AustMS WIMSIG Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Awardees
Travelling for conferences and research visits is vital for an academic career. The AustMS WIMSIG Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Awards are designed to provide full or partial support for Australian female mathematicians to attend conferences or to visit collaborators, with approximately four Domestic Travel Awards and two International Travel Awards awarded annually. By having more women attend conferences, we also increase the size of the pool from which speakers at subsequent conferences may be drawn, and thus address the persistent problem of the scarcity of women speakers at some conferences.
The Awards are funded by the Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS) and are an initiative of the AustMS Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group (WIMSIG), which administers them. Awards are determined on a competitive basis by a selection committee of distinguished mathematicians, appointed by the Executive Committee of WIMSIG.
The Award rules and application forms can be found on the Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Awards page.
Awardees To Date
- Brownyn Hajek Bronwyn Hajek (University of South Australia) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 5, 2016) for a research visit to Prof Maria Clara Nucci, University of Perugia, Italy, May 2017.
- Joan Licata Joan Licata (The Australian National University) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 5, 2016) to attend the Workshop on Homology Theories in Low Dimensional Topology, Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge, UK, April-June 2017.
- Catherine Penington Catherine Penington (Queensland University of Technology) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 5, 2016) to attend the Society of Mathematical Biology Conference, Salt Lake City, USA, July 2017.
- Rachel Quill
Rachael Quill (UNSW Canberra) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 4, 2016) to attend the 5th International Fire Behaviour and Fuels Conference in Melbourne in April 2016.
Rachel's Report: In April 2016, I attended the 5th Fire Behaviour and Fuels Conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre, with the financial support of the Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Award. The conference was run jointly in Melbourne and Portland, Oregon, with a number of plenary sessions shared between the two locations via video link.
At the Melbourne conference, organised by the International Association of Wildfire Fire (IAWF) in conjunction with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNH CRC), I gave two presentations that were accompanied by extended abstracts to be published by IAWF (to be available at www.iawfonline.org). These presentations allowed me to communicate aspects of my PhD research to the joint academic and operational fire research community and gain valuable feedback, as well as strengthen my professional network within the industry. With approximately 30% of speakers being female at the Melbourne conference, these presentations also allowed me to contribute to the rising profile of women re- searchers and practitioners within a traditionally male dominated field.
The first presentation, Analysing the Impacts of Vegetation and Topography on Wind Fields over Complex Terrain, was presented in the ‘Fire Weather and Climate’ stream on Wednesday 13th April. The second, Evaluation of Operational Wind Field Models over Complex Terrain, was also presented on the Wednesday but in the ‘Fire Behaviour and Fire Behaviour Predictions’ stream. Both talks were well received, provoking in-depth discussion during each allocated question time as well as during conference breaks after the talks. During these discussions, I talked with a number of academics, professionals and practitioners from universities and agencies across Australia including Victoria University, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Tasmanian Fire Service. Since the conference, I have followed up with many of these connections to develop ideas for my PhD project as well as for new projects.
Prior to the conference, I was also invited to submit an article to Wildfire Magazine, published by IAWF. Within this article, I summarised the work I was to present at the conference for a wider audience, from Australian academics to American fire fighters. The April-May 2016 issue of the magazine was circulated to IAWF members prior to the conference as well as being included in the conference packs given to attendees in both Melbourne and Portland. This article is to be re-published in the next issue of Fire Australia, published by the BNH CRC.
- Nadezda Sukhorukova
Nadezda Sukhorukova (Swinburne University of Technology) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 4, 2016) to attend the Mathematical Optimisation Down Under (MODU2016) workshop in Melbourne.
Nadezda's Report: I gave two talks during this conference.
1. A generalisation of de la Vallée-Poussin procedure to multivariate polynomials (July, 21, morning session).
2. Constructive proof for polynomial spline approximation (replacing a co-author who was unable to attend on this day, July, 18, morning session).
This conference was a great opportunity for me to present my findings and discuss them with prominent mathematicians. In particular, I made a good contact with Prof. Constantin Zalinescu (University "Al. I. Cuza" Iasi). Prof. Zalinescu is a one of the leading experts in the area of convex analysis. Convex analysis techniques have proved to be very efficient for solving a wide range of Chebyshev approximation problems, including polynomial splines and therefore Prof. Zalinescu’s feedback is especially valuable.
