While on co-​​op last year, North­eastern junior Emily Batt explored the bound­aries of net­work sci­ence in two vastly dif­ferent areas.

First, while working at the Dana-​​Farber Cancer Insti­tute through the Steam­boat Foundation’s Summer Scholars Pro­gram, Batt helped inter­pret models of how pro­teins interact with each other in the human body, which can explain how cell net­works can lead to cancer. Later, she moved to the MIT Media Lab, where she studied how net­work sci­ence can shed light on eco­nomic devel­op­ment trends based on a country’s ability to create and export prod­ucts, given the tech­nology and cap­ital at its disposal.

Using net­work sci­ence, we can study almost any­thing” said Batt, a physics major. “[For instance] we think that having a sys­temic under­standing [of cel­lular net­works] will pro­vide a more com­plete under­standing of disease.”

Not only did Batt’s work exem­plify Northeastern’s inno­v­a­tive research in this bur­geoning field, but it also earned her the under­grad­uate stu­dent research award at yesterday’s Research and Schol­ar­ship Expo 2011 in the “Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Topics, Cen­ters and Insti­tutes” category.

The annual event show­cases the wide range of use-​​inspired research con­ducted and sup­ported by the North­eastern com­mu­nity. Click here for a list of this year’s Out­standing Stu­dent Research Award win­ners.

More than 300 posters were spread throughout the Cabot Phys­ical Edu­ca­tion Center, high­lighting stu­dent and fac­ulty research in numerous dis­ci­plines, including biology, engi­neering, archi­tec­ture, and com­puter sci­ence; and many of the projects were related to the university’s core research themes of health, sus­tain­ability and security.

For senior Kevin Greene, an expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity in Bolivia led to a fas­ci­nating research project that he pre­sented at the event. Greene, a behav­ioral neu­ro­science major, per­formed a cost-​​effectiveness study for the Sol­i­darity Bridge Med­ical Pro­gram, which is based in Chicago and pro­vides pace­makers, sur­gical tools and other med­ical sup­plies to poor, under­served pop­u­la­tions in Bolivia.

While on co-​​op there, Greene inter­viewed patients before and after their med­ical pro­ce­dures, and saw first-​​hand the health ben­e­fits they reaped from the pro­gram. His results indi­cated a sus­tained increase in patient health and sat­is­fac­tion with the program.

The patient inter­ac­tion I got was extremely rewarding,” said Greene, who earned the under­grad­uate stu­dent research award in the expo’s “Heath Sci­ences and Tech­nology” category.

Fol­lowing the poster pre­sen­ta­tions, Provost Stephen Director announced the stu­dent win­ners, and was joined by Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and Vice Provost for Research Mel Bern­stein in con­grat­u­lating the stu­dents honored.

Every year this event gets better and better,” Director said. “The quality of research going on at North­eastern is absolutely tremendous.”

One of the impor­tant things that comes out of this activity is that you get to see what each other are doing,” Director told the pre­sen­ters and vis­i­tors. “We’ve had a lot of inter­esting col­lab­o­ra­tions grow out of this event, and we hope that will continue.”