Professor’s undergraduate student mentee receives AI Scholars award

Sergio Ray and Dr. Julie Moore

Dr. Julie Moore stands with Sergio Ray outside the Veterinary Academic Building.

Sergio Ray, a third-year undergraduate student working in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Moore, a professor and chair of the college’s department of infectious diseases and immunology, received an AI Scholars award from UF to work with Moore next year on a project relating to malaria.

Ray is a sociology major with a minor in innovation with a concentration in AI. He is the only student scholar selected to work with a UF College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member this year. Moore said the two would work together to create a video surveillance system to identify early signs of disease in mice using a model of malaria that is characterized by neurological signs such as ataxia, tremors, hind limb paralysis, circling and later, seizures and coma.

“The idea is to train an AI program to recognize subtle emergence of these signs, and perhaps even identify ones that are not evident to the human observer, to reduce suffering of the animals by alerting staff, by email, for example, to such signals,” Moore said. “Otherwise, researchers need to stay awake around the clock to check on the mice, which is obviously fraught with difficulties.”

The UF AI Scholars program is provided through the university’s Center for Undergraduate Research. The center manages the successful University Scholars Program that introduces UF undergraduates to partnerships with faculty in research endeavors across campus. Selection is very competitive and occurs in the spring, with 20 AI Scholars named to join at least 200 other students who are participating in the USP.

The award consists of $1,750 for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor to be used in support of student research.






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