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Christopher R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Expertise

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology; Computational Modelling; Biology of Aging

Bio

Hi! I am a graduate student studying aging (or lack thereof) in highly regenerative planarian worms. I am interested in understanding the theoretical constraints that can push an organism to evolve to be ageless, as well as mechanistic barriers to doing so. I use mathematical modelling, population genetics, and simulations to evaluate the possibility of biological immortality in the natural world. I love playing board games, camping, and reading and writing science fiction! My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

A Safer World

The life expectancy of people in the modern world is almost double what it was a century ago. What drove this massive increase? What are the differences in lifespan between countries? Will lifespan continue to increase? This project will explore why humans today are some of the healthiest in history and what can be done to make the world even safer tomorrow. We will look at the amazing technologies that lengthened lives in the 20th century, as well as the tragic events that shortened them. We will also analyze the sources of mortality which plague us most heavily today, and how scientific and industrial development can combat them. At the end of this project, I will help you create visualizations of the data you have gathered about mortality and life expectancy. We can either use d3 or R (or any other software you would like to learn) to create graphs of lifespan across the world and throughout the century. I will also help you present data from government organizations on predictions for lifespan in the 21st century. We can also analyze mortality causes and magnitudes to identify promising targets for improving the health and safety of human beings in the future. Image: COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Narok, Kenya. Credit: Baz Ratner / REUTERS

Coding skills

Python, Mathematica, MatLab, Java, C#, C++, BASH, R, PHP, JavaScript

Teaching experience

I have served as a TA for the Biostatistics class at MIT. I made and graded problem sets, held recitations, and answered questions at office hours. I mentored middle-school students for an MIT afterschool program. I held several hour-long activities (fun math and logic games and biology activities), and ran a short video game design workshop that took place over a few weeks.

Credentials

Work experience

Afterschool-Tastic (2020 - 2021)
Mentor
Boston University (2017 - 2017)
Summer Research Student
CenturyLink (2018 - 2018)
Data Science Intern
MIT’s Summer Research Program (2018 - 2018)
Summer Research Student

Education

Louisiana Tech University
BS Bachelor of Science (2019)
Computer Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Computational and Systems Biology

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