Prof. Zalinescu also opened for me a rich field of applications for convex analysis to the area of Statistical Mechanics. Initially, I did not plan to discuss this area with him, but it appeared after his presentation and I would like to investigate this research direction as well.
I had a very fruitful discussion with other participants (Prof. A Eberhard, Prof. R. Burachik, Dr. R. Baier, Dr. V Roshchina and many others). These valuable discussions are essential, since they are more productive than e-mails or Skype meetings. Apart from research discussions, we also highlighted a number of strategies to make our collaboration more efficient. In particular, I learnt that I can access most their research seminars via Visinet (can be installed on a laptop). This is something I am going to use when travelling is not an option.
- Emma Carberry
Emma Carberry (The University of Sydney) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 3, 2015) to host a research visitor from the University of Mannheim, Germany.
Emma's Report: The funding I received from WIMSIG enabled me to invite my collaborator Prof Martin Schmidt (University of Mannheim, Germany) to visit me in Sydney and to defray the costs of additional childcare during his visit, as I temporarily went from working 3 days per week to working full-time. It was an extremely productive visit and we are now writing up two papers resulting from this intensive research time: Blowing-up Singular Whitham Flows and Constant Mean Curvature Tori in R3. This productivity and recognition has already helped me to achieve further grant success, with the award of a $60,000 Brown Fellowship for next year, which will relieve me of teaching and administration duties for the year as well as provide some research funding.
It was particularly helpful that the grant was available to facilitate a collaborator visiting me rather than only supporting the reverse situation. As a sole parent of one-year-old twins it would not have been feasible for me to travel to Germany. Indeed even if that had been feasible, the situation of a collaborator doing the travel is more efficient in many ways as it allows the grant recipient to take advantage of existing childcare arrangements and support, rather than having to make temporary arrangements in a foreign country, as well as pay for childcare here whilst absent.
- Adelle Coster
Adelle Coster (The University of New South Wales) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 2, 2015) to attend the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology in Atlanta, USA.
Adelle's Report: After a delay due to aircraft maintenance and thus an overnight sojourn in Dallas on the way to Atlanta, I arrived in time to be present at the SMB Executive Board meeting on June 29. I answered some of the committee members’ queries regarding the progress our committee had made towards the 2018 SMB meeting which is to be hosted at the University of Sydney. They were pleased and we are looking forward to hosting a large international contingent at the meeting.
In the area of mathematical biology many times your collaborators and co-authors are biologists rather than mathematicians, so this forum was very useful to network with other like-minded mathematicians. There was quite a reasonable international representation at the meeting, although naturally the largest cohort was American. Indeed there were many antipodeans, showing the active nature of this area of mathematics in Australia.
The plenaries of the meeting itself were excellent with a wide range of topics in mathematical biology covered. Unfortunately, only 2 of the 9 were from female speakers, although the female representation at the meeting as a whole was much higher than many other mathematical conferences. Eve Marder was particularly inspiring – she is a biologist, but is one who sees the absolute necessity of modelling and mathematics in the understanding of how information is processed and decisions are made in biological function. Her presentation about degeneracy in neuronal oscillators touched on the interplay of experiment and modelling, and how individual responses should not always be averaged – difference being an important driver of differential behaviour.
The sessions, two of which I chaired, were also of high quality and ranged over numerous biological topics and mathematical techniques. Of particular interest to me were several sessions devoted to mathematical modelling in diabetes. It was wonderful to be able to see the progress being made on a number of fronts in this area as well as to meet and reconnect with researchers, some of whom I knew previously, but others only from their publications. My presentation was well received and I spoke with a researcher from Pfizer about possible future collaborations. I also followed up a previous meeting with Santiago Schnell (now President of the Society for Mathematical Biology), whom I had briefly met at a workshop in Feb 2014. He and his postdoc had followed through with a suggestion that I had made, and it was most gratifying to see that it had indeed provided a good line of investigation. Santiago is also particularly interested in ways to encourage women researchers, and we had a discussion about the AustMS awards I had received and he thought that these were interesting opportunities that the Society should similarly pursue.
I would like to again thank the AustMS WIMSIG for their invaluable support of the Cheryl E. Praeger and Anne Penfold Street Awards, making my participation in this meeting possible.
- Deborah Cromer
Deborah Cromer (The University of New South Wales) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 3, 2015) to attend a Welcome Trust conference on Infectious Disease Genomics, and for a research visit to the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Public Health, England.
