Machine Learning for Cellular Mechanisms of Disease

Caroline Uhler

Caroline Uhler’s research blends machine learning and statistics with biology to better understand gene regulation, health, and disease. Despite this lofty mission, Uhler remains dedicated to her original career passion: teaching. “The students at MIT are amazing,” says Uhler. “That’s what makes it so fun to work here.”

Uhler recently received tenure in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is also an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a researcher at the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems.

Uhler has focused on one disease in particular. Her research group co-authored a paper that uses autoencoders and causal networks to identify drugs that could be repurposed to fight Covid-19. The approach could help pinpoint drug candidates to be tested in clinical trials, and it is adaptable to other diseases where detailed gene expression data are available.

Research accomplishments aside, Uhler hasn’t relinquished her earliest career aspirations to be a teacher and mentor. In fact, it’s become one of her most cherished roles at MIT. “The students are incredible,” says Uhler, highlighting their intellectual curiosity. “You can just go up to the whiteboard and start a conversation about research. Everyone is so driven to learn and cares so deeply.”

For more, please click here.

Caroline Uhler1

Caroline Uhler