Spring 2018

Amy Tam

Hi! My name is Amy, and I’m a fourth-year student. I grew up in San Francisco (which is a hella rad place) under the care of my (very traditional) Chinese parents. Growing up, math was my favorite subject (because English was technically my second language) until my first AP science class. Then, I couldn’t decide what I liked best. So, here I am, studying Computational and Systems Biology, because I like translating concepts from one discipline to another and synthesizing ideas working on my senior thesis under the direction of Prof. Alex Hoffmann Professor of Microbiology & Immunology. And because I couldn’t pick which of what I call the “Big Three” natural sciences to give up studying in depth. Despite all the tears and bags under my eyes, I think CaSB was the right choice because Freshman Amy was infinitely less smart (not that Senior Amy knows much more, but then again, anything over zero is practically infinite). I hope that Senior Amy is smart enough so that I’ll be in my MD/PhD program of choice in about a year and a half.

Ayesha Hamid

I am a first-generation Pakistani- American student from Los Angeles. I am a third-year transfer from Santa Monica College and a Computational and Systems Biology major at UCLA and pursuing my undergraduate senior thesis on “Structural Analysis of Enantioselective Peptide Nano Assemblies” under Professor Jose Rodriguez from the Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry. My research consists of exposure to various fields among which is Computational and Systems Biology as well as Biochemistry which is one of the many things I like about it and I can truly experience at UCLA. After graduating from UCLA, I plan to take a gap year and work in this field. However, my plan is to pursue medicine in the future. I would like to become an emergency room doctor. I became interested in this field as soon as I had heard about it, because I could not imagine how you could put biology and computer science together. After looking into it, I realized that this is very applicable the future of healthcare and something I would enjoy doing.

Karina Patel

Hi! My name is Karina Patel and I am a 4th year Computational and Systems Biology student. I joined the CASB program my freshman year and I love being a part of an interdisciplinary major that allows me to combine my interests in math and biology through computational application. My concentration is in Bioinformatics, and I plan to continue at UCLA next year as a departmental scholar in the 5-year B.S. M.S. Bioinformatics Program. As a UCLA Brain Mapping Center research intern under Dr. Shantanu Joshi, I am working on the use of geometric approaches for analysis and alignment of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) signals in healthy and depressed populations. I am developing tools for bio-signal analysis to quantify shapes and patterns of metabolite peaks and their concentrations; these tools will also be used in a framework for classification and prediction of disease status and treatment response. Upon completion of UCLA master’s program, I would like to go into Information Technology or possibly work on the advancement of medical devices. In my free time, I enjoy running in Santa Monica, tutoring/mentoring youth in North Hollywood, and cooking!

Ryan Grgurich

I’m a nontraditional parenting student and Los Angeles native. I spent several years running a machine shop before I had the chance to go to school full-time and pursue my true passion to do experimental neuroscience research that is informed by computational models. So naturally my focus within the major is neurosystems. The knowledge I’ve gained through the curriculum have directly served me in the lab of professor H. Tad Blair, where I’ve been working on a model that can perform neural differentiation from a population of neurons that encode a particular stimulus. I’m currently a senior and going on to graduate school here at UCLA in the Behavioral Neuroscience department where I will use predictions from the model I’ve developed to inform experimental hypothesizes about neural circuitry.

Vikash Singh

Vikash Singh is a senior studying Computational and Systems Biology with a concentration in Computers and Biosystems. Having over six years of research experience, starting with breast cancer as a high school sophomore, and transitioning to machine learning/AI at the Cedars Sinai Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIM) program directly after graduating high school, he is passionate about harnessing innovation in science and technology to drive positive change in healthcare. At Cedars Sinai AIM, Vikash’s research is focused on deep learning and the optimization of mechanisms to evaluate multivariable predictive model performance. Vikash has additionally been a year-round intern at Silicon Beach healthtech startup Heal since the summer of 2016, building the first pipelines for predictive analysis ready for deployment, and focusing on a number of projects in data science, artificial intelligence, and software engineering within the company.

Vikash additionally serves as the student representative to the faculty committee for the UCLA Computational and Systems Biology (CASB) department, is a member of Stamps Scholars Society, Regents Scholar Society, and Alumni Scholars Club, and connects to the Silicon Beach tech ecosystem through City Fellows Consortium. He is huge basketball fanatic (Go Lakers!), and has played the trumpet for over 12 years, including a professional stint with the Disney XD Rock Orchestra, and more recently with the UCLA Symphonic Band. In the future he hopes to make an impact at the intersection of machine learning and biotechnology through research and entrepreneurship.