Deborah's Report: I received travel funding and childcare support for an extended trip to the UK from 8th October – 14th November 2015 to both attend the Infectious Disease genomics Conference at the Welcome Trust Conference Centre, Cambridge UK from 14th – 16th October 2015 and to further my research collaboration with Dr Mark Jit at the London School of tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
At the Infectious Disease genomics Conference I presented my work on estimating the in-vivo HIV template switching and recombination rate, which was very well received. It was debated by a number of conference participants and the stimulating discussions that followed indicated a strong level of interest in my work at the international level. This was particularly inspiring for me, as I had not had a chance to present internationally recently. The talks I attended have motivated some new directions for my research. In particular I was alerted to a new dataset that we have since already used as evidence for some of our hypotheses in a manuscript under preparation. I had an opportunity to speak directly with a number of people whose work I had previously read and cited, and built up some new networks for potential future collaborations.
During the research visit with Dr Mark Jit we developed a mathematical model to assess the cost effectiveness of childhood vaccination against Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Vaccines against this virus are likely to be available in the next 5- 10 years, and our work will act as some guidelines for public health authorities when the vaccines are available for purchase. Out model was based on some previous analysis we had done of the burden of respiratory diseases by age and risk group, and built upon this work. By the end of the research visit we had drafted the majority of the paper and had clear timelines for the remainder of the work. Additionally we have plans for continuing this collaboration into the future.
Since I was out of Australia for over 5 weeks, I could not have made this research visit without taking my two children (3 years and 1 year) with me. I used funds from the Anne Penfold Street Award to pay for babysitting for my children while I was working in London. I used funding from the Cheryl Praeger Award to pay for my flight to the UK and for part of my conference fee.
I am very grateful for both of these awards, as they made a very productive research trip a real possibility through their financial support.
- Chaitanya Oehmigara
Chaitanya Oehmigara (The Australian National University) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 3, 2015) to attend the MODSIM 2015 conference on the Gold Coast.
Chaitanya's Report: I was grateful to receive in November a Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Award from the Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group of the Australian Mathematical Society. This award supported my attendance at the 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM 2015).
On Monday 30 November I presented a paper in the Solving Practical Inverse Problems session titled “Reduced Basis Model Reduction for Statistical Inverse Problems with applications in Tsunami Modelling”. I was awarded the Best Student Paper Prize of the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand for this paper and my presentation.
MODSIM is a broad ranging conference that attracts attendees from a wide range of disciplines. I attended many presentations on topics related to my own areas of mathematical interest (model reduction and solving inverse problems), but that looked at these methods for a range of applications. This has given me many ideas for my own research. Conversely, I went to many very interesting talks on other mathematical areas with very diverse applications, and often saw how my work could be applied there. I made many new contacts who I look forward to working with in the future.
I would like to thank the AustMS Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group and the selection committee for granting me the Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Award. Attending MODSIM 2015 has been an extremely valuable experience.
- Melissa Tacy
Melissa Tacy (The University of Adelaide) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 3, 2015) to attend a conference on Evolution in Singular Spaces at the Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques (CIRM) in Luminy (France), and for a research visit to Paris.
Melissa's Report: I used my Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Grant to partially support a research trip to Germany and France. The first two weeks of the visit were spent at Oberwolfach where I was working with my collaborator Julie Rowlett of Chalmers University as part of the Research in Pairs project. The final week of the research trip was spent at Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques (CIRM) in Marseilles to attend a workshop on evolution equations on singular spaces.
Research in Pairs
The overall goal of our ongoing joint work is to generalise results in harmonic and semiclassical analysis, such as L2 and more general Lp estimates of quasimodes (approximate eigenfunctions), to singular geometric settings. The major difficulty in obtaining such results is that the known techniques from smooth manifolds rely heavily on the underlying regularity. We therefore are working to replace these techniques with ones that rely on the geometric structure instead. While at Oberwolfach we focused on the restriction of eigenfunctions to fractal sets, in particular those given by iterated function systems.
Fractal sets provide a good place to start this analysis as, while clearly not smooth, they have a great deal of structure and the self-similarity at all scales is valuable to us. We have been working on this project since July 2015, however being able to work together intensively greatly accelerated our progress. While at Oberwolfach we developed tools to replace the standard smooth toolkit and obtain L2 estimates restricted to fractals that depend on dimension alone (we already had examples to show that these are in fact sharp bounds). We are currently writing our results from this two week period and plan to continue the work into other non-smooth settings.
