Congratulations go out to several of our CS faculty for receiving grant awards this summer!

Dr. Mahmoud Tarokh

Title: Robotic Helicopter for Monitoring Pollution and Habitat

This grant is awarded under Blaskers Science and Technology program. The goal is to develop and test a novel and non-destructive method using a robotic helicopter with autonomous navigation and remote sensor technology. The helicopter is to fly autonomously to locations at Tijuana Estuary that are too dangerous or sensitive to reach on foot or on a boat, and capture high-resolution, georeferenced images for use in monitoring pollution and habitat condition. The innovation is in the attempt to produce high resolution geo-referenced imagery from a low-altitude using low cost helicopter platform with intelligent navigation and control capabilities.

Dr. Marko Vuskovic

Title: Anti-Glycan Autoantibodies as Biomarkers in Early Detection of Cancer and Cancer Risk: Study of Lung Cancer and AIDS-Associated Malignancies.

Abstract: The search for blood-based biomarkers for early detection, diagnosis and prognosis of cancer and auto-immune diseases is currently one of the most important interdisciplinary research efforts and challenges in biology, medicine and bioinformatics. Currently, the most commonly used approaches include genomics, proteomics, and glycomics-based high through-put platforms. The latter is a newest platform based on printed glycan arrays (PGAs), a prototype of which has been built in the Consortium for Functional Glycomics at The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, California) and further developed at Cellexicon, Inc. and the Glyco-Medical Laboratory of NYU School of Medicine, in cooperation with National Cancer Institute and Shemyakin Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

The PGAs are microarrays similar to DNA microarrays, but contain a library of various carbohydrate structures, glycans, instead of DNA oligonucleotides. Most of these glycans can be found on surfaces of normal human cells, human cancer cells, and on surfaces of many human infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogenic microorganisms.

Transformation of cells from healthy to pre-malignant and malignant is always associated with appearance of abnormal glycosylation on proteins and lipids present on surfaces of these cells. The malignancy-related abnormal glycans are called tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens, or TACAs. There is a growing evidence that numerous TACAs are immunogenic, and that human immune system can generate antibodies against them. Since multiple glycans arrayed on PGAs are known TACAs, the antibodies present in human sera which bind to glycans on PGA can reveal the status of response of the immune system to human malignancies and viral infections.

The focus of the research under this grant is to further develop bioinformatics algorithms for clustering, classification and evaluation of PGA-based data, with a specific goal to identify putative signatures of lung cancer and lung cancer risk, in HIV-infected and uninfected populations.

Dr. Tao Xie

Title: CSR-DMSS, SM: Energy-Efficient and Reliability-Aware Data Management in Mobile Storage Systems

Abstract: Highly reliable, high performance and energy-efficient storage systems are essential for mobile data-intensive applications such as remote surgery and mobile data center. Existing mobile storage systems generally consist of an array of independent small form factor hard disks connected to a host by a storage interface in a mobile computing environment. Although hard disks are cost-effective and can provide huge capacity and high-throughput, they have some intrinsic limitations such as long access latencies, high annual disk replacement rates, fragile physical characteristics, and energy-inefficiency. Compared with hard disk drives, flash disks are much more robust and energy-efficient, and can offer much faster access times. A major concern on current flash disk is its relatively higher price. This project develops a hybrid disk array system, which integrates small capacity flash disks with high capacity hard disk drives to form a robust and energy-efficient storage system for mobile data-intensive applications. In particular, an array of new data management techniques including energy-efficient data placement, self-adaptive and reliability-aware data redistribution, and self-triggered data replication for data-intensive mobile applications built on the hybrid disk array framework will be developed. In addition, this project implements a simulation toolkit, which will be designed specifically to study a variety of data management techniques on top of the hybrid disk array architecture. This project will also promote teaching, learning, and training by exposing students to technological and scientific underpinnings in the field of energy-efficient storage systems. To enhance education outreach to local underrepresented groups of undergraduate students, this project organizes a summer workshop on energy-efficient computing at San Diego State University.