BIG Summer Plans for Augustana Sophomore

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Augustana sophomore Jared Soundy has BIG plans for the summer.

Soundy, a graduate of Sioux Falls Christian High School, has accepted an invitation to participate in the BIG (bioinformatics) Summer Institute hosted by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“This is awesome news,” said Dr. Dan Swets, Associate Professor of Computer Science. “This is a fabulous opportunity for Jared to explore his research interests.”

The BIG Summer Institute is a highly competitive national program where only the top research prospects in the broad fields of combined biomedicine and informational technology are invited. Program elements include participation in exciting research projects, a bioinformatics and integrative genomics course taught by national leaders, medical case study presentations by Harvard Medical School (HMS) physicians and researchers, instruction in technical communications designed to improve written and oral presentation skills, guidance on choosing graduate and/or medical school programs, and social and networking events.

Soundy plans to pursue MD (psychiatry or neurology) and PhD (computational neuroscience) degrees. “I have researched computational neuroscience and I believe that it is right for me. Nevertheless, I need to experience it before I continue making career and academic decisions. Given the amazing neuroscience research at Harvard, and the diversity of patients at HMS, I feel this opportunity could teach me a lot about the field and help me further my career goals.”

Soundy is a biology and interdepartmental (computer science, mathematics, and physics) double major. He is the recipient of the Sven G. Froiland Scholarship in Biology, a South Dakota Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) Fellow, and a chemistry and mathematics tutor. He is the son of Elizabeth and Tim Soundy.

As a participant in the BIG Summer Institute, he will attend lectures and perform research at HST (Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology) and affiliated institutions. The program combines didactic lectures in informatics and genomics, clinical case studies and a mentored research project to expose students fully to the world of genomic research.

Participants learn skills fundamental to the task of extracting information from the huge amount of data produced by the International Human Genome Project by working with the various tools and databases now available.

As part of the summer institute, participants also receive guidance through individual tutorials and workshops on preparing and presenting research findings. At the end of the summer, participants present their work to the bioinformatics mentors at a conference. In addition, summer participants discuss responsible and ethical ways to conduct research.

Dan Day, who graduated from Augustana in 2009, is currently studying life sciences and computational biology at MIT. He is in the first year of a three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Soundy has been corresponding with Day prior to beginning the nine-week program in June.

“Dan is incredible. He established Augustana’s reputation out there,” said Soundy.

Bruce Conley
Director, News Information
Phone: 605.274.5526
Fax: 605.274.4903