WID Symposium


The Second Annual WID Symposium features faculty lightning talks, poster sessions, networking opportunities, and more. This event is integral to being a WIDite, so please make your attendance a top priority and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

The focus of this year’s symposium is research across the institute represented by all WID faculty and resident Discovery Fellows. As we approach the two-year mark in WID’s Strategic Plan, we re-focus on the excellent interdisciplinary research centered at WID. We will also hear from scholars of the Wisconsin Idea about how WID can better engage with its community and bring its research to bear on problems facing Wisconsin and the world.

Research Posters – The poster sessions at the WID Symposium feature research posters from all areas of WID.

Venue – The symposium will take place at the Memorial Union’s Great Hall with a closing reception in Tripp Commons. See details about the Union here and find information about parking nearby here.


8:30 am Registration, Light Breakfast
Great Hall
9:00 Welcome & Expectations
WID Director Jo Handelsman
9:20 Faculty Lightning Talks: Session I
Each faculty member will have three minutes to summarize their work in the most compelling and informative way possible. After three minutes, the talk will be cut off and the next talk will begin.

Xuehua Zhong, Genetics (Graduate student Sarah Leichter will give this talk in Dr. Zhong’s place)
Epigenetic regulation of plant genome integrity, developmental and environmental interaction

Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng, Mechanical Engineering
Bridging engineering and life sciences for manufacturing of cell-/tissue-based therapeutic products

Thomas Rutherford, Agricultural and Applied Economics
Optimization of economic decisions

Sushmita Roy, Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
Computational methods to study molecular networks in disease, development and evolution

Stephen Wright, Computer Sciences, Industrial and Systems Engineering (Postdoc Clément Royer will give this talk in Dr. Wright’s place)
Optimization algorithms with applications to data analysis and other areas

Shaoqin (Sarah) Gong, Biomedical Engineering
Creating nanomedicines and nanomaterials for human health and sustainable energy applications

9:45 Break
10:00 Faculty Lightning Talks: Session II

Rupa Sridharan, Cell and Regenerative Biology
Reprogramming in stem cell differentiation

Robert Nowak, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Statistical theory and methods for making inferences about high-dimensional and nonparametric models of complex networked systems

Randolph Ashton, Biomedical Engineering
Engineering brain and spinal cord tissues ex vivo using human pluripotent stem cells

Peter Lewis, Biomolecular Chemistry
Investigating chromatin dynamics in animal development and cancer

Miron Livny, Computer Sciences
Efficiency in data storage and management

Michael Ferris, Computer Sciences (Postdoc Adam Christensen will speak in Dr. Ferris’ place)
Optimization methods and data modeling for large scale problems in science, engineering and economics

Laurent Lessard, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Theory research at the intersection of robust control and large-scale optimization

10:30 AM Poster Session
‘AM’ group poster presenters attend their posters during this session
12:00 pm Lunch
Buffet served in Tripp Commons
12:20 The Wisconsin Idea: Gwen Drury
Tripp Commons
1:30 Faculty Lightning Talks: Session III
Great Hall

Laurence Loewe, Genetics
How a stable extensible user-friendly modeling language like Evolvix
can accelerate and deepen biological thought

Krishanu Saha, Biomedical Engineering
Human cell engineering including CRISPR gene editing and epigenetic reprogramming; science & society

Kevin Ponto, Design Studies
Use virtual reality to simulate the experience of real-life spaces for real-world outcomes

Karen Schloss, Psychology
Visual perception and cognition in information visualization and virtual reality

John Yin, Chemical and Biological Engineering (Graduate student Huicheng Shi will speak in Dr. Yin’s place)
Forecasting of virus-host growth and infection spread; physical and chemical origins of life

John Denu, Biomolecular Chemistry
Epigenetic chromatin changes that regulate cell signaling and metabolism

2:00 PM Poster Session
‘PM’ group poster presenters attend their posters during this session
3:30 Faculty Lightning Talks: Session IV

Jo Handelsman, Plant Pathology
Genetic and biochemical processes underlying interactions within plant and human microbiomes.

Jim Luedtke, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Design of methods for solving discrete and stochastic optimization problems

Jeff Linderoth, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Models and Algorithms for Large-Scale Numerical Optimization

ZhengZheng (Jane) Tang, Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
Developing statistical methods and computational tools for high-throughput omics data

David Baum, Botany
How do life-like chemical systems first originate? How can we detect new life-like chemical systems in the laboratory?

Alberto Del Pia, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Design of exact and approximate algorithms for mixed-integer optimization problems

4:00 WID Climate Survey Discussion
4:30 Reception
Appetizers and beverages in Tripp Commons
6:00 End of program
Please retrieve your posters from the Great Hall by 7:00 pm