Samreen Anjum

Samreen Anjum

Samreen is a doctoral student, advised by Dr. Danna Gurari. She is a member of the Image and Video Computing lab at the School of Information. Her research interests are primarily focused on computer vision and its applications in the fields of biomedical sciences and assistive technologies. She is also interested in systems that enable collaborations between humans and machines by complementing each other with their individual strengths. Prior to joining UT, she worked as a Research Associate at Qatar Computing Research Institute where she analyzed multidimensional biomedical datasets to address problems in cancer research. She received her masters degree in Computer Science from University of California, Irvine, and her bachelors degree in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Degrees:  M.S. in Computer Science, 2014, University of California, Irvine; B.S. in Computer Science, 2011, Carnegie Mellon University

Specializations:  Computer Vision, Human-Machine Collaboration, Medical Image Analysis, Machine Learning, Human Computation

Committee:  Danna Gurari (Chair), James Howison, Jakki Bailey

Nilavra Bhattacharya

Nilavra Bhattacharya

Nilavra Bhattacharya is a second-year PhD student. His research interests span HCI, interactive information retrieval, and applied machine learning. He is interested in quantitatively studying and visualizing the interplay of (a) human’s cognitive abilities, (b) their information needs, (c) their processes of information search and retrieval, and (d) consumption or sense-making of the retrieved information. He uses implicit, topic-independent sources of data like eye-tracking, GSR, EEG, etc., to understand how the human mind functions, and uses statistics and machine learning to gain insights from the data.

Degrees:  B.E. in Computer Science & Technology, 2015, Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology

Specializations:  Human-Computer Interaction, Eye-tracking, Search as Learning, Relevance Judgement

Committee:  Jacek Gwizdka (Chair), Yan Zhang, Matthew Lease

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Yung-Sheng Chang

Yung-Sheng Chang

Yung-Sheng Chang is a doctoral student in the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin. He received a bachelor degree in Psychology at National Chung Cheng University and a master degree in Industrial Engineering specializing in Human Factors at National Tsing Hua University. After graduation, he had one and a half year experience working as a research assistant at Chang Gung University. Currently, Yung-Sheng is studying the relationship between eHealth literacy and information searching behaviors.

Degrees:  B.S. in Psychology, 2011, National Chung Cheng University; M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, 2013, National Tsing Hua University

Specializations:  Online Health Information Evaluation, eHealth Literacy, Online Searching Behavior, User Research, Human Factors

Committee:  Jacek Gwizdka  (Chair), Ken Fleischmann, Yan Zhang, Annie T. Chen (University of Washington)

Johanna Cohoon

Johanna Cohoon

Johanna Cohoon studies scientific research practices and tools. Johanna previously worked at the Center for Open Science where she researched reproducibility in Psychology. She is interested in open science practices—why and when people participate in them—as well as the tools that encourage transparency in research.

Degrees:  B.A. in Cognitive Science, 2013, University of Virginia

Specializations:  open science, reproducibility, scientific policy, software development, persuasive technology, inscription, sustainable research objects, science of science

Committee:  James Howison (Chair), Andrew Dillon, Unmil Karadkar, Brian Nosek (at the University of Virginia)

Anubrata Das

Anubrata Das

Anubrata (pronounced as Anubroto) is a Doctoral Student interested in Natural Language Processing and Information retrieval. He is a part of the Information Retrieval & Crowdsourcing Lab. He has done his bachelors in Computer Science and has worked with Microsoft as a software engineer prior to joining iSchool.

Degrees:  Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and Technology, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur

Specializations:  Information Retrieval, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Crowdsourcing

Committee:  Matt Lease (Chair), 

Nathan W Davis

Nathan W Davis

Nathan is human-centered design researcher with a focus on participatory methods for improving overall quality of life. He has a background in culture, cognition and wellness and his current work explores ways to empower individuals to make more informed decisions about health and wellness. As the design lead with the eHiLL (Electronic Health Information for Lifelong Learners) lab under the supervision of Prof. Bo Xie, he works with aging adults on eHealth literacy and participatory design of training tools. His tentative doctoral thesis is focused on human-centered design approaches to assistive artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles for aging adults. He is also a drummer, curator, community organizer, and globe traveler. 他也會說/寫中文

