Advancing Cutting-Edge Statistics
Professor Annie Qu’s research focuses on solving fundamental issues regarding unstructured large-scale data and developing cutting-edge statistical methods and theory in machine learning. “I’m working to develop algorithms for text sentiment analysis, automatic tagging and summarization, and recommender systems,” she says. “I’m also researching tensor imaging data, working to advance network data analyses for complex heterogeneous data, and finding ways to extract essential information from large volume high-dimensional data.”
Detecting Invasive Cancers
One of Professor Qu’s research topics is motivated by multimodal multiphoton optical breast cancer imaging data. The advanced multimodality multiphoton imaging provides visualization of spatial dynamics of tumor-associated microvesicles. “My team and I integrate cutting-edge optical imaging techniques, statistical modeling, machine learning and computational tools to identify tumor-associated microvesicles at various stages of cancer,” she says. “Our research empowers analysis of complex-structured multimodal imaging data to enhance detection of invasive cancers in microenvironments.” The goal is to reduce cancer mortality and minimize medical costs in the future.
Identifying Health Disparities
Professor Qu is also working on identifying epigenomic predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic stress among African Americans. “Socially adverse experiences of discrimination and isolation have a significant impact on mental and physical health,” she explains. Currently, her team is developing individualized modeling that identifies early diagnostic epigenetic biomarkers to assess health disparities among populations exposed to traumatic stress. “The newly developed heterogeneous mediation analysis identifies DNA methylation genes associated with trauma exposure and stress-triggered mental disorders such as PTSD,” she explains. “In addition, the potential effects of methylation genes on developing Alzheimer’s disease are being discovered.” Professor Qu’s research has profound impact on the evaluation of heterogeneous socio-biologic mechanisms associated with the disparity of how trauma affects PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease among African Americans.