Graduate Student & Postdoctoral Affiliates

Carrie Alexander, Postdoc

Carrie Alexander earned her Ph.D. in U.S. and Environmental History at UC Davis, specializing in negotiation and violence in property, taxation, and crime. Her research areas include intertemporal decision-making, negotiation, risk, and governance in contexts of intense cultural and technological change and high-stakes political and economic environments. Blending computational analysis, qualitative research, and design thinking methods, she develops research and solutions that translate across disciplinary lines and sectors to identify and solve systemic/root problems. She has a lengthy professional background in design and marketing working with state organizations and large corporations, and has served as a Mellon Public Scholar and public humanities research consultant for the State of California. She currently works as a postdoctoral scholar for the Socioeconomics and Ethics Cluster at the USDA-NIFA/NSF AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS), led by UC Davis. She has lectured and presented on negotiation strategies, cultural and technological change, and built and natural environments, and is passionate about working strategically, creatively, and collaboratively with practitioners, researchers, and leaders around the globe toward an achievable and resilient future.

Nick Bowden, Graduate Student

Nick Bowden graduate student, Transportation Technology and Policy.
Economic environmental policy of energy and transportation. Nick’s background is in theoretical economics and econometrics. His research focuses on the electrification of transportation and carbon policy. He uses high frequency time series data collection and modeling of electric power and transportation systems. Nick is interested in learning programming skills for more efficient methods of compiling data from public and regulated entities. Because these data relate to stationary power sources for the use of stationary transportation networks, he is also interested in visualization of this data onto relevant geographic planes.

Rinaldo Catta-Preta, Graduate Student

Rinaldo Catta-Preta graduate student, Integrative Genetics and Genomics.
Comprehensive, novel ways to define and integrate gene regulatory networks (GRNs) in early neurodevelopment. Rinaldo is working on establishing and integrating GRNs for cortical interneuron proliferation, migration and specification, by associating gene co-expression with binding of transcription factors to DNA regulatory elements (promoters and enhancers), and chromatin states. He is interested in developing high-dimensional, deep learning approaches to generate systems-level, predictive models of regulatory element function and gene regulation during brain development; furthermore, he is interested in, having the models, back generate interpretable representations to drive further feature discovery. Rinaldo has a strong background in Perl and other ancillary languages, but is currently pursuing expertise in Python and R, and efficient HPC. Machine learning interests focus on neural nets, HMMs and deep learning.

Michael Culshaw-Maurer, Graduate Student

Michael Culshaw-Maurer graduate student, Ecology.
I’m a 5th-year PhD candidate and USDA NIFA Predoctoral Fellow in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis, where I’m co-advised by Jay Rosenheim and Sebastian Schreiber. I study insect behavior in agricultural systems using a combination of empirical and theoretical methods. I co-teach the graduate level R-DAVIS  course, help run the Davis R Users Group, and helped start the GGE’s Statistical Support Group. I am broadly interested in using R for data analysis and visualization, agent-based modeling, and Bayesian statistics.

Charlie Fornaca, Graduate Student

Charlie Fornaca, master’s student, Computer Science.
Charlie is interested in data science and AI applications in healthcare and accessibility technology. She received her B.S. in Computer Science from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and her B.A. in Asian Studies with a focus in Japanese language and culture at UC Santa Barbara. She is a member of DataLab’s RLC on Health Data Science. In her free time, she is learning to ride horses in both English and Western disciplines.

Adam Getchell, Graduate Student

Adam Getchell graduate student, Physics.
Quantum gravity using computational models. Adam has a general background in information technology and programming experience (C++, Python, C#, Lisp, Clojure, and F#, among others). Adam has experience with running MCMC (Monte Carlo Markov Chain) and related methods. Adam wants to learn R and more statistics, data science methods, and anything else related to collating/analyzing large data sets.

Savannah Hunter, Graduate Student

Savannah Hunter is a PhD Candidate in sociology specializing in work, inequality, and policy. She is particularly interested in how gaps in labor law impact working people. She has worked on topics ranging from irregular work scheduling, gig employment, and California-specific health and safety issues. She was the 2020 Scholars Strategy Network fellow and through that experience worked with DataLab to organize the CA Election 2020 Data Challenge.

