Max Highsmith

April 30, 2020

Max Highsmith

Max Highsmith

Max Highsmith

St. Louis, MO           

PhD, Computer Science

Faculty Advisor
Jianlin Cheng

Where did you complete your undergraduate study?
Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Truman State University 

Why did you choose Mizzou for your graduate program?
I chose Mizzou because of the university’s stellar academic reputation and the campus’s proximity to my family.

Tell us about your graduate research.  What are some potential outcomes or applications?
My research lies at the intersection of computer science, big data and genomics.  My three primary projects include:

  1. I help maintain and improve the Genome Structure Database. This is a web source for viewing different conformational models generated by different cell lines and species
  2. I am applying deep learning-based algorithms from the field of image super-resolution to improve the quality of a popular biological assay called Hi-C. This permits the generation of higher resolution models using existing data, hence circumventing additional expensive biological experimentation.
  3. I am building a pipeline called HiCPydra which can be used to simplify the analysis of kinetic genomic conformational changes. This provides a new mode of analysis for genetic processes that are time-dependent. 

The overarching purpose of these projects is to improve understanding of how the human genome is organized and functions.  Ideally, this will ultimately lead to improved solutions to human health.

What are some accomplishments you’ve achieved at Mizzou that you’re especially proud of?
I am very thankful for the awards I’ve received including the Dean’s Excellence Fellowship and my current NIH T32 Life Sciences Fellowship.  I am also very proud of my lab work projects and collaborations such as the Hi-C Denoising Autoencoder project and the Genome Structure Database.

What do you hope to do after you complete your degree?
I hope to continue computational research on the human genome through either an academic institution or a private company.