Home > Milenkovic Receives NSF CAREER Award

Milenkovic Receives NSF CAREER Award

Virginia Watterson • DATE: March 6, 2015

Dr. Tijana Milenkovic, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has received a 2015 National Science Foundation CAREER award. The award provides five years of funding totaling to $540,000 for a project titled “CAREER: Novel Algorithms for Dynamic Network Analysis in Computational Biology”. Professor Milenkovic will develop novel network analysis approaches for studying cellular functioning and molecular causes of disease from biological networks, which could suggest novel candidates for therapeutic intervention. Specifically, whereas current network research deals with static representations of biological data even though cellular functioning is dynamic, Professor Milenkovic will develop efficient computational strategies for inference and analysis of dynamic biological networks. This has a potential to advance understanding of cellular functioning compared to traditional static biological network research. Dynamic analyses of biological networks have applications of societal importance, such as studying cellular changes with disease progression, drug treatment, or age, which Professor Milenkovic will explore. Thus, her CAREER project could contribute to global health. It may impact other domains as well, e.g., social networks. Also, Milenkovic’s work will result in educational activities that are closely intertwined with its research, such as forming interdisciplinary scientists via novel curriculum development activities, or strengthening the computer science population via research supervision, career mentoring, and community outreach to K-12 and (under)graduate students, focusing on women.

Professor Milenkovic joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2010. She is the Head of Notre Dame’s Complex Networks Lab. Also, she is a member of iCeNSA and the ECK Institute for Global Health. Her research focuses on developing computational methods for efficient extraction of function from large, noisy, heterogeneous, and dynamic networks. At the same time, through interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers from biology, psychology, and social sciences, Professor  Milenkovic aims to demonstrate practical usefulness of her methods in the different domains. As of early 2015, her research has been funded by three NSF grants, including the above CAREER award and an EAGER grant intended for “highly risky, potentially transformative research”, a collaborative Google Faculty Research Award, and three collaborative NIH grants. Her research efforts have resulted in two book chapters and over 20 journal publications (e.g., in Science, PNAS, and Bioinformatics), along with a number of conference papers (e.g., in ECCB). Professor Milenkovic is an Associate Editor of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (TCBB) journal. Also, she has acted as a Publications co-Chair, workshop and tutorial organizer, and PC member at prestigious computational biology conferences (e.g., ECCB, ACM BCB, and GLBIO), as a reviewer for many journals (e.g., Bioinformatics), and as a proposal review panelist for several funding agencies (e.g., NSF, NIH, and NSERC). Professor Milenkovic is strongly committed to integrating research and education. She has designed two novel research-oriented courses at Notre Dame at both graduate and undergraduate levels, provided research supervision to both graduate and undergraduate students (with several of the undergrads being first authors on the respective publications), and organized yearly workshops on network research at a career conference for middle school girls.