In March 2014, the University of Birmingham and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign formed the Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement, and Education (BRIDGE), creating a framework for continued collaboration and investment to grow the strategic partnership between the two institutions.
The BRIDGE collaboration also includes funding to promote academic engagement and collaboration between the two universities with fellowship opportunities. The BRIDGE fellowships seek to provide opportunities for early career researchers to join research groups at two leading universities.
One of the BRIDGE fellows is Dr. Justina Žurauskienė. Dr. Žurauskienė is a fellow at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, based at the Centre for Computational Biology. Her interest is in mathematical modelling, which is machine learning and method development with applications that focus on genomic data and women’s health. Justina specializes in using data and modelling systems that involve complex interactions between several components such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle.
Justina joined the University of Birmingham in October 2017 to take on the BRIDGE fellowship in Population Dynamics and Women’s Health. She is spending one year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is hosted by the Women’s Health and Nutrition Lab. Justina has recently started working with Dr. Zeynep Madak-Erdogan on health disparities in pregnancy, and they will investigate environmental exposures on birth outcomes. Their project aims to elucidate the conection between maternal health disparities and pregnancy outcomes. Their project involves working on the development of new computational approaches that will contribute to addressing problems that women face during pregnancies.
Justina will be on campus with her daughter and husband, Dr. Mantas Žurauskas, who is a postdoctoral research associate in the Beckman Institute. Justina is excited about the opportunity to establish new connections and relationships with scientists within the Institute for Genomic Biology and the Illinois community.
Welcome to campus Justina, we are glad to have you and your family here with us! We are looking forward to seeing what this collaboration can bring to both Illinois and the University of Birmingham.