News

September 7, 2018

PhD Candidate Brian Ji Wins for Outstanding Research at Integrated Conference

Brian Ji Vitkup Lab
Brian Ji won Best Oral Presentation at Biennial Integrated Program Retreat; Visit the gallery for photos from the event.

Brian Ji , a combined MD/PhD student in Columbia’s Department of Systems Biology, delivered the winning oral presentation at the recent Biennial Integrated Program Retreat. Ji, who is a member of the Vitkup Lab, presented “Quantification of Human Gut Microbiota Variability Using Replicate Sampling,” and was one of six systems biology graduate students who delivered research presentations at the conference. 

Ji discussed a novel experimental and computational method he has developed to understand spatiotemporal dynamics of the human gut microbiome, as well as the technical noise tied to current human microbiome sequencing techniques. In addition to the human gut, the method, he says, is broadly applicable to other bacterial ecosystems and other sequencing-based studies. In the Vitkup Lab , Ji works on developing and utilizing quantitative approaches to reveal novel biological insights into bacterial ecology as well as cell physiology. His research interests also include exploring computational models and tools to study cancer metabolism at a global scale. In 2011, Ji received a prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship for his work on mathematical modeling to study impaired brain connectivity in epilepsy.  

Along with Ji, fellow students in the Systems Biology Integrated Program who presented their work at the conference included Phyllis Thangaraj of the Tatonetti Lab , Sway Chen and Jimin Park  of the Wang Lab , Zachary Baker of Przeworski Lab , and Hanna Levitin of the Sims Lab . Several systems biology students also showcased their research at the poster session. ( Photo gallery  from the Integrated Program Retreat)

The biennial retreat and conference, held July 22 to 24 in Glen Cove, Long Island, is an opportunity for students from the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Studies ( CMBS Integrated Program ) to share their work and connect with colleagues and faculty about pressing and existing research problems that are having an impact on human health and disease. The CMBS Integrated Program, which includes a track in the Department of Systems Biology, comprises coursework in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and molecular genetics, and students study under Systems Biology faculty and professors from each of the basic science departments at Columbia. 

-Melanie A. Farmer