The University of Alabama at Birmingham hosted the Service Learning and Undergraduate Research Expo from April 17th through April 21st. Maryam Choucha, a Bioinformatics student, received first place at the 2023 Spring Expo in the Physical and Applied Sciences category, for her online poster presentation entitled "Curating Genes and Network Models for Glioblastoma Drug Discovery."Maryam_Chocuha.jpgMaryam Choucha, recipient of the 2023 Most Outstanding Student Award in Bioinformatics

As part of the 10-minute online video presentation, the project highlighted methods related to the use of bioinformatics pipelines in assisting with finding connections between genes, pathways, and drugs for Glioblastoma (GBM), a type of cancer that forms in the brain or spinal cord. Maryam was able to complete research for this project with Jake Chen, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics and Computer Science of the UAB Informatics Institute. The research was completed over the course of the entire Spring 2023 semester, with the presentation taking place in a public forum allowing participants to engage in an interactive Q & A session.

The purpose of the research was to aid in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery through the creation of a case study highlighting the interactions and value that can be found in the connections with the use of drug-repurposing.

Maryam, a Summa Cum Laude graduate, is also the recipient of the 2023 Most Outstanding Student Award for the Department of Computer Science (Bioinformatics), an award that selects one student who has maintained an exceptional grade point average while balancing other activities. She is part of the Honors College as well as the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) Program, an accelerated learning opportunity that allows students to pursue their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees simultaneously.