CITRIS Nominates Sage Scholars for 2015 Assembly in Paris

CITRIS Nominates Sage Scholars for 2015 Assembly in Paris

Sanjay Krishnan, Omoju Miller, and Charvi Shetty were named as Sage Scholars and invited to present their work in Paris this month. 

From April 16 – 18, three members of the CITRIS community will present their research and entrepreneurial work at the Pasteur Institute during the 2015 Sage Assembly in Paris, France. CITRIS nominated several outstanding candidates for their efforts to address research barriers, improve open access to information, make sense of new data streams, and develop tools that engage a broader range of participants.

Sanjay Krishnan, Omoju Miller, and Charvi Shetty were named as Sage Scholars and invited to present their work in Paris this month. In addition to recognizing the achievements of all three Sage Scholars, Charvi Shetty was selected for an Open Innovator Award including an expenses-paid trip to the 2015 Assembly. The nominees also caught the attention of the Assembly co-organizers at the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity (“CRI”) and were invited to participate in the CRI Leadership Program: Teaching Through Research in Paris from April 13 – 15.   

About the Sage Assembly

The theme of this year’s event is “Connecting Open Research, Open Education, and Open Social Impact.” The 2015 Sage Assembly examines how three trends — large-scale data, social networks, and novel institutional power structures — relate to open innovation and social impact. An invitation-only event, the international Assembly brings together individuals from biotech, medicine, education, computer science, engineering, entrepreneurship, and activism to address the divides that restrict the flow of information between groups and make research more challenging. 

This year’s keynote speakers include the first recipients of the Sage Assembly Open Innovator Awards: Jessica Jackley from and Salman Khan, founder of Kahn Academy.

Learn more about the host organization Sage Bionetworks and view the Paris Assembly 2015 overview, including a list of international participants. CITRIS thanks Sage Bionetworks for this opportunity to recognize and support these promising young researchers.

Meet the new Sage Scholars from the CITRIS community and read about their pioneering work:

Collaborative Online Forums For Citizen Assessment and Feedback

Sanjay Krishnan, PhD Candidate, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, UC Berkeley

Social Media is increasingly pervasive and is becoming one of the main platforms for civic and political discourse. However, there is still a disconnect between virtual civic engagement and interaction with real-world political institutions. While Social Media has the promise to enable open governance, we first need a methodology to make online discourse lead to actionable insights by mitigating the noise.

In the last five years, I have researched the design of a new class of online civic engagement platforms that allow large populations to collaboratively generate actionable ideas while resisting manipulation from special interests. One example of this is the California Report Card, a cross-device application that only requires a web browser and a few minutes of time to complete. Participants can assign grades to the State of California on a handful of timely issues (e.g. higher education or immigration services), suggest new issues for consideration, and read and evaluate each other’s suggestions.

To incentivize participation, we designed the application to be fun, visual, and interactive. For example, instead of presenting suggestions in a list, the platform visualizes other participants on a 2D map where distances represent similarity using a technique called Principal Component Analysis. This combination of graphical design and algorithmic design allowed for a successful pilot deployment of this project in which over 12,000 Californians from all 58 counties assigned more than 50,000 grades and suggested over 800 new issues, including disaster preparedness.

My personal goal with this project is to develop algorithmic theory and engineering best practices to encourage a proliferation of new online civic engagement tools and facilitate the adoption of these tools by institutions.

Sanjay is a PhD candidate with Professor Ken Goldberg in the AMPLab and the Berkeley Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering at UC Berkeley.

Towards a Global Framework for Culturally Resonant Learning

Omoju Miller, PhD Candidate in Computer Science Education, UC Berkeley

My work is focused on the co-creation of a culturally responsive, massive open online introductory Computer Science course. As billions of people join the Internet Revolution, it creates an opportunity to develop new education products at scale. The challenge lies in crafting globally scalable, yet localized and culturally resonant technical education models.

In partnership with the WomenTechMaker’s Group at Google, we are creating an “Intro to Android Development” course using the Udacity platform. Our goals are to help people join the on-ramp to becoming Android developers, while also educating them on how mobile app technology can be used to vastly improve the human experience.

Technical knowledge requires a clear understanding of the relationships between layers of abstraction. In the context of a small classroom, these abstract ideas can be difficult for students to wrap their minds around, let alone in an online course where individual discussions for clarification are less prevalent. Technical knowledge can also be difficult to understand due to a lack of universal, yet also culturally-relevant mental models to build knowledge upon. As educators, we understand the importance of using appropriate metaphors in knowledge transfer. To address this, we are building “ key concept” animations in collaboration with the global community of Google’s Developer groups. Our model asks developers to suggest animations based on their expertise and knowledge of local lore. Once aggregated and produced, the appropriate localized animations will be dynamically integrated into the course based on students’ locations.

This yields an approach that integrates open collaboration with open education, while leveraging social networks to build a globally-scalable and culturally responsive learning model.

Omoju is a PhD candidate with Professor Alice Agogino at UC Berkeley.

KNOX Medical Diagnostics: Providing Cloud-Connected Personalized Care for Asthmatics

Charvi Shetty, Founder and CEO, KNOX Medical Diagnostics

As the founder of KNOX Medical Diagnostics, I’m helping develop a portable medical device that captures information regarding lung function and capacity in pediatric asthmatics with medical-grade accuracy. This information can then be wirelessly relayed onto a mobile app for parents to view and act upon in real-time, and allow physicians to track asthma severity in between office visits. KNOX provides cloud-connected personalized care for asthmatics.

Asthma affects 34 million people in the US alone, with 1 in 10 children and 1 in 12 adults being affected by the disease. Despite having access to proper medication and a physician-issued treatment plan, asthma still accounts for 9 deaths per day and costs the healthcare system $56 billion annually, mostly due to utilization of hospitalizations and emergency department visits, as well as the loss of productivity.

Beginning with over 100 interviews with patients, doctors and insurance companies, I started my hands-on journey to design, 3D print rapid prototypes, test and refine Spiritus, a portable spirometer. Spiritus has been prototyped for under $50 and achieves the same level of precision as the $2,000 medical devices used in the hospital setting, as benchmarking against the UCSF Koko spirometer has demonstrated. Leveraging consumer grade sensors and our team’s software and hardware expertise, patients will be able to monitor lung function at home with the hardware and utilize the mobile app to self-monitor and promote self-management.

I want to give parents the power to have better control over their child’s next breath.

Knox Medical Diagnostics was incubated in 2014-2015 at the CITRIS Foundry.