SPUR 2022: EXPLORING THE EXPOSOME FOR HEALTH RESEARCH

Mentor Name:
Ram Gouripeddi

Mentor Position:
Assistant Professor

Department:
Biomedical Informatics

College:
Medicine

Email:
ram.gouripeddi@utah.edu


Project Description:

**This project is a part of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), which provides undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. SPUR 2022 begins on May 25 and ends on August 4. If you are interested in this project, please review all program information on the SPUR site. If you wish to apply to this project, you must apply using the SPUR 2022 application.**

About 50 – 70% of health and well-being is determined by the environment an individual lives in and their behaviors within these environments. The sum total of all the environmental exposures an individual encounters in their life-time is called the exposome. The exposome includes molecular constituents involved in direct biological pathway alterations as well as mutagenic and epigenetic mechanisms of environmental influences on the phenome. Exposures to different chemicals have been shown to play a role in different conditions including asthma, obesity, as well as other respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, and metabolic conditions and cancers. Understanding the effects of these chemical exposures requires representing these molecules in research studies that involve generating and utilizing exposomes. The Center for Exposure Health Informatics Ecosystem (CEEHI) is developing systematic informatics methods for generating and utilizing such exposomes for performing translational research.



Opportunity Type:

This is a paid research position


Student Role:

The student will play a key role in performing interdisciplinary research combining informatics methods with their chemistry backgrounds. Under the guidance of informatics faculty, the student will have an opportunity to collaborate with faculty, students and staff in multiple domains including various engineering departments, chemistry, atmospheric sciences, informatics and various clinical departments at Utah and elsewhere. Depending on the student’s interests and background, she/he will have opportunities to work on the semantic and metadata representations, with novel sensors developed by the CEEHI and other groups; computational modeling methods in generating spatio-temporal profiles of exposure utilizing these sensor measurements; and utilizing these measurements and modeled exposures profiles in health studies. The student will be exposed to various informatics methods and tools developed by CEEHI and work specific health problems such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Student Benefits:

The student will have a learning experience in performing interdisciplinary health research. She/he will have opportunities to improve writing and presentation skills, and work in a collaborative teams. We will work with student in presenting their work at various local, national and international avenues, as well as authoring abstracts and journal manuscripts. Current under-graduate student researchers working with us have presented their work at various under-graduate, national and international conferences including the Utah Conference of Undergraduate Research, the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, the Annual Symposiums of the International Symposium of Exposure Science and the American Medical Informatics Association, as well as at the Utah State Capitol and to the University of Utah Research Deans.


Project Duration:

35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 25, 2022, and ends August 4, 2022


Minimum Requirements:

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2022 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2022 and not graduating before December 2022; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. U Dreamers with DACA will be hired and paid through U payroll. U Dreamers without DACA who graduated from a Utah high school will be compensated via a different mechanism. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate and will be hired and paid though U payroll. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but we do not currently have a mechanism that allows us to compensate you. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at megan.shannahan@utah.edu or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at the University of Utah, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 25-August 4, 2022). 4) at least 18 years old by May 23, 2022 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing).