UofL teams with Microsoft to explore AI in research

Jun Yan, center, leads research to better understand immune dysregulation leading to acute respiratory distress in COVID-19 and other conditions. Yan and colleagues, including Anne Geller, right, discovered a specific type of immune cell associated with immune system overreaction in 2020 while treating COVID-19 patients. The work recently was funded by $5.8 in NIH grants.

By Baylee Pulliam

The University of Louisville is one of a handful of schools selected by Microsoft to explore how artificial intelligence can be used to help researchers.  

UofL is one of seven Microsoft Academic Research Consultants, or MARCs, that will study how researchers might leverage the technology to, for example, sift through large data sets and glean insights. The idea is to understand needs and develop next-generation tools and training that could generate more groundbreaking research here and around the world. 

“UofL is home to a rich pool of top researchers in high-tech, cutting-edge fields,” said Sharon Kerrick, an assistant vice president at UofL and head of the Digital Transformation Center (DTC), which will lead the on-campus Microsoft effort. “We at the DTC are proud to be among the other top schools to partner with Microsoft to enable groundbreaking research that’s engineering our future economy.”  

The other MARC schools are Duke University, the University of Rochester, the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida, Texas A&M, Oregon State University and Washington University – St. Louis. The MARCs will serve as liaisons between Microsoft and researchers, seeking to better understand how AI is being and could be used.  

UofL has significant earned expertise in this kind of tech-enabled education and research; some researchers are already using computing, big data and artificial intelligence to screen potential drugs and compounds against cancer targets and SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, to analyze medical images and more.  

UofL also was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to work on research and education to strengthen the country’s cyber defenses. UofL was the only school selected from Kentucky for both networks and one of only a handful to hold the competitive Research-1 classification from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.  UofL also recently received significant funding to develop cybersecurity education and conduct cutting-edge biometrics research.  

“UofL has a strong record of researching the digital frontier, artificial intelligence and other technologies,” said Kerrick. “Through this new partnership with Microsoft, we hope to find new ways leverage those same technologies to benefit researchers.”  

Read on UofLNews.com here.