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Three Undergrads Receive Mary Gates Scholarships

Congratulations to Xinwei Tan, Palma London and Paul Bartell who have recently been awarded the 2013 Mary Gates Scholarships.

Undergraduate Xinwei Tan has been awarded the competitive 2013 Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship for his work with the Husky Cycling Club team development and outreach. The Husky Cycling Club is the official cycling team of the University of Washington and the team was the 2010-12 Northwest Collegiate Cycling Conference Champions. Tan is studying within the UW School of Business. He is the President of UW Husky Cycling, and will expand the reach of Husky cycling to important community programs. For example, Tan will connect Husky Cycling to the Major Taylor Project, named after Marshall “Major” Taylor, the first African American professional cyclist. The Major Taylor Project is a Seattle-based nationally famous youth development cycling program, which will indeed benefit from the University’s Husky Cycling Race Champions. Tan’s Gates Award Mentor is Professor Les Atlas, a former collegiate cycle racer and team captain.

Palma London received the Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Scholarship. London is working with Professor Maryam Fazel (EE), as well as Professor Daniela Witten (Biostatistics), Professor Su-In Lee (CSE and Genome Sciences), and EE PhD student Karthik Mohan. In this project machine learning techniques are used to identify cancer related genes, given large sets of genetic data from healthy and diseased people. A genetic network is modeled as a Gaussian Graphical Model, and a convex optimization problem is set up such that the solution is encouraged to exhibit characteristics that identify some genes as cancer related. London's work involves running simulations on synthetic and real genetic data to implement an algorithm to solve the problem, as well as developing ways to statistically interpret the results.

Paul Bartell also received the Mary Gates Research scholarship, and his faculty advisor is Blake Hannaford. Bartell is designing a low-cost surgical simulator, aimed at the developing world. The goal is to build a simulator for teaching and evaluating a surgeon performing a caesarean section. During the procedure, the simulator will be able to sense what the surgeon is touching with a scalpel and other tools and use this for real-time guidance and scoring of the procedure as a whole.

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