Tackling Complex Diseases

October 30, 2020

Giorgio Di Salvo (’20), a biomedical engineering student, was selected as the first fellow in the Westheimer Science Research Fellow program, specifically designed to support undergraduate research in UNT Mathematics’ new Statistics Lab. The program is funded by Distinguished Alumnus Jerome “Bruzzy” Westheimer (’65). The fellowship will enlist four students overall, each working on high-impact research projects that focus on public health. Di Salvo, who graduated this spring, and UNT biostatics professor Xuexia Wang worked together to develop a novel and powerful statistical method to identify susceptible genes for complex diseases. They focused on schizophrenia, a severe and disabling mental illness with onset typically during early adult life, which remains in many ways a mystery in regards to the heritability of the disorder.