AI Research Catalyst Fund Awardees Virtual Seminar Series – Dr. Eric Triplett

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AI Research Catalyst Fund Awardees Virtual Seminar Series – Dr. Eric Triplett

April 13, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

AI Research Catalyst Fund Awardees Virtual Seminar Series

“Deep Learning Prediction of Autoimmune Disease from Early Childhood Gut Microbiome Composition

by Dr. Eric Triplett, Professor and Chair of the Microbiology and Cell Science Department
and Dr. Raquel Dias, Assistant Professor in Microbiology and Cell Science Department
and Angelica Ahrens, Ph.D. Candidate in Microbiology and Cell Science Department

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


The proportion of the US population afflicted with autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, continues to increase each year.  The annual cost of managing just two of these diseases, type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, in this country is about $34 billion.  Complications that can arise from these diseases drive this cost much higher.  A simple means for early life prediction of autoimmune diseases would allow physicians and parents time to plot of course for prevention.  Our team recently discovered gut bacteria in children at one year of age that are associated with autoimmune diseases that occur up to 16 years later.  In this project, we will employ UF’s new AI computing power artificial to our current datasets to obtain an accurate a prediction of future autoimmune disease in one-year old children.  In our early efforts, gut microbiome data alone can predict future autoimmune disease in the study group of 1800 children with 74% accuracy.  This work will improve that prediction accuracy substantially by: 1) performing a wider array of analyses on the new UF AI computing infrastructure; 2) adding more data to the model including diet, probiotic use, prebiotic use, and infectious episodes during the first year of life; and 3) increasing the datasets through other analyses.  Discovering those parameters associated with future autoimmune diseases are expected to suggest interventions that may prevent disease.


Eric Triplett is Professor and Chair of the Microbiology and Cell Science Department in IFAS at UF.  He has studied relationships between the gut microbiome and autoimmune disease since 2007.  He has done through collaborations with four human cohorts with colleagues in the United States, Sweden, Finland, and Germany,  Not only does his lab use next generation sequencing to understand the composition and functions of bacteria in the gut, but the lab also cultures and characterizes those organisms associated negatively or positively with disease onset.  The hope is to identify early predictors of disease and to develop microbiome-based strategies for prevention.

Raquel Dias completed her Ph.D. at the University of Florida under an NSF fellowship focused on structural biology, evolution and machine learning. She completed postdoctoral research at Northern Arizona University and worked as a senior staff scientist at the Scripps Research Institute. Her postdoctoral work focused on Artificial Intelligence applied to human genomics and translational sciences. Dr. Dias is presently an assistant professor running a lab at the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science of University of Florida. Dias lab develops and applies Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to examine important research questions across multiple fields of biological sciences and biomedical research.

Angelica Ahrens is a PhD candidate in the Triplett lab of the Microbiology and Cell Science Department at the University of Florida. Her research is focused on the microbial underpinnings of mental health, chronic pain, and autoimmune disorders, with interest in prediction and education. She was the recipient of the 2020 University Women’ Club graduate scholarship and William C. and Bertha M. Cornett Fellowship in 2021.  Angelica received her BS from Duke University in 2012 and trained in data analytics and microbiology at NSU Florida and UF, receiving an MBA and MS, respectively.  She has co-authored original research in refereed journals including Cell Reports, Nutrients, American Journal of Sports Medicine, and Concussion.  She is interested in microbiome-based strategies for early detection and protection against inflammatory-based etiologies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
12:00PM – 1:00PM
Via Zoom

RSVP below. Instructions to attend talk via Zoom will be emailed to you.


April 13, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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