While at Oberwolfach we overlapped with the yearly meeting of the “Imaginary” team who develop outreach connected with the institute. As a result of this Julie and I are providing them with some ideas to develop displays on mathematics and music (particularly its connection to harmonic analysis).
Evolution Equations on Singular Spaces
This conference gathered together a number of experts in microlocal and semiclassical analysis to address the issue of moving such analysis to singular spaces. A particular focus is on understanding the effects of boundary and corners. While there I had the opportunity to meet with a number of colleagues and collaborators. In particular with my collaborator Jeff Galkowski from Stanford University, we have previous work on boundary to interior norms of layer potential operators and the effect of boundary geometry of such estimates. During the conference we took the opportunity to discuss further improvements to our work. Following this discussion we are now writing a paper showing under what geometric conditions our previous work can be improved (and where it is sharp).
This conference also offered the opportunity to meet Simon Chandler-Wilde and Euan Spence, two British numerical analysts whose work overlaps my area. Some of my previous results have been of use in controlling error for their numerical techniques and it is becoming increasingly apparent that many of the techniques of semiclassical analysis have much to offer in numerical fields. I have corresponded with Spence before but this is the first time we had met in person. Being able to meet them and learn more about the problems that they are interested in has given me an number of new avenues to pursue in my own research.
- Elena Tartaglia
Elena Tartaglia (The University of Melbourne) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 3, 2015) to attend the ANZAMP 2015 conference in Newcastle.
Due to the generosity of the Women in Mathematics special interest group of AustMS, I was able to attend this year’s Australia and New Zealand Mathematical Physics (ANZAMP) conference in Newcastle. This conference attracts many researchers from across Australia and overseas, giving a attendees the opportunity to listen to many diverse and high-quality talks from across the field. The opening of this year’s conference also included a public lecture given by Nalini Joshi and Cassandra Portelli who spoke about their respective careers in mathematics and the importance of teaching mathematics in a way that allows students to problem solve and explore mathematics for themselves by collaborating in groups.
Benefits of attending the conference
Attending this conference gave me to opportunity to present a talk on my latest work with my PhD supervisor Paul Pearce “Fused RSOS as Higher-level Nonunitary Minimal Cosets.” I gave the talk on the 10 December 2015. It was interesting to present my talk to academics from other universities and respond to their questions. I was also able to meet academics from many institutions in Europe, where I am currently applying for postdoctoral positions.
- Hang Wang
Hang Wang (The University of Adelaide) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 2, 2015) to attend a workshop on Non-Commutative Geometry and Spectral Invariants in Montréal, Canada.
Hang's Report: It is my great pleasure to acknowledge the support from the AustMS WIMSIG Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Award. With this award, it was possible to have a very fruitful 3-week research travel to Montréal and Shanghai.
In the first week (29 June - 3 July 2015), I participated in the workshop "Noncommutative Geometry and Spectral Invariants" at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada. During the workshop, experts in noncommutative geometry (NCG) communicated exciting developments in this field. Major topics included index theory and higher analogue for groupoids and applications to manifolds with boundary, spectral triples in different settings, quantum groups and NCG in mathematical physics and representation theory. I am familiar with most topics in the conference so I enjoyed learning from the talks. As one of the invited speakers, I gave the talk "Noncommutative geometry, equivariant cohomology and conformal invariants" on 30 July 2015, based on my series of joint papers with Prof Raphael Ponge (one of the organisers of the workshop). Quite a few mathematicians (Prof Bruno Iochum, Prof Piotr Hajac, Prof Paolo Piazza, etc.) got very interested in our work. It should be noted that I was one of the only two female speakers at the workshop. Besides the successful talk, I initiated some very inspiring discussions with Dr Yanli Song, where we tried to study a previous paper of mine in a new setting, and we have planed an exciting joint project together with my colleague Peter Hochs in Adelaide.