Degrees:  B.S. Nutritional Science - Texas State University; M.A. Cognitive Linguistics - University of Sussex Thesis: Conceptual Blending, Chinese Five Element Theory and Cognitive Coherence

Specializations:  human-centered design (HCD); user-experience (UX); human-computer interaction (HCI); participatory design (PD)

Committee:  Bo Xie (Chair), Eric Meyer, Danna Guari

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Islam Akef Ebeid

Islam Akef Ebeid

Akef is a second-year Ph.D. student. He is exploring topics in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. Akef is currently investigating the use of Nudge theory by incorporating information visualization techniques in online health information sources and websites with the goal of improving the information credibility judgment of the health information consumer. In addition, Akef is also working on employing advanced statistical methods in analyzing eye tracking data and gaze behavior to be better used as a tool in information seeking and behavior research. Prior to joining the iSchool, Akef worked on projects in interdisciplinary areas like Information Visualization, Bioinformatics, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, User Interface Design and E-government.


  • B.Sc. in Electrical & Computer Engineering, 2008, Ain Shams University (Egypt)
  • M.Sc. in Computer & Information Science, 2013, Arkansas Tech University
  • M.Sc. in Computer & Information Science, 2020, The University of Arkansas at Little Rock


  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Health Informatics
  • Eye-tracking

Committee:    (Chair), 

  • Yan Zhang (Chair)
  • Ciaran Trace
  • Unmil Karadkar

CV:  cv_icon

Andrea Flores

Andrea Flores

Andrea Flores is a doctoral student researching how Latinx populations in the United States use Social Media to organize politically and socially. Prior to UT, she worked in visual effects and animation at Disney, WB Animation and Digital Domain. She is a board member of Techquería, a national non-profit organization that works to increase the visibility of Latinx in tech, and helped organize the first Startup Weekend: Latinx in Tech Edition.

Degrees:  B.A. in Fine Arts, University of Southern California; M.P.S. in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis with an emphasis in Social Media Crimes, Utica College.

Specializations:  PoC, Accessibility, Social Media and Gender Based Harassment, Entertainment, Ethics, Equality & Equity, Decolonization of Technology

Committee:  Amelia Acker (Chair), Philip Doty, Loriene Roy

Jin Gao

I came to the iSchool at 2012 Fall. My personal interest is human computer interaction, health informatics and technology.

Specializations:  User interaction design

Ayse Gursoy

Ayse is a third year doctoral student interested in video and computer game preservation, and in the relationship of archival practice to scholarship. She is curious about how the intellectual model of the artifact, such as "game as software object," engages with the preservation strategies employed, e.g., emulation.

Degrees:  A.B. in English, 2011, Princeton University; S.M. in Comparative Media Studies, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Specializations:  archives, digital archives, digital preservation, video and computer games, digital humanities

Committee:  Melanie Feinberg, Karen Wickett (Chair), Ciaran Trace, Tanya Clement, Diane Bailey

Kolina Koltai

Kolina Koltai

Kolina "Koko" Koltai is a doctoral student working under the advisement of Dr. Kenneth R. Fleischmann. Her dissertation focus is on decision making in public scientific controversies, particularly when people go against the scientific mainstream; specifically, she focuses on the vaccine debate. Prior to coming to UT, she has previously worked in interdisciplinary research labs at universities and government institutions.

Degrees:  B.A. in Psychology and Asian American Studies, minor in Human Sexuality, California State University Northridge, 2012

Specializations:  human computer interaction, automation transparency, stereotyping and bias, trust assessment of information, psychology, public health

Committee:  Kenneth R. Fleischmann (Chair), Yan Zhang, Amelia Acker, Talia Stroud (College of Communication)

Virginia Luehrsen

Virginia Luehrsen

Virginia Luehrsen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information, where her research focuses on the intersections between disaster recovery, indigenous knowledge creation and management, and information practice. Besides studies, she has designed and taught two different undergraduate courses at the School of Information - “Preservation and Representation of Cultural Heritage Information” and “Research Strategies”. Virginia has also spent several years working in government and higher education administration, including in areas of disaster and crisis management, and currently serves as a student affairs specialist under the Vice President of Student Affairs at UT-Austin. Outside the academy, Virginia volunteers with various groups, including Hands-on Housing, Gold Ribbon Rescue, and Austin Pets Alive. She also is a classically trained singer and musician, and participates in various local musical groups as both an ensemble member and soloist.

