Date(s) - 04/13/2022
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Please use this zoom link for the event.


Please join us for a UW Data Science Seminar event on Wednesday, April 13th from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The seminar will feature Katie Gonser (Jackson School of International Studies) and Sierra Schleufer (Neuroscience) sharing their final projects from our annual Winter Incubator program earlier this year.

The event will be held in the UW Physics and Astronomy Auditorium (PAA 118)

“Patterns of COVID-19-related mis/disinformation on Twitter: themes of mis/disinformation and data visualizations”

Abstract: This project looks at COVID-19-related mis/disinformation in Louisiana and Washington state during the first two surges of the pandemic. Part of a broader collaborative study between social scientists at the University of Washington and computer scientists at Louisiana State University (LSU), this research focuses on Twitter users’ sentiment and language use to make multi-way comparisons across and between the two states, at different stages of the pandemic, between COVID- and non-COVID-related content, and across users’ age and gender.

Biography: Katie Gonser‘s research focuses on the work of humanitarian and human rights organizations in North Korea. She is particularly interested in how these traditionally distinct fields overlap in the North Korean context in terms of both discourse and practice. Most recently, Katie worked at the Freedom Fund in London, a non-profit dedicated to ending modern slavery. Prior to that, she interned at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva before moving to South Korea on a scholarship to learn Korean. She also interned at the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) in Seoul in 2016. Katie holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and a master’s degree in Social Work and Human Rights from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

“Geometry of Color: Connecting spectral topography of the central cone photoreceptor mosaic to functional limits of the human trichromatic visual system”

Abstract: Humans experience remarkable visual acuity among mammals thanks to a retinal mosaic in which cone photoreceptors sensitive to three spans of the visual spectrum are increasingly concentrated toward the central visual field.  Our trichromatic vision allows us to discriminate hues along two spectrally opponent axes in addition to luminance, thanks to an interleaved mosaic of L, M, and S cone photoreceptors sensitive to long-, middle-, and short-wavelength spans of the visual spectrum, respectively. Resolution and detection along these three axes are fundamentally limited by cone spatial and spectral topography (i.e. the ratio, density and arrangement of the 3 cones types in the photoreceptor mosaic). In some respects these arrangements are known to vary widely between people (e.g. the global ratio of L to M cones), with surprisingly little-to-no effect on standard color vision metrics, while other features are thought to be more consistent (e.g. percent S cones as a function of retinal eccentricity).

Biography: Sierra Schleufer is a student of the UW Graduate Program in Neuroscience who joined the Sabesan Lab in 2020.  She is interested in primate trichromacy as a model for how perceptual dimensions can emerge in neural systems.  Sierra received her B.S. in Neurobiology & Behavior from UW in 2015, then worked as a research scientist in the UW Buffalo Lab studying learning and memory in non-human primates until beginning graduate school in 2018, where her focus shifted toward vision.  In addition to science, Sierra enjoys making things (art, music, food, messes) and talking to her cats, Voxel and Beetle.

The UW Data Science Seminar is an annual lecture series at the University of Washington that hosts scholars working across applied areas of data science, such as the sciences, engineering, humanities and arts along with methodological areas in data science, such as computer science, applied math and statistics. Our presenters come from all domain fields and include occasional external speakers from regional partners, governmental agencies and industry.

The 2021-2022 seminars will be both in-person and virtual, and are free and open to the public.