In the second and the third week, I visited the Shanghai Centre of Mathematical Sciences at Fudan University in China. This travel was devoted to the collaboration with Dr Kuok Fai Chao, a junior member of the Centre. We made some important progress on our joint paper about Base change and K-theory. In the meantime, I had some very interesting conversations with members and visitors at the Centre and the University. In particular, I established a new collaboration with a visitor there working in mathematical physics. I also gave several talks in Shanghai. On 10 July 2015, I was invited to give a talk with the same title as the Canadian conference in the research seminar of the East Normal China University, hosted by Distinguished Professor Huaxin Lin. There was a Summer School named "Advanced Seminars in Functional Analysis" hosted by the Centre during my stay. In the afternoons of 15 and 17 July I was invited to work together with Dr Zhizhang Xie from Texas A&M University to host the discussion sessions, in which I introduced some interesting examples to the summer school participants, helping them to understand the lectures. It was a wonderful experience to interact with graduate and senior undergraduate students coming to this summer school from top universities in China.
Finally, I would like to express my deep appreciation of the support from WIMSIG, making these research experiences possible.
- Vivien Challis
Vivien Challis (The University of Queensland) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 1, 2014) to attend ANZIAM2015 in Surfers Paradise, Queensland.
Vivien's Report: A Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Award for $600 from the Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group of the Australian Mathematical Society covered most of the registration fee for me to attend the ANZIAM2015 conference on the Gold Coast. I enjoyed attending and giving a talk at this meeting. It was great to have the opportunity to connect with new and old friends within the Australasian applied mathematics community, especially after taking a recent break for maternity leave.
ANZIAM 2015 had an impressive list of invited speakers, including five women. This was really great to see. The Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group held a lunch during the conference (funded by Prof. Nalini Joshi’s ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellowship). This was an excellent opportunity to hear views of the female invited speakers and highlight issues that are important to female applied mathematicians, as well as to mathematicians with parenting or other caring responsibilities.
- Joan Licata
Joan Licata (The Australian National University) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 1, 2014) for a research visit at University of Georgia.
Joan's Report: I am grateful to the Australian Mathematical Society for supporting my recent research trip to the United States and Hong Kong. In December I travelled to the University of Georgia, USA, to visit a collaborator there. We've been working on a project together for a year and a half, with only a few opportunities to speak in person. This visit offered us the chance to resolve some technical issues in the first stage of our project, and we expect to have the paper finished early this year. We also laid the groundwork for a new paper on two-parameter families of Morse functions which we will continue to work on remotely. Right after the New Year, I visited the Chinese University of Hong Kong, giving a series of graduate talks and speaking in a special workshop on low-dimensional topology. The Cheryl E. Praeger Award was extremely valuable in defraying the costs which weren't covered by my hosts. In addition, my two-year-old son travelled with me to Georgia, and the Anne Penfold Street Award covered the cost of his childcare while I was working there. I am extremely appreciative for this support in the dual challenge of being a mathematician and a parent.
- Valentina Wheeler
Valentina Wheeler (University of Wollongong) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 1, 2014) to attend the Australia New Zealand Mathematics Convention 2014 in Melbourne.
Valentina's Report: The travel award facilitated my attendance at the 8th ANZ Maths Convention in Melbourne. At the invitation of A/Prof Daniel Daners I delivered a talk titled “Mean curvature flow with free boundaries and the use of Killing vector fields in Euclidean space” in the Special session in Harmonic Analysis and PDE (www.austms2014.ms.unimelb.edu.au).
This conference is the combined meeting of the AustMS and NZMS held every six years and is a high-quality event in mathematics in Australia and New Zealand. It has allowed me to publicise my results to the larger mathematical community and promote my work as a young female early career mathematician.
The conference was attended by many mathematicians in my field, as for example Daniel Daners, Julie Clutterbuck, Florica Cirstea, Maria Athanassenas, Jerome Vetois, Thierry Coulhon, Adam Sikora, Daniel Hauer, and many others allowing me to connect with peers and possible new collaborators, both Australian and European.
The results I presented treat the setting of a mean curvature flow solution with free boundaries. A section of my talk has also referred to the more complicated family of fully nonlinear curvature flow with free boundaries.
Presenting my results allowed me to obtain valuable feedback on my work in later discussions with Daniel Daners, Maria Athanassenas, Florica Cirstea, Julie Clutterbuck and Pierre Portal.
The conference also exposed me to different aspects of mathematical analysis, for example mathematical biology, geometry and topology, and computational mathematics; with results presented in other special sessions and plenary talks.
I enjoyed my time in Melbourne very much and I hope that I will be able to take advantage of another such prestigious travel award in the future.
- Sylvia Young
Sylvia Young (The University of Melbourne) was awarded a Praeger Award (in Round 1, 2014) for a research visit at University of Wisconsin.
