alumni Spotlight

Sophia Orbach

Sophia received her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in Spring 2012. My research interests involve biological and tissue engineering. My Ph.D. research... Read More

Christopher L Poirel

Computer Science


Christopher Poirel received the B.S. degree in mathematics (computer science minor) from the University of South Carolina Honors College, Columbia, and the Ph.D. in computer science at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. His graduate research ly  at the confluence of graph theory and computational biology, where he developed predictive models of large-scale biological networks. His awards include the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship (US National Science Foundation), Virginia Tech’s Cunningham Fellowship, the US Department of Energy Science Graduate Fellowship Finalist, and the Award for Outstanding Research by a PhD Student in computer science at Virginia Tech. He is currently a senior data scientist at RedOwl Analytics, applying his background in machine learning and graph theory to challenging problems on social networks.

At RedOwl, he helps to develop predictive models of human behavior based on temporal, multi-modal communication networks (e.g., email, phone, and SMS). His research interests upon arriving at VT in 2008 were in algorithms and graph theory. His advisor T. M. Murali introduced him to several exciting, open interdisciplinary problems in computational systems biology. Collaborating with members of the CTE team dramatically expanded my research toolkit and taught me to address problems in novel ways.

In his spare time, he is a weekend warrior soccer player, a board game aficionado, and a random walk specialist.

Areas of Research

  • Computational systems biology
  • Algorithm development
  • Graph theory
  • Machine learning