Jared Joseph, Graduate Student

Jared Joseph is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology with an emphasis in computational social science. His work focuses on corruption in government and the ways actors within the state exploit their government positions. Jared is responsible for communications and outreach at the DataLab.

Nick Lashinsky, Graduate Student

Nick Lashinsky graduate student, Anthropology.
Exploring and developing models of morphological evolution in a phylogenetic context. Nick’s research is at the intersection of biological anthropology and Bayesian phylogenetics. He work primarily with character alignments (both continuous, e.g., linear measurements on the primate skeleton, and discrete, e.g., binary traits and nucleotide sequences), attempting to make inferences regarding the evolutionary processes that gave rise to them. Nick wants to learn new programming languages and software libraries/frameworks (e.g., Python, TensorFlow, Hadoop) and methods (e.g. artificial neural networks). He also wants to expand his toolkit to include machine learning and data visualization.

Ryan Peek, Postdoc

Ryan Peek, postdoctoral scholar, Watershed Science Center.
Effects of land-use change on the population genomics of sensitive frog species. Ryan is a watershed scientist who studies the effects of river regulation and landscape change in freshwater systems. Ryan works with many types of data, including genomic, hydrologic, biologic, and climate, both “tidying” and aggregating as well as modeling and visualization. Ryan coordinates the Davis-R-Users-Group and routinely uses bash and git. Ryan enjoys learning new tools and methods and troubleshooting R problems. He’s looking to continue learning novel and robust ways to analyze data.

Samuel Pizelo, Graduate Student

Samuel Pizelo graduate student, English Literature.
Samuel is a PhD student in the English department who focuses in Science and Technology Studies and Game Studies. He is interested in using computational tools critically to re-evaluate conventional disciplinary knowledge and archives. Currently, he is involved with a project using R to analyze Early Modern textbases.

Courtney Pollard, Graduate Student

Courtney Pollard, graduate student, English.

Taylor Reiter, Postdoc

Taylor Reiter  studies microbial communities. She works with metatranscriptomic and metabolomic data from wine, as well as to understand the output of new tools for analyzing sequencing data. She is a member of the Lab for Data Intensive Biology and was a leader in the Davis R-Users and Meet and Analyze (Biological) Data groups.

Cameron Riddell, Graduate Student

Cameron Riddell, PhD student, Psychology.
Cameron studies the effects of acute stress on memory. Cameron completed his Bachelors at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2016, and worked as a post-baccalaureate research trainee at the National Institutes of Health. He has participated as a DataLab workshop helper and is a leader in the Davis Python Users Group where he teaches mini-workshops and provides coding help to researchers. Aside from his academic interests, he enjoys playing lacrosse and socializing with friends.

Breanne Weber, Graduate Student

Breanne Weber, PhD Candidate, English.
Breanne’s research explores 16th and 17th century British literature via the intersections of early scientific and material epistemologies, book history, and the digital humanities. She holds an MA in English and a dual BA in English Literature and History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Breanne is responsible for communications and outreach at the DataLab.

Beverley Wood, Graduate Student

Liza Wood, graduate student, Ecology.
Liza is an environmental social scientist, earning a PhD in Ecology with an emphasis in Computational Social Science. She studies innovation systems and policies related to agricultural seeds. Her research looks at how plant genetic material is accessed, used, and managed to understand agricultural systems’ readiness for climate change. Liza holds master’s degrees in Sustainability Science and Organic Farming and has conducted food systems research from a variety of disciplines. She is interested in network analysis, computational text analysis, and teaching the R programming language.

Martha Zillig, Postdoc

Martha Zillig, postdoctoral scholar, Ecology.
Martha studies movement ecology and avian responses to climate change in the Great Basin region of the western USA. She primarily uses R for her data analyses and visualizations, and is a leader of the Davis R Users Group.


Past and Alumni Affiliates