Degrees:  MA - Folklore and Ethnomusicology (Indiana University - Bloomington) MLS - Rare Books and Manuscripts (Indiana University - Bloomington) BA - International Relations, History; Minor - Central Asian Studies (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

Specializations:  Preservation Disaster Response and Recovery Politics of Indigineity LIS Education Assistive Technologies Rare Books and Special Collections

Md Mustafizur Rahman

Md Mustafizur Rahman

Md Mustafizur Rahman is a third year PhD student at the School of Information, University of Texas at Austin. He is interested in Information Retrieval and Machine Learning. Dr. Matthew Lease is his PhD supervisor. Before joining iSchool, he completed his Masters in Computer Science from the University of Virginia.

Degrees:  Masters in Computer Science, 2016, University of Virginia, Virginia, USA, M.Sc. in Computer Science & Engineering, 2013, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh, B.Sc. in Computer Science & Engineering, 2011, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Specializations:  Information Retrieval, Machine Learning

Committee:  Matthew Lease  (Chair), Unmil P. Karadkar, James Howison

CV:  cv_icon

Kristina Shiroma

Kristina Shiroma is a doctoral student researching how aging adults share, search, and adopt information to make decisions in life course processes including death and dying. She is interested in information as it applies to cross-cultural gerontology and socio-cultural aspects of health in aging populations. During her Master's degree in Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman's University, she focused on aging adults and reminiscence facilitated through information agencies. Her work includes archivist and grant writer for Collin County Historical Museum.

Degrees:  B.A. in Literary Studies, summa cum laude, 2011, University of Texas at Dallas; M.L.I.S, 2017, Texas Woman's University

Specializations:  Health Informatics, Cultural and Gender Aspects of Information, Human Information Behavior, Human Factors In Information Retrieval

Committee:  Dr. Bo Xie (Chair), Dr. Loriene Roy, Dr. Yan Zhang

Rachel Simons

Rachel Simons

Rachel Simons is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information at The University of Texas. She received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Georgia, both in Comparative Literature. Rachel's research centers on diversity and ethics issues in both the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and in ICT development. Her dissertation research aims to better understand diversity in collaborative video game design work, including an analysis of diversity as represented by: marginalized and under-represented group participation, the role of organizational structure, and the effects of cooperative computer tool selection and use. Previously, Rachel examined the impact of gender-based harassment on social media. She has also been involved with projects related to university-level ethics education for Information and Computation professionals and dealing with curricula development for teaching future Social Media Professionals.

Degrees:  B.A. in Comparative Literature, 2006, University of Georgia; M.A. in Comparative Literature, 2012, University of Georgia

Specializations:  Ethics, Education, Diversity, ICT Use and Society, Social Media, Computer-supported Cooperative Work, Feminist STS, Information Work, Video Games

Committee:  Dr. Kenneth R. Fleischmann (Chair), Dr. James Howison, Dr. Loriene Roy, Dr. Clay Spinuzzi (Department of English)

Yalin  Sun

Yalin  Sun

Yalin's research is mainly focused on online information seeking behavior, health information seeking, and social media addiction.

Degrees:  B.B.A. in Information Management and Systems, 2012, North China Electric Power University, Beijing, China; M.S. in Information Studies, 2014, the University of Texas at Austin

Specializations:  Consumer health information seeking & social media

Committee:  Dr. Yan Zhang (Chair), Dr. Bo Xie, Dr. Randolph Bias Dr. Ricardo Ainslie (College of Education)

Nitin Verma

Nitin (pronounced knittin') studies misinformation in the domain of political communication and public understanding of science. Nitin's work seeks to understand the problem of misinformation by combining the study of psychological, sociocultural, and technological factors that influence people's beliefs and attitudes towards information in the spheres of politics and science. He is also studying the ethical issues raised by machine learning technology and how technology researchers, and law & policy makers process these issues.

Degrees:  MS in Information Studies (School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA); M. Sc. in Informatics (University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi, India); B. Sc. (Honors) in Electronic Science (University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi, India)

Specializations:  misinformation, trust, information credibility, human values, social media, public understanding of science, political communication

Committee:  Dr. Kenneth R. Fleischmann (Chair), Dr. Jacek Gwizdka, Dr. James Howison

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