localization related issues of fugitive methane
which can impact the environment and public safety. He is interested in the use of sUAS swarms, fractional calculus and exploring how to make collective systems such as swarms more adaptive for these search problems. Derek started his interest in sUAS through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) helping to pioneer UC Merced's first two appearances in the AIAA Design Build Fly event. He is also a lab manager for Mechatronics, Embedded Systems, and Automation (MESA) Lab.
More about Derek: http://mechatronics.ucmerced.edu/FCSS
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Daniel Schloesser's research has been focused on investigating the dynamics of interpersonal coordination over the last five years. Specifically, he has been interested in how initial coordination dynamics develop into increasingly more stable dynamics when groups (human/non-human) are provided additional sensory information to coordinate with another agent during a task.
His research interests are in the areas of joint action, self-organization, entropy, machine learning, dynamic systems theory, and embedded/embodied cognition. His past research projects investigated the impact of differing sensory modalities during a cooperative joint action task in virtual environments. During one such project, He investigates the extent to which additional sensory information in a virtual environment influences group performance with and without access to this additional information. Additionally, investigating the point at which the additional information ceases to be sufficient for dyadic partners to sustain optimal performance strategies within the task space as task difficulty increased. He is interested in how initial performance strategies develop into increasingly more optimal performance strategies when groups (broadly speaking) are provided additional information to anticipate the other agent’s actions. Implications of this line of research are applicable to social behaviors in virtual environments (e.g., online cooperative gaming) and human/AI interactions."
Advisor: Chris Kello
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Farnaz Golnaraghi is a second year Physics PhD student in Prof. Ajay Gopinthan’s group.
She received Bachelor of Science in Theoretical Physics from University of Tehran in Tehran, Iran, in Spring 2016. Her research interests are computational biophysics, statistical mechanics, and their applications in cognitive sciences.
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Bhrigu Adlaka is a PhD student and researcher in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His advisor is Dr.Mukesh Singhal. He is interested in optimizing implementation of Machine Learning algorithms on Distributed Systems.
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Imtiaz Ali received his bachelor of science degree from UC Santa Barbara in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. He likes to hike, bike, run, and work out and try new food everywhere he goes.
He is a second year Physics PhD student working in Dr. Ajay Gopinathan group. His research interest is in Statistical Mechanics, specifically diffusive systems regarding random walks in hyperbolic geometry. He plans to apply his research in AI programs to see if the implementations could optimize the work in a more efficient way.
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Taran Rallings is an aspiring paleoecologist with a passion for data and conservation. His PhD is in Quantitative and Systems Biology focusing on Cenozoic paleoecology and ecological modeling. His advisor is Justin Yeakel. He is part of the La Brea Food Webs project, modeling the Pleistocene mammal food webs of Rancho La Brea.
More about Taran: http://jdyeakel.github.io/people/
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Music composer/producer, jazz musician, and curator briefly describe Adolfo Ramirez-Aristizabal and his motivation behind his eclectic approach to the arts. Such motivation was taken into learning the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science, where inspiration from different scientific research culminated his curiosity for new methods to study the mind. He is currently a Ph.D student in the Cognitive Information Sciences program at the University of California Merced. He works in the Cognitive Mechanics Lab and is advised by Professor Chris Kello. Adolfo’s research interests are centered on understanding dynamical complex systems and interactions in cognitive processes, more specifically, looking at cognitive functions that can be modeled as complex networks and study what dynamics allow for complementary interaction, for example, hand-eye coordination dynamics in a search task.
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Amin Boroomand completed his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering at Isfahan University of Technology in Iran. He then moved to Italy to obtain his master’s degree in Bioinformatics at the University of Bologna, the oldest university in continuous operation, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. In August 2016, he moved to California to join Prof. David Ardell’s lab in the Quantitative and Systems Biology (QSB) program at UC Merced: his research area focuses on the evolution of human language, using an iterated learning model. Amin works on a project about drug discovery for leishmaniosis. He is also interested in science-based entrepreneurship, having won the 2016 Innovators Under 35, the most prestigious recognition worldwide bestowed by MIT Technology Review with the main objective of lending visibility to the work of the most talented, young, technological leaders, capable of materializing ideas that will revolutionize the world of technology and business in the near future. More about Amin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amin-boroomand-81613283
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