I began my undergraduate career as a mathematics major. Standing out as a high school student in this discipline, I even volunteered as a tutor. I decided to take a physics class for fun the second semester of my freshman year and enjoyed every second. Since I received such high marks in one of my mathematics courses, I no longer had to attend the class after the third exam. I spent this time talking with my physics professor, Dr. Surajit Sen. He opened my eyes to the fact that all physicists are problem solvers. This is the reason I chose my major in mathematical physics. After 3.5 years of hard work, I have earned a 3.91 GPA, two Sekula physics awards, have been inducted into the National Physics Honors Society, Sigma Pi Sigma, all while working in the Science Engineering and Node Services (SENS) IT department, as well as researching during the semester in other disciplines.
I have worked in three research labs. I was given an opportunity over the summer heading into my sophomore year by Dr. Francis Lagor, a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Department, to conduct research involving the tracking of space debris across a planetarium left by a pre-existing professor. It was my task to understand the inner workings of the Digitarium software displayed by the projector onto the dome. After reading manuals and exploring the limits of the software, it was discovered that the planetarium could not be used for hardware-in-the-loop testing, and therefore my research project was stifled. Finding little that interested me in the other areas of Dr. Lagor’s lab, I left his lab and focused more on my schoolwork. The following semester, I was asked by Dr. Satpal Singh, a research professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biostatistics, to work in his lab. Our research project focuses on whether a causation between a certain drug, Celebrex, and specific negative health reports exists. This project has helped me develop a knowledge of computer science and statistics. While continuing my work with Dr. Singh, I applied and received admission to the UB summer research program at Cambridge University. Here, under the tutelage of Dr. Sudhakaran Prabakaran, I began using machine learning in the field of genetics. The end goal of this project is to create a machine learning classifier which will allow genetic researchers to prioritize harmful mutations in the genome. This added to my excitement and desire to use data to further medical research.
As a result of my research experiences, I have applied to seven graduate schools for bioinformatics, already gaining entrance into Rochester Institute of technology. Without working in these fields, I would never have discovered my true passion for data science and its applications to saving the lives of thousands. In my future research, I aspire to create the most effective models using deep neural networks which classify patients who will experience negative side effects based on patient demographics and other medical features.
View the full ePortfolio to explore the work and accomplishments from Nicholas's undergraduate career at UB.
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