Oluwadare Receives Prestigious NIH NIGMS Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award

Oluwatosin Oluwadare, Ph.D.

Oluwatosin Oluwadare, assistant professor in the Computer Science Department and director of the Bioinformatics Lab, was awarded a National Institutes of Health Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) of $1.6 million for his research in modeling the spatial organization of the genome within a cell using machine learning and deep learning algorithms.

The five-year award will support research to advance the development of sophisticated algorithms for genomics research. Oluwadare’s research objective is to enhance and fine-tune the computational and machine learning-driven models designed for the reconstruction of 3D chromosome and genome structures. New graduate students will be hired to support the project.

Don Rabern, Dean, College of Engineering and Applied Science said, “This innovative project has the potential to make significant impact in cell architecture. Dr. Oluwadare’s research combines depth in Computer Science and machine learning as applied to human health. This is the first MIRA early-career award in the college, and also at UCCS. Dr. Oluwadare’s research area of machine learning applied to cell genomes will advance knowledge and understanding of gene architecture, gene regulation, and human health and disease. We are very pleased with the award and congratulate Dr. Oluwadare and the Department of Computer Science for this success.”

Oluwadare’s research is the development of computational methods and sophisticated machine learning algorithms to model the spatial organization of the human genome within a cell. By harnessing data from advanced biochemical techniques, he plans to uncover insights about how genes and other genomic elements are spatially organized, which is crucial for understanding their functions. The research is focused on addressing the challenges of modeling these structures at a high resolution, which allows for deeper understanding of the relationships between genes and their regulatory elements.

Oluwadare aims to improve human health through big data. “This research holds the promise of elevating our understanding of genome architecture and its impact on various biological processes. By developing novel computational models that accurately reconstruct three-dimensional chromosome structures, we can explore previously uncharted territories of gene regulation,” he said. “Ultimately, this research has the potential to significantly influence the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by shedding light on how disturbances in genomic interactions can result in irregular gene expression.”

Oluwadare received his Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science (CS) from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, his Master of Science degree in CS from the University of Texas, Arlington, and his Ph.D. in CS from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He joined UCCS in August 2019. His bioinformatics research team has been dedicated to the study of genome spatial organization and the preliminary data for this award was published in the Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal in January 2023. In addition to the MIRA award, Oluwadare also received the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) award in 2022.

The NIH MIRA award supports research within the mission of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. It provides funding to increase stable funding for investigators and supports ambitious scientific projects to increase the chances for important breakthroughs.

About the College of Engineering and Applied Science

The College of Engineering and Applied Science enrolls more than 1,700 students and offers 23 engineering and computer science degrees, ranging from bachelor to doctoral. The college is a Department of Homeland Security / National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and works closely with the National Cybersecurity Center and with more than 250 aerospace and defense, information technology, cybersecurity and engineering organizations in the Pikes Peak region. Learn more about the College of Engineering and Applied Science at UCCS.