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Milenkovic receives NSF award to examine the future of the Network Biology field

M. D. McNally • DATE: September 2, 2019

Milenkovic receives NSF award to examine the future of the Network Biology field

Professor Milenkovic

Network biology, a field in the intersection of computer science and biology, is critical for deepening understanding of cellular functioning and disease. While the field is relatively young, there have already been rapid changes to it and new computational/algorithmic challenges have arisen, owing to many factors, including increasing data complexity. So, research directions in the field need to evolve accordingly. Dr. Milenkovic, an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has received NSF award CCF-1941447 to organize a workshop whose goal is to identify pressing challenges in this field and propose solutions to the challenges. The workshop is to be held in 2020 as a targeted meeting of approximately 35 faculty who are doing active and state-of-the-art research in various aspects of network biology. The workshop participants will discuss their views of important current and future research directions. A goal is to understand how the field of computer science and algorithms in particular is benefiting the field of network biology, and vice versa, and how to strengthen this synergy even further. The workshop will help shape the short- and long-term vision for algorithmic research in network biology.

Dr. Tijana Milenkovic is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. She has been a Notre Dame faculty since 2010, after getting her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California Irvine in the same year. Milenkovic leads the Complex Networks (CoNe) Lab, which solves challenging problems in the fields of network science, data mining, algorithms, computational biology, social networks, and scientific wellness. Her work focuses on developing computational methods for modeling complex real-world systems as networks and for efficiently mining the networks to learn how the systems function. At the same time, through interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers from biology, chemistry, social sciences, psychology, etc., Milenkovic aims to demonstrate practical usefulness of her methods in the different domains. She won prestigious 2015 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER and 2016 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) YIP awards. Also, she has been the sole or lead Principal Investigator on five other awards by NSF or National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has published 41 journal papers (e.g., in Science, PNAS, Nature’s Scientific Reports, or Bioinformatics) and 13 conference papers (including three papers in the top tier ISMB/ECCB computational biology conference). She has been an Associate Editor of IEEE/ACM TCBB since 2014 and of Nature's Scientific Reports since 2018. She has acted as an organizing committee member, publication co-chair, workshop/tutorial organizer, and program committee member at a number of prestigious conferences, and as a reviewer for many respectable journals. Milenkovic is committed to integrating research and education, as well as increasing participation of women in computer science. For example, in addition to supervising 10 Ph.D. and 3 M.Sc. students, she has also supervised 21 undergraduate researchers, 7 of whom continued onto Ph.D. programs at e.g., Stanford, MIT, or Carnegie Mellon University. Also, she has organized research workshops at a career conference for middle school girls yearly since 2012, to motivate them to pursue future careers in STEM, including computer science.