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Tuesday, September 19, 2017
BESTies Attended ACLS International Summer School 2017 in Singapore

Two Cornell graduate students participated all last week in the ACLS International Summer School in Singapore, co-organized by the Education Academy of Computational Life Sciences (ACLS) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the School of Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University and Cornell's BEST Program. The annual ACLS summer school event, planned and run by graduate students at Tokyo Tech, provided students the opportunities to develop leadership capacity and enhance international multidisciplinary networking and scientific exchange between the life sciences and computer sciences through various activities.

This year, students were required to come up with a research proposal for an application that would strengthen human health and wellness using life science related data. 26 graduate students in life sciences, bioinformatics, computer science and related fields from Tokyo Tech in Japan; Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; Purdue, UCLA and Cornell in the USA; and Université de Strasbourg in France were divided into 5 cross disciplinary mixed institutional groups to work on this year's theme “Big Data Analysis for Health and Biomedical Sciences.”

Joining the International Summer School from Cornell, Ariah Aram Klages-Mundt is a PhD student in the Center for Applied Math and Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao is a PhD student in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Below is an excerpt of what these participants got out of the program.

The ACLS summer school was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and connect with students on the international stage. I come from applied math, so it was an effective way to explore applications of my work to life sciences. I met people from all over the world. In addition to making many friends, whom I will potentially collaborate with later, I learned a lot about healthcare and research systems in other countries. I am thinking about working internationally and starting a business in the future, so this exposure is invaluable. I have an idea of who to start contacting. This also fit well with this year’s focus on Singapore’s Research, Innovation, and Enterprise 2020 plan. The summer school was a great collaborative experience dabbling in social entrepreneurship and rapid business and product design.-Ariah Aram Klages-Mundt

The ACLS summer school in Singapore has been a great experience for me. During the week-long event, I not only made a lot of friends with students from diverse backgrounds, but also took back home the Best Poster Award for FeverPhone research among all of the 26 poster presentations. I enjoyed everything of the summer school: visiting labs and attending interesting lectures, working with people from Strasbourg, Singapore and Tokyo in the same group, and of course going to Santosa Island and Universal Studios together! Co-organized by the BEST program, this summer school has been the once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the generous support from the organizers! I will definitely recommend this program to my fellow BESTies who are considering the future opportunity!-Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao

This was the fifth year of Tokyo Institute of Technology's Education Academy of Computational Life Sciences (ACLS) International Summer School. On the heels of a very successful hosting last year at Cornell's Weill Medical campus, the excitement of traveling to the other end of the world added a definite international flavor to complement the 15 nationalities and 6 institutional affiliations of the participants. Starting with flash talks and ice breakers to get to know each other, through the intensive group work, facility tours of Biopolis, the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering and A*STAR, we also visited local museums and enjoyed an intercultural exchange dinner. The group pitches were excellent, making the judging panel decisions tough. The groups, as in past years, will publish their manuscripts in 'future' magazine, a knockoff of nature, after extensive peer review and incorporation of the panel reviewers suggestions during the presentations.

See all the photos here!

Read the newsletter summary of the 2016 event here that took place in New York City last year.