Zachary DeBruine receives grant from Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative
October 18, 2022
The project was born from the research of Zachary DeBruine, assistant professor of computing and a former postdoctoral fellow in Tim Triche’s lab who earned his doctorate from Van Andel Institute Graduate School. DeBruine also holds an adjunct position at VAI.
“A central problem in science today is that our ability to generate data has outpaced our ability to analyze large, complex biological datasets,” said Triche, VAI assistant professor, and the grant’s lead investigator. “Our goal is to improve access to powerful tools and allow exploration of the foundations of biology — how cells determine their fate, state, and function; how cells interact with each other and their environment to produce health and disease; and how genetic variation between and within people influences the outcomes.” As part of his Ph.D. dissertation, DeBruine developed an elegant solution that repackages data files that are too big to run on a single computer into a compressed form.
“We aim to make data analysis more accessible using simple solutions that don’t require resource-intensive computational pipelines or deep expertise in computer science,” DeBruine said. “Our efforts ensure that all researchers can analyze single-cell data. What that ultimately means is more people can work with information in ways that could shed new light on the diseases that impact so many.”
“Dr. DeBruine has been breaking new ground in the field of bioinformatics and high-performance machine learning at Van Andel Institute,” said Jonathan Engelsma, professor of computing and director of the Applied Computing Institute at GVSU. “This particular grant will provide more GVSU students the sort of research and experiential learning opportunities that the Applied Computing Institute has become known for.”
The project also strengthens the relationship between VAI and GVSU’s computational groups and provides new opportunities for research and scientific training.