Sylvia's Report: Receiving the Australian Mathematics Society Cheryl Praeger Travel Award was undoubtedly a turning point in my career. I applied for the Award as an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne. In late 2014, I heard from the Award selection committee that I was selected as an inaugural recipient of the Award. Soon after, I was offered a Research Fellow position by the University of Western Australia. I left Melbourne, and moved to a completely new city to me – Perth, in January 2015.
Thanks to the funds from the Award, as well as an invitation from Professor Daniel Gianola, I had an opportunity to visit the University of Wisconsin- Madison in the United States from September 30th to November 11th 2015. I have been admiring Professor Gianola's contributions to the developments of statistical genetics since the second year of my PhD candidature. However, I have never had a chance to meet with Professor Gianola in person previously. My PhD project was about modeling the mathematical association between genotypes and phenotypes in dairy cattle data. Although my current projects in Perth are more focused on genome-wide association study on human diseases, some state-of-the-art modelling methods can be commonly used in both animal and human data. Fortunately, the University of Wisconsin - Madision would have a course on “Prediction of Complex Traits Using Whole Genome Markers” exactly during my stay, which was lectured by Professor Gianola himself! Therefore, the six-week course and a collaborative project made the major parts of my visit to Professor Gianola.
UW-Madison was esteemed for its outstanding expertise in statistics, genetics, biology and animal sciences. Professor Gianola is a leading statistical geneticist with broad interests in complex traits of plants, animals and human. He also kindly offered a good number of new connections between me and statisticians on campus, some of which are well known, such as Professor Grace Wahba – a pioneer of “smoothing spline” and still an active statistician in her eighties, and Professor Brian Yandell – an amazingly knowledgeable statistician and the past chair of Department of Statistics at UW-Madison. Professor Daniel Gianola, together with his colleague Professor Guilherme Rosa in the Department of Animal Sciences and Professor Brian Yandell in the Department of Statistics, became my important mentors in Madison.
Three mentors and I had a meeting and decided to implement the models in Professor Gianola's lectures on one of datasets that I was working on. Results from those models would be benchmarks for my project. In order to extend conventional model, we discussed on how to improve the genomic prediction models by adding in interactive terms between genetic variants. This would be a second step in my research.
Madison professors taught me a lot. They have corrected some of my wrong understandings, and guided me through how to choose appropriate ways to achieve research goals. Not only the techniques that I learned during my visit, but also the approach to develop research, were the precious harvests in my visit. My goal is to enhance the collaboration that we built, and to work towards joint publications with my Madison mentors in next years.
Apart from the above, I also visited Professor Alan Attie's group on Madison campus. The Attie's lab belonged to Department of biochemistry. It seemed different from my background. But the Attie's lab and our lab in Australia have a common interest, i.e., we both use mice models to study how to cure human diabetes. Even if my major tasks were about human GWAS, the mice experiments in the Attie's lab were greatly interesting to me. Thanks to the permission by Professor Attie, I had attended their group meetings every week. I found that they had an excellent way to perform their study, which was to closely collaborate with statistical collaborators. Statistical collaborators would participate in their weekly meetings. Statistician made suggestions either on how to proceed with the analysis, or on the experiment design from the beginning. The research in the Attie's lab has significantly benefitted from this intense link with statisticians.
I gave two seminar to two groups in Madison. My first seminar was for the Attie's lab in the second week after my arrival. My second seminar was for Gianola's group in the last week of my visit. The topics of my seminars were both supposed to be about introducing my research in earlier this year in Australia. Interestingly, the slides in my two talks were slightly different. Unclear or incorrect terminologies in the first talk had been amended in the second talk – this was an evidence that my visit provided me with a chance to review my research.
I call my journey to the US a peer-reviewing trip. This is because my Madison professors are all leading experts in the field. They could highly likely be acting as reviewers when I submitted my work to journals. When I landed in Madison, how I wanted to convince them that my research was sound and deserved to be published. Soon I found that a lot of questions needed to be properly addressed before publishing my work. Thanks to their guide, I am currently doing my projects in a benchmarking way. For every single terminology that I corrected in my context, I would remember. I felt fortunate to have realized them during my academic visit, rather than after submitting my work. Please join me to thank the Madison professors who have put efforts into mentoring a visitor from Australia.
Photo of Cheryl is courtesy of UWA.