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Mojca Mattiazzi Ušaj and Shuailong Zhang

Mojca Mattiazzi Ušaj and Shuailong Zhang win Donnelly Centre Research Excellence Awards

October 30, 2020

Research associate Mojca Mattiazzi Ušaj and postdoctoral fellow Shuailong Zhang have received Donnelly Centre Research Excellence Awards for harnessing artificial intelligence for the advancement of cell biology research and regenerative medicine, respectively.

The annual awards recognize outstanding postgraduate researchers in the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research whose projects cross scientific field boundaries.

Working with geneticists, cell biologists and computational scientists, Mattiazzi Ušaj has created an automated pipeline for extracting from microscopy images hundreds of measurements of internal organelles from individual cells to assess how genetic mutations or drug compounds affect cellular health.

“In research you have more downs than ups so this recognition is very motivating,“ said Mattiazzi Ušaj, who works in the labs of Charles Boone and Brenda Andrews, both professors of molecular genetics. “I’m very fortunate to have had great colleagues and collaborators contributing to my research, and amazing support from my advisers.”

Zhang, who has an engineering background, has teamed up with stem cell scientists and bioengineers to develop AI-powered microrobots that can find and collect the stem cells from brain tissue for applications in regenerative medicine.

“This award is important to me because it recognizes my contribution in developing this technology,” says Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Aaron Wheeler, a professor of chemistry. “But the award is not just for me – it is also for everyone else on our team working on this project.”