Speaker Bios


Karl Berg 

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

"Phylogenetic and ontogenetic origins of vocal imitation using high performance computing"

Dr. Karl Berg is an Assistant Professor of Biology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. His areas of interest include ornithology, behavioral ecology, acoustic communication, evolutionary developmental psychobiology, and conservation biology. Specifically, he is interested in trying to understand the diversity of and subtle changes in individual parrot calls as windows into social learning processes and vocal imitation, a requirement for human speech. Dr. Berg is the Principal Investigator of a 5-year NSF IOS Animal Behavior grant to study songbird sibling influences on vocal babbling and vocal development.


Kiran Bhaganagar 

Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Texas at San Antonio

"Turbulence Transport of Buoyant Plumes in the atmospheres: Wildfires plumes to COVID-19 cough-plumes"

Dr. Kiran Bhaganagar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Bhaganagar's work focuses on fundamental contribution to the understanding of turbulent flows and development of high-fidelity DNS, LES and WRF-embedded numerical algorithms through integrated approach of mathematical equations, sensors, and experiments using unmanned aerial and ground vehicle (UAV & UGV). Her group studies oceanic flows, atmospheric flows, and rough-wall bounded inertial and stratified turbulent flows. Dr. Bhaganagar received her Ph.D. from Cornell University and completed her postdoctoral work from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Bhaganagar is an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and serves in the Atmospheric Sciences committee of the National Academy of Sciences, and the AIAA Fluid Dynamics Technical committee.


Rebecca Cordell 

Assistant Professor, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas

"Disease and dissent: How epidemics contribute to social unrest"

Dr. Rebecca Cordell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Cordell uses statistical and computational methods with a focus on machine learning, text analysis and spatial econometrics to pursue her research interests, including state repression, political violence, human rights and measurement. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Department of Government, University of Essex in 2017, and completed her Postdoctoral studies at Arizona State University where she received International Studies Association recognition in Human Rights for her article "Security-Civil Liberties Trade-offs: International Cooperation in Extraordinary Rendition".


Diego Donzis 

Associate Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering
Texas A&M University

"Re-thinking compressible turbulence: Seeking universality from massive simulations at unprecedented conditions"

Dr. Diego Donzis is an Associate Professor and a Presidential Impact Fellow in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. As director of the Turbulence and Advanced Computations Laboratory (TACL), Dr. Donzis leads a research group focused on fundamental aspects of turbulent flows and turbulent mixing using state-of-the-art simulations at massive scales. Dr. Donzis is one of the first users of the Frontera supercomputer where he worked on shock-turbulence interactions, universality in the emergence of turbulent behavior, and aero-optics --- research funded by the NSF, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Army Research Lab.


Matt Lease 

Associate Professor, School of Information
The University of Texas at Austin

"Designing Human-AI Partnerships to Combat Misinformation"

Matt Lease is an Associate Professor in the School of Information at UT Austin. He investigates two principal research areas: (1) information retrieval (IR) and (2) crowdsourcing (human computation). His IR research develops new models and algorithms to improve search engine experiences, capabilities, and evaluation methodology. His crowdsourcing research spans machine learning and human-computer interaction, including statistical quality assurance and design for human factors, to build hybrid systems integrating AI and human computation. Lease received early career awards from the NSF, IMLS, and DARPA. More recent honors include Best Student Paper at the 2019 European Conference for Information Retrieval (ECIR) and Best Paper at the 2016 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Human Computation and Crowdsourcing conference (HCOMP). Lease is currently helping lead Good Systems (http://goodsystems.utexas.edu), an eight-year, university-wide Grand Challenge at UT Austin to design responsible AI technologies.


Gillian Lynch 

Associate Director, Research and Development
Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

"Modeling the dynamic capsid of Mouse Norovirus"

Dr. Gillian Lynch is the Associate Director of Research and Development at the Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Dr. Lynch is also Senior Scientist in the Sealy Center, actively working in areas of biochemistry, chemical physics/physical chemistry and computer science. Dr. Lynch is a co-PI of a 5-year grant from the NIH to study Protein Interfaces: Aggregation and Solubility and participates in the American Chemical Society's Project SEED program.


Lauren Ancel Meyers 

Cooley Professor of Integrative Biology and Statistics & Data Science
The University of Texas at Austin

"Modeling to Mitigate the COVID-19 Pandemic"

Lauren Ancel Meyers is the Cooley Centennial Professor of Integrative Biology and Statistics & Data Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She trained at Harvard and Stanford Universities and has been a pioneer in the application of computational models to improve outbreak detection, forecasting and control. Professor Meyers leads an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and public health experts in uncovering the drivers of epidemics and building practical tools for the CDC and other global health agencies to track and mitigate viral threats, including COVID-19, pandemic influenza, Ebola, HIV, and Zika. Professor Meyers was named as one of the top 100 global innovators under age 35 by the MIT Technology Review in 2004 and received the Joseph Lieberman Award for Significant Contributions to Science in 2017.

Website: covid-19.tacc.utexas.edu


Franco Pestilli 

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
The University of Texas at Austin

"Brainlife.io: Democratizing neuroscience via open cloud services"

Dr. Franco Pestilli is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Pestilli is the Founder and Director of Brainlife.io a public cloud computing platform for free and secure data analysis. Dr. Pestilli is a world-expert in neuroinformatics, brain imaging data analysis and his research advanced our understanding of human vision, cognition and brain networks understanding. He has received several awards and recognitions among which the Early Career Award from the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Pestilli is Principal Investigator of the NSF Midwest Big Data Hub and the NSF Big Data Hub Spoke The advanced computational neuroscience network. With over 48 publications Dr. Pestilli is an Editorial Board member of the Springer Nature Journals Scientific Data and Scientific Reports and reviewer for top journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Nature Communications, and PNAS among others. Dr. Pestilli routinely reviews grant proposals for the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health as well as the Swiss, Austrian, Israeli, and Italian science foundations.


Suman Sirimulla 

Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
The University of Texas at El Paso

"Leveraging TACC Clusters to Screen Billions of Molecules against Coronavirus"

Dr. Suman Sirimulla is an Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at The University of Texas at El Paso School of Pharmacy. His group focuses on computer aided drug discovery, developing and using computational tools for drug discovery research. Dr. Sirimulla's main research interests include developing novel therapeutic agents by using structure based and ligand based drug design methods and understanding non-covalent interactions in protein-ligands complexes. Dr. Sirimulla was recently awarded funds from the NSF to support his research to develop antiviral drugs that will target COVID-19.


Dan Stanzione 

Associate Vice President for Research
Executive Director, Texas Advanced Computing Center
The University of Texas at Austin

"TACC in 2020: COVID-19, and the Next Generation of Cyberinfrastructure"

Dr. Dan Stanzione, Associate Vice President for Research at The University of Texas at Austin since 2018 and Executive Director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) since 2014, is a nationally recognized leader in high performance computing. He is the principal investigator (PI) for several projects including a multimillion-dollar National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to acquire and deploy Frontera, which is currently the fastest supercomputer at a U.S. university. Dr. Stanzione is also the PI of TACC's Stampede2 and Wrangler systems, supercomputers for high performance computing and for data-focused